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Posts tagged ‘writing exercies’

Reveal your characters through their circle of friends

Experts say we are most like our five closest friends. I think that’s true. Our friends usually have similar interests and values as we do. Looking at someone’s friend circle can tell you a lot about them.

I’ve started using a friendship circle to track my friendships as a way to see where people belong in my life—this helps me keep clear boundaries which is something I always need to work on.

Recently, I wondered what would happen if my main character Caitlin filled this out. Who are her friends, and how do they reflect who she is to my reader? I had her fill out my friendship circle and the results really helped me get a clearer sense of who she is deep down inside.

I’ll share my experiment with you, but first a bit about how to use the friendship circle. Read more

Draw on personal pain to write believable characters

I started reading a new paranormal novel last month that I had high hopes for based on how quickly and easily the first few chapters hooked me. The plot was refreshing, unique, and action-filled from the beginning. Interesting, quirky characters reeled me in. But it quickly went downhill from there.

I’m the type of reader who usually doesn’t give up on a book. I always have faith that the author will pull out of the temporary bog and finish, if not strong, at least well. I have only given up on two books in my life. My new paranormal novel was the third.

What went wrong? Read more

Poetry prompt: How to use a favorite poem to create your own

Have you ever read a poem that inspired you in your own writing?

Mary Oliver’s poem, “When Death Comes,” is one such poem for me. I have read it several times over the years. It’s one of those pieces that has stayed with me and became even more resonant over time.

My husband died two years ago so when I re-read Oliver’s poem recently it was from this new perspective of understanding how fleeting our time is here, how every moment is a blessing.

Her work inspired me to write a poem called, “When Love Comes.” I started by following the general form of her poem but then allowed my poem to flourish and take off in its own direction. Though I started off using her form as a guide, I made sure I used my own words and my own ideas.

The result? I like it enough that it’s going to be the final poem for my poetry book to be published later this year.

Below are a few tips for using another poet’s work as a jumping off place for your own poetry: Read more

How to break out of the writing doldrums

In Carly’s post, “Four tips to defeat your writing funk,” she shares some tips for what to do when you get stuck in your writing project. Her ideas prompted me to share a few of my own. Goodness knows we all get into the writing doldrums from time to time, but there’s no need to panic!

  1. Give your brain a break. The other day I was stuck on a scene but I was tired and my brain just wasn’t working. So I lay down on the couch and dreamed myself into my story. I didn’t force it but just kind of gently played around with some ideas in my mind. Sometimes, I might fall asleep doing this but that day, an idea floated to the surface that fit, so I got up and continued writing. Score one for my muse!
  2. Write somewhere different. I was working on a piece at my desk the other night and just couldn’t get into it. I felt uncomfortable for some reason. So, I made a cup of tea and curled up in my big white chair in the same room. Before I knew it, I was back in the flow of writing and having fun. Routines are great until your brain gets to complacent. That’s when you have to trick it with a new routine. Read more

Writing exercises to help you go deeper

The other day, I was thinking about the types of memoirs I enjoy reading and what it is about them that sets them apart. Mostly, they were memoirs, such as Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy, that weren’t just, “this happened to me,” type of stories.

The strongest memoirs are stories that show us how the person’s circumstances changed them. They answer the question, “What did I learn from my experience and how did I grow from this experience?”

I designed a couple of writing prompts based on my thoughts about memoir and decided they would be good prompts to ask of the protagonist in my fantasy novel as well. I uncovered some interesting material for my story. Read more

One way to exercise your writer’s mind and have fun

In Ayn Rand’s The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers, she recommends exercising our writer minds long before we actually put words to paper. Then when we do begin to write, the ideas and words flow. I like her advice and think of it in terms of being playful and having fun.

As I read, sometimes a sentence or phrase stops me in my tracks. When this happens, I like to examine the sentence, learn from it or just play around with it.

This happened to me recently when I read this line: “Men do not often boil a woman’s rabbit.” I was reading best-selling author Bob Mayer’s description of different archetypes of men and women. At first, this sentence stopped me because I didn’t understand it. I had to take a few minutes to wrap my brain around it. Finally, I got the meaning—we often see women “boiling a man’s rabbit,” but not vice versa. Read more

Three posts for generating creative ideas

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” – Carl Jung

In case you didn’t catch these the first time around, below are three posts for generating more creative ideas:

Find creative possibilities in your workplace — Ideas surround us. See Carly’s tips for noticing what’s right in front of you at your workplace.

Exercises in memoir: finding your story – Whether you’re writing memoir or fiction, here are some tips for digging deep into your characters.

Three ways to use word riffs – Wordplay is important, it frees the mind to make new connections.

Thanks for stopping by! Please share some of your favorite places to find creative ideas.