Every writer’s aim is to write a good article or book that people want to read. Virginia Woolf in her famous book “A Room of One’s Own” wrote: “So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”
1. Many of my Creative Writing students used to tell me their problem was tme. You can find time, even if you have to make a few sacrifices – giving up a favorite TV show; missing out on a coffee date …. even if you can only manage a page a day, in a year you’ve written a novel. Find the time of day and the location that is comfortable and inspiring for you. There’s a saying: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now” – so don’t prevaricate. You don’t need any fancy equipment- it didn’t exist when some of the greatest literature was written. A pen and paper will do the job.
2. It’s tempting to wait for the Muse to strike, but it’s up to you to make ideas happen – they won’t fall from the sky. You can be a people-watcher; or you can daydream, Evey family has a story to tell; newspapers and magazines are full of potential stories – hone in on current affairs, celebrities, in fact any aspect of our culture. Many newspaper stories can capture your imagination – just say “what if…”
3. The number of genres , all the different styles and forms, prose, poetry and drama; different age groups, genders, backgrounds – at times it can overwhelm you. The best place to start is simply write what you like to read.
4. They say beginnings are easy and endings are hard- in my 13 books, I’ve found this to be true. You can start a novel, but keeping going and completing it takes discipline and dedication. You have the option of a closed ending where all the loose ends are tied up, or an open ending where possibilities for the characters stretch out into an unwritten future – your characters will guide you what to choose. When they have solved their major problems and moved on, ready to start a new phase in life, that’s when you should stop too.
5. Characters are the most important part of your book, and plot is only what the characters will do in a given situation. Fiction means making things up, including your characters. When it comes to the hero or heroine, it is essential to feel affection for them, even though they should have some fault and weaknesses. I’ve heard that all stories are written twice – once by the author and once by the reader. The reader’s reaction to a character might differ from yours, but that is fine. It means that your characters are believable. Create situations for your characters that will increase their conflicts. Give them secrets. Give them a quest to find something, and adventures along the way
6. Make your readers care, This is where you can indulge your own emotions. We all need love in our livs so our characters can find it, lose it and have many complications. Hate and jeaousy can also be emotions that drive a plot. Many plots hang on a moral dilemma – so let your imagination have full range and let your readers ride along on your characters’ emotional journeys.
7. There are 3 different levels of conflict for your story: Inner conflict is the first, where the character wants two conflicting things in life. The second is conflict with other people. Your character can have a problem that other people rarely agree with him. The third type is where the character is in conflict with society, Your story must have shape – a beginning, a middle and an ending. Keep the plot plausible, but never predictable. Try to build tension and make the reader anxious to know what will happen next. Many writers, myself included, do not enjoy cuttng, reshaping and reworking, but it may very well be the most creative stage of the whole writing process. The reward is sometimes you’ll rewrite a sentence and be amazed that it actually came from you. Find fresh, imaginative alternatives to any cliches that may have crept in.
Tell yourself every day “I am a writer” and savour the thrill, the sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction that is a kind of therapy, for your creativity can make the world a better place.
The world needs dreamers – be one of them!
If you need help with your writing, contact me – and if you want to read some of my books, be in touch with me. Contact details are above , both in Books and About Me. I enjoy hearing your comments.