"When we read a story, we inhabit it.
The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls.
What is to happen next will take place
within the four walls of the story.
And this is possible because the story's voice
makes everything its own."
— John Berger
flower market, ghent, belgium, summer 2009
Exercise. Extend. Experiment. Experience. Expand. Evolve. Energize.
We are all creative. We draw. We knit. We sing. We paint. We write!
Today, a focus on how to build and broaden your writing skills. How to play + experiment + get ideas. But first, pop over to Extend Your Creativity: Art.
2. Transform. Let your style evolve. Embellish your descriptions, add background to your characters, give the scene some music, switch the perspective to another character, add a new sub-plot, add logic, add the ridiculous, shorten the story, add diagrams or photographs or doodles or symbols, add characters, add an action sequence, delete a flat sub-plot, sketch a location from your story.
3. Add Novelty. Find new ideas. Describe the appliances in your childhood kitchen, how to ride a bicycle, how to design an apron. Select 5 non-fiction books; find 10 new concepts to include in your story. Invent a machine to do something that needs to be done to move your story forward, then break it. Write a biography, or your story. Handwrite part of your book. Write your back cover blurb in the form of Mad Libs. Ask your kids what should happen in your novel.
4. Alter Process. Use new methods. Develop your story with a manual typewriter, a crappy computer at the library, colored pencils, vivid markers, a digital voice recorder, a technical pen + fountain pen ink. Remove computer distractions with WriteRoom (mac) or Dark Room (pc). Explore new software and develop a better to-do list (I use todoist). Create your own font and type in that font. Try slow journaling.
5. Experience + Share. Write at a book store. Join a writing group. Start an art journal. Take a writing, photography, poetry or acting class. Start a non-writers blog. Listen to podcasts. Learn about typography. Volunteer at a library. Invent bed-time stories for your kids. Write an e-book about writing. Write a tutorial. Teach a class. Participate in NaNoWriMo.
- Aimee of Artsyville writes eloquently about hand lettering, making me smile with "the delirium of disappearing into a page..."
- At 1000 words, a reading experience like no other: Hannah takes a picture and David invents people and writes their story in 1000 words
- 7 Ways for a Writer to Play from author Rabia Gale
- 54 Tips for Writers, From Writers
How do you build upon what you know? How do you improve your skill creatively?