When it comes to writing fiction, take your time. Slow and steady. Easy does it. If you rush your story or go at a faster pace than what you’re comfortable with, everything else in your story will fall apart. There is so much that goes into a work of fiction that to speed through writing it for the sole purpose of getting it done will only slow you down in the long run. You don’t want to go back and redo something that you could have had right the first time had you just took your time. So…slow down.
Comparisons, we all make them whether we are aware of it or not. We do this for emphasis in making clear a point we’re trying to make. In writing we use comparisons for the same reason, but add to that, visuals. If we want our readers to know just how big something is, we need to go beyond using the word big or huge or even gargantuan. Readers want to SEE the hugeness. Two forms of comparison writers use to accomplish this is:
Simile–Comparing using the words like or as.
His mouth was thick like paste.
The cat’s eyes glowed in the dark like twin moons.
When I was in high school, I went to the Rueben Daniels Center of the Arts and Sciences. In my dance class we learned about theme and variation. What we had to do was choreograph a dance routine that was about one minute in length. Once we had our routine down, we had to choreograph two more dance routines based on the first one. More precisely, they had to be variations of the first by modifying it somehow without changing it completely. With writing this can also be done. Create a scene. Then, create two more scenes by varying the first scene. But, don’t vary things too drastically. It needs to be clear that your varied scenes are essentially the first scene but with slight differences.
What does this do? It works at developing creativity. It’s like a brain workout except its “bench pressing” words instead. So…have fun with it and think outside the box.
Personification–Giving inanimate objects human qualities.
The flowers danced in the wind.
The wind reached its fingers inland, grabbing those it could at high rates of speed.
The sun smiled down as it lit up the day.
As you can see, giving human qualities to inanimate objects goes a long way when it comes to putting emphasis on various aspects of what you’re writing. Doing so also makes your writing stand out in way of creating better visuals for your reader.
Tip: Give yourself an arsenal of ideas to pull from by brainstorming examples of personification (and other literary/poetic devices) and writing them in your writing journal.
You’re in the middle of writing a story. You are at a point in your creation where you need to add some friction or a tense moment. You know what needs to go into the scene. You can see it in front of you (so to speak). But, what can you do to intensify the suspense? Yes, you know what will cause it, but how can you bring it more to life and jump off the page? Word choice. Not just any choice of words either. You need words with certain sounds that, when put together, bring about a certain feeling or whatever feeling you’re trying to convey.
What sounds in the following sentences add to the intended feeling?
Tension–The stranger’s body thunked to the ground, when the knife pierced his chest.
Eerie–The air’s cold finger touched the back of my neck in spite of the warm breeze coming in off the lake. The shadow wafted over the sand, paused, then glided onward.
Joy–The shiny bells glistened in the candlelight, as the children opened their presents.
Sadness–Tears formed in the corner of her eyes then trickled down her cheeks as she gazed into the casket that contained the mother she never got to know.
Whichever sounds you use in your writing is up to you, but using various literary devices can certainly help with this. Some of them are listed below.
In future posts I will cover each of these more in depth. In this post I just wanted to bring them to the surface. I know though that we use these devices regularly in our writing without thinking about them. But, when you are writing a particular scene and need to create a certain feeling and nothing is coming to you, then the above devices are a great arsenal to draw from.
Have you ever put together a jigsaw puzzle? What do you start with? The side pieces? The middle pieces? Usually one works with the edges first, then the middle, and the center (or near there) is the ending where the last and final piece of the puzzle gets put down and it all comes together. Usually, that is. Maybe you’re the kind of puzzler that works from the center to the outer edges (shoulder shrug here). It really is what you’re comfortable with. I like putting the edges together first and work my way to the center.
I write much the same way. I start with the beginning (edges) and work my way to the center (ending). (Laughing here) Sometimes I have my beginning and ending and work the middle last to bring it all together. But…what if your middle is in pieces. You have lots of ideas but you just are not able to bring them together and make them fit so that there’s a flow to your story. What are you going to make them fit?
Go back to your writing journal if you have one (or whatever you use to write your ideas in/on) and read through what you have in way of ideas. Write each one on a separate note card.
Get a bulletin board, a white board, or your floor if that’s what you prefer.
Lay out your ideas in an order to your liking.
Now, play connect the dots. How do these ideas connect to each other? Many scenarios will jump into your head as far as connections go. Why? Because here you’re taking a step back and looking at the big picture. If you’re an auditory learner, read each idea a loud off the board as you are trying to come up with a way to connect them.
When snow has come and lingered for a time, The mountains shine like pure white satin sheets. The jagged rocks that stand and point like knives, Have but a look of poise and symmetry. The houses they in hibernation go, and sink like ships way deep beneath the waves. Cold air does whoosh in frigid gusty blows, But stops to peek a while inside a cave. The birds take off from empty bare tree nests, To seek their food which they know is not there. The trees did fall asleep like all the rest Of this great wintry beauty of no where. The hunters coming back from years afar, Do find their world still bright like heaven’s star.