Picture It!: Creative Writing Exercise #CreativeWriting #AmWriting #WritingAdvice

One of the most overlooked parts of writing, one of the main characters who seem to always fall into the shadows of the background, happens to be, well, the background.

I don’t know about you, but for me, when I am caught in the throws of an action scene or lost in the rivers of tense character emotions I find that I often forget to describe the world around them.

Part of the struggle for me is that I already see the setting so clearly in my imagination that I often forget that no one else can see as I see. I need to paint with my words.

When we take pictures from our vacations and look at them long enough, our senses become sensitive to the memories evoked by the scenes.

The next step in my struggle comes from being able to do so authentically without schlepping a bunch of words together without the needed care that the character-called-background or setting, needs.

In one of the previous creative writing exercises called, Coffee with Character, I encouraged you to sit down with your characters to find out the little nuances about who they are as people; dig in to find out the traits that may not necessarily be mentioned in the book, but that still have a direct effect on how your characters behave.

In this exercise, we are going to get to know the setting of the worlds we are creating by immersing ourselves within them.

This prompt is inspired by an exercise created by my eldest sister, and I find that it has great influences in helping to better express through words the images of the surroundings within our stories.

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR WORLD:

  1. Take a moment and think about the world you want to describe, from the micro-view to the macro-view.
  2. Jot down what comes to mind.
  3. Surf the web for stock images that come the closest to what you are imagining.
  4. Print them out and create a gallery wall of the images within your creative writing workspace. (Directly in your line of sight is best.)
  5. As descriptions come to the forefront of your mind, type them in a separate Word document or directly within the manuscript you are currently working on.

The point is to become so visually familiar with the scenery that describing it comes as easy as breathing.

When we take pictures from our vacations and look at them long enough, our senses become sensitive to the memories evoked by the scenes. We feel the sand again, smell the scent of rain, hear the kick-drums during the drummer’s solo at a concert.

We, by looking at the images, can tell the story of the scene as if they are happening a new. This is our aim with our fictional worlds.

This same exercise can be used when creating characters in fiction as well. Finding images that best fit their physical descriptions helps you, the writer, to become more acquainted with them. Seeing them brands them to your mind and opens up paths of imagination about them.

Give this exercise a chance and let me know in the comments how it has helped you to be immersed in and better describe the fictional worlds you are creating.

Right on? Write on!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: May 15th 2017 #AmWriting #Fiction #Monday’sMuse

OPENING LINE (S): “He sat his cup down and pressed his lips together in a hard line. She didn’t know if his expression was due to the bitterness of the brew or what she’d just said.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “Monday’s Muse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted by Friday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: May 8th, 2017 #Amwriting #Writingprompt #Monday’sMuse

OPENING LINE (S): “He’d definitely found something. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he could just make out its silhouette under the blue-black blanket of night. His heart stopped when the light of his lantern stretched across it.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “Monday’s Muse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS BLOG WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted by Friday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

3 Curious Ways to Build Character: Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal #writingtips #amwriting

When you build a character, you are really fueled by curiosity not answers. ~Andre Dubus III

I believe Andre Dubus III put the art of building characters in perfect perspective. We as writers are indeed driven by curiosity. It is our ‘watching’ of the world, and those around us, that constructs who our characters are and ultimately become. Even in our minds, we watch them, the characters who live in our imaginations.

WatchingWhen we allow the stories in our heads to tell themselves with an organic voice, we become witnesses, and thus stenographers if you will. We find our characters behaving naturally in their environments, shocking us with the choices they make, the thoughts they have, the people they connect with, their mannerisms.

Curiously, we keep our eyes on them, jotting down every detail. We watch. We build. It becomes like a game of Jeopardy. We have the answers to who and why. The story that we write around these ‘answers’ is where the questions come from.

The stories themselves are actually the questions.

HERE ARE 3 PRACTICES TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN BUILDING CHARACTERS

  1. WATCH: Take the time to watch your characters perform within your imagination. This doesn’t require actual writing but focused observation. Feel free to jot down notes from what you see but not so much to work your story (unless it is a scene that belongs in the story). What you are witnessing is getting you familiar with the nuances of each character’s personality.
  2. LISTEN: Pay close attention to what your characters are saying during these moments of focused concentration. The tone they use with the server at a restaurant does give you a clue as to how they would or would not respond to their ex if they called out of the blue.
  3. BUILD: Take what you’ve seen and heard during these moments and use them as tools for while you are writing. You build with knowledge. You gain knowledge from learning to understand, and understanding comes from watching and listening.

For some more tips on character building, and character watching,  read my article and writing exercise titled, Coffee with Character…or Tea.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: May 1st, 2017 #Amwriting #Writingprompt #Monday’sMuse

 

OPENING LINE (S): “They’d been walking for three hours. The car had run out of gas that far back. She’d stayed with him, but she still hadn’t told him her name.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “Monday’s Muse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS BLOG WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

My results will be posted by Friday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Coffee With Character…Or Tea. How to Get to Know Your Fictional Characters: A Creative Writing Exercise #WritingTip #Writing #CreativeWriting

Writing is such a cathartic expression. Be it used to create poetry, something literary, or a piece that is completely outlandish and full of adventure, writing is indeed a breath of fresh air.

As writers, even in the face of an activity so purifying we often times find ourselves locked in a position where our creative muscles have not been trained to go, or rather have no idea how to get where we are trying to go.  This frustration is no different than Yoga.

Original art by Candice Coates
Original art by Candice Coates

Sure, you have got “Downward facing dog” in the bag, but dare your muscles to attempt “Crane pose.” or “Forearm-standing Scorpion,” and you may find yourself stuck in between the attempt and nowhere near where you had hoped to be.

And it all looked to so easy in the beginning.

Original Art by Candice Coates
Original Art by Candice Coates

This writing exercise is all about getting ‘there,’ helping you stretch past the stiffness of your imaginative muscles, especially when it comes to the characters who are the life blood of the writing you may be working on.

In order to get ‘there’ you need to know the folks you are traveling with, right?

Here are some steps to do that.

EXERCISE:

1.Write down the names of the main characters in your book (and even some important supporting characters). Write them on a piece of paper or even on your computer (your choice) in column style.

These are the names of the folks you are inviting over for an intimate meal or even just a good cup of coffee, one character at a time or if you are feeling adventures, invite them all!

2. Consider the likes and dislikes of each Character: what each character likes to eat. What they don’t like. Who prefers olive oil over butter, how do they take their coffee?

3. Write it all down.

4. Now think about how the conversation would go with them.

5. Jot these things down in each column.  Do they tell jokes? Do they like the shakshuka you prepared? Do they even know what shakshuka is?

Bonus: Have fun with it. Treat the characters as you would any guest you were entertaining.

WHAT IS THE REWARD?

The reward of this exercise is to get to know your characters more intimately. The answers that you find out about these individuals are not necessarily tid-bits you would add to beef up your plot, but they are the gems that really get you in the head and heart of the people who are acting out the story. It makes the flow so much more authentic.

It makes the flow so much more authentic. By knowing these little intimate details you will know what things they will and will not tolerate while you work and weave your plot around them.

This information will stretch you from “Downward facing dog” into “Crane pose” without locking your muscles.

Happy Writing!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

P.S if you don’t know what shakshuka is, follow this LINK! Happy writing and happy eating!

*This exercise was original created August 28, 2014, and has been revised.

The Pull of the Rain: A Free Flow Write #Romance #Writing

the-pull-of-the-rain

“I don’t know how to win you.” He said, the lines in his brow straining against the pull of the rain. The eyes that looked back at him were equally intense, equally determined.

But why? Why was this such a struggle? Didn’t she understand? He pulled his hand down his face, callouses brushing against evening whiskers that had begun to sprout beneath the brutality of the day. Dampness, not only from the rain but from the sweat of his exertion made his shirt cling to his chest, arms, and back.

He needed to quit this, he needed to quit her, he needed-

“Didn’t you hear the bell?”  A voice cut through the patter of rain against wet earth. A finger of lightning traced the sky and pointed towards the house a little ways off. It was as if the finger of God was telling him, “Go home, Jesse. That is enough.”

Jesse ground his teeth, walking toward the edge of the fence. He met the woman’s gaze as she shielded her eyes against the falling rain with the kitchen towel she held above her head.

Why is she out here? 

She asked again, “Didn’t you hear the bell? I rang it several times.”

“I heard it.” His voice was clipped. She paused, as was her way as of late, and traced his face as if it were a page of a novel she was reading. She was reading him.

“Alright then,” she finally said. Her hands dropped down, pulling the kitchen towel from over her head. She twisted it between her hands before glancing once over his shoulder and then back at the house.

She had only gotten a few steps before Jesse forced himself out of the corral. He took hold of her arm and turned her around to face him, another generic apology ready upon his lips.

“Hannah,” He said her name but paused, the expression on her face striking him to silence. Even beneath the wetness of the falling rain he could tell there were tears upon her face.

He had never given a care for her tears, never given a care for her. He didn’t know how to win her either. He didn’t know how to bring peace from an unwanted union, or love from two lonely hearts made stone. Nothing he had tried to do had done any good with Hannah, the same way nothing he had been trying to do with the blasted horse was working either.

He felt defeated, he could tell that Hannah did as well, the dip at the corners of her mouth said so. He touched the side of her mouth with his fingertip and felt a jolt of electricity that was not unlike the lightning.

Before he could make heads or tails of why he had touched her mouth with his hand, he touched her lips with his, something he had not done since the day they said “I do,” and even that was short lived and almost painful.

But it wasn’t so with this kiss, not with how the rain blanketed them, not with how Hannah’s unsure hands found their way up his chest, or how his arms found their way around her curved waist.

It was peace. It wasn’t winning, it wasn’t losing. It was just the sweetest surrender; giving into the wanting and being met with the same determination.

THE END

*Originally published April 9, 2015.

 

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!