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Writing Stories

1. Brainstorming

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you are going to write about? Who will be your audience? How much do you know about what you want to write about? What do I need to find out?

2. Write from…

Keywords:
writing stories,writing a novel,writing books,story writing

Article Body:
There’s nothing like writing a story. It is a truly satisfying creative process. In order to write a story that people will enjoy. You need to understand the key elements that all good writers use in stories. In this article we will explore these elements.

1. Brainstorming

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you are going to write about? Who will be your audience? How much do you know about what you want to write about? What do I need to find out?

2. Write from a Specific Point of View

First person: “I”

Second person: “You” (rarely used)

Third person: “She/He” (Used the majority of time but in a “limited” way) Limited simply means that the story is told through the eyes of one particular character.

3. Starting Your Story

Your story should begin in such a way that it grabs the readers attention and never lets them go, some ways to begin are: Sound Effects, for example: Splash! Pop! Another way to begin is with dialogue, that is, two or more characters having a conversation. Using action is also another way to start. Whatever you choose, you must do it in a way that draws the reader in from the very beginning, if you fail to do this then no matter how good your story gets down the road it will be pointless as you have already lost your audience.

4. Setting

Place your characters in a setting. This is where you are to use descriptive words that let your readers see, hear and even smell the setting. The setting establishes the time and place in which the story takes place. Give your readers a snapshot view of the environment so that they can see it in their mind’s eye and feel as if they are really there.

5. Characters

Characters are part of the life blood of fiction. Here are some of the types of characters you may want to create.

Main Character (Protagonist): All the action revolves around this person.

Villain (Antagonist): This person or persons oppose the main character at every turn. Villains can also become allies of the main character down the road. People change in real life as well as in stories.

Friends (Sidekicks): This person or persons helps the main character.

6. Conflict

Good conflict allows your readers to become even more involved in the plot. Conflict can arise within the characters, with other people or even with nature. The needs of characters are what drives them into action. Conflict is created when obstacles are put in the way of the characters. Here are some types of conflict that can arise in a story:

The main character vs. others

The main character vs. his /her own inner self

The main character vs. situations he/she faces in life

The main character vs. society

7. Dialogue

Finally lets take a look at the purpose and use of dialogue. Dialogue is used in conversation between your characters. The characters may also have dialogue with themselves. Good dialogue tells the reader something about the characters state of mind or personality. Dialogue should be surrounded by action and move the story along. So make every conversation count!

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When Getting Stuck Goes Amuck

Many of us have always wanted to write. We have all gotten writer’s block. What happens when we are stuck? Can we go to a doctor for having writer’s block? Are there any “writing doctors” that prescribe medication to overcome what to write about or how to stress our premise?

Having writer’s block is normal and can occur in many different fashions:

* Having a lack of focus (Lacking a clear topic and premise to write about)

* Trying to do too many things while writing, such as talking on the phone and doing the laundry

* Being distracted by others while trying to write

* Lacking time allocation to writing

Don’t worry. Writer’s block can be overcome. What are some exercises to help overcome writer’s block?

One way is to get outside of your head and interrupt your dormant pattern. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Take a leave from your present writing environment

Taking a leave does not have to be measured in days. Sometimes only hours or even minutes are necessary to shift your mode into creating what you want to write. Here are some methods that have worked for me.

a. Write while watching television

There are always many images and thoughts that come on TV. I wanted to write a nonfiction book about historical inspirational people. I was tired of just looking at a computer screen and opted to watch TV to interrupt my dormant pattern. I took a notebook and pen with me, turned on the television and began to surf the channels.

I wrote one of my chapters from my book, “Inspired to Achieve,” while watching television. I was watching a biography on Abe Lincoln. There were so many great things that I did not know about him that I was inspired to write about his many accomplishments. I took many notes on Lincoln’s accomplishments and incorporated many points that I wanted to parlay to the readers.

b. Write while surfing the web

I wrote a chapter about Charles Lindbergh from “Inspired to Achieve” while surfing the web. I knew even less about Lindbergh than I did about Lincoln. After finding out about all that Lindbergh did to make his historical flight, I was inspired to write the entire chapter that night.

Of course, there are many ways that you can take a leave from your present writing environment. Other ways to generate great ideas and overcome writer’s block can be while you’re doing one of your hobbies, exercising, on vacation, eating lunch, talking on the phone, listening to music, etc.

c. Write while finding “your” quiet place.

Find a space with just you where your thoughts can flourish. That place can be found in numerous places.

* A part of your home devoted to your writing focus and privacy

* A library

* A restaurant or café, particularly during non-peak hours

* A coffeehouse

* A bookstore, such as Border’s or Barnes & Noble

* An empty classroom at a school

* A park or a playground

* A museum

Your writing place is sacred. Your writing place should inspire you to write your best. Your writing place should make your writing flourish. Your writing place can occur in more than one place. Of course, where your best writing occurs will be up to you.

Just interrupting your dormant pattern can overcome writer’s block. You will be able to get a new perspective on what you want to write. A temporary change in environment can be one of the best ways to generate new and fresh ideas.

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Writing Naturally

Have you ever found yourself stuck in your writing like a child on a rocking horse? Rocking back and forth, writing and editing, and wondering why your story doesn’t take you anywhere?

As a writer for a local weekly newspaper, I couldn’t afford the luxury of writing and editing. I just had to write and worry about editing later; there’s something about a deadline that moves you along.

So how do you learn to move beyond the wooden horse, to the real horse, that story or article that will take you across vistas where the sun sets in marmalade skies and where the grass ripples like a green sea?

As a painter, I’ve learned the value of painting from the right side of your brain. The right brain paints what it sees, whereas the left paints what it thinks it should be. I wondered to myself if there were something for writers along these same lines. I discovered there was.

Our brains are divided into two hemispheres right and left and are joined by a strange piece of gray matter called the corpus collusum. The corpus collusum acts like a switching station. In right-brain driven individuals it tends to be larger. The right brain could be referred to as the feminine or creative side (the writer) whereas the left-brain (the editor) could be referred to as the male or logical side.

The left brain provides us with language, syntax, denotation, analytical thought, logic, math, etc. In the right brain, we discover creativity, patterns of sound, metaphor, ambiguities, and paradox.

In right-brain painting classes the teacher gets you to let go of the image of what you think you see, to seeing only what is there and consequently drawing it. This is done by taking a picture, placing it upside down, and covering up all but a little portion of the picture. You begin to draw only what you see on the page. As you move along, you uncover a little more of the picture as you draw. Practice this sometime to learn to free up your right brain.

You may be wondering – do you write upside down? No – you don’t. According to Gabrielle Lusser Rico, author of the book Writing The Natural Way, “if you can speak, form letters on the page, know the rudiments of sentence structure, take a telephone message, or write a thank-you note, you have sufficient language skills to learn to write the natural way.”

In her first chapter, “Releasing Your Inner Writer,” Rico describes the two different hemispheres of the brain as “Sign and Design” Mind. She describes the interplay between the two hemispheres and lets us know that any good solid writing is collaboration between these two talents of the two hemispheres.

In her second chapter lay the real gems. Here’s where we learn to “cluster” or “map” our creative thinking process. She calls clustering the “doorway to your design mind.” The method she utilizes begins with a “nucleus word” or short phrase that “acts as the stimulus for recording all the associations that spring to mind in a very brief period of time.”

You take your nucleus word or phrase and write it in the middle of a page, drawing a circle around it. Then you let yourself free associate. Every thought, feeling, or idea that comes from that word you write down in little bubbles away from that “nucleus word” but attached by a line. You keep going until you feel the shift in your mind to quit. You may have to do this several times before you recognize the feeling. It’s ok – tell yourself it’s just play.

She tells us that this methodology is not “merely the spilling of words and phrases at random, but something much more complex: for the Design mind, each association leads inexorably to the next with a logic of its own even though the Sign mind does not perceive the connection.” This is learning to write from the creative side of your brain.

This methodology of clustering is like throwing a rock into a pond, it unfolds from the center, each ripple, or thought moving outward. After the completion of the clustering, (and you will learn to know when this occurs), you write a vignette, a poem, whatever strikes you, using the words from your clustering spider web and whatever else comes out of you.

What you’ll find is an interesting piece, almost like poetry, with an undiscovered beauty emanating from within you. It’s a very rewarding experience.

With enough practice, you won’t even need to do the “clustering” approach, as you’ll be able to feel the shift internally into that hemisphere of the brain, not unlike shifting into high gear.

Peter Elbow, the author of “Writing with Power” says, “When we were little we had no difficulty sounding the way we felt; thus most little children speak and write with real voice.”

Read your writing aloud. Words are meant to be spoken aloud. When you hear it, you’ll hear those places where it doesn’t flow and you’ll feel it. They’ll stick out of your sentences and paragraphs like stickers in your socks.

As a writer – it’s also important that you allow yourself time. Time to practice, time to play, time to perfect. With time, you’ll discover yourself as a writer. You’ll find your voice. You’ll lift it to sing.

Try different things. Write poetry. Write a movie critique. Write a story. Try writing a newspaper article, a how-to. Try describing the indescribable. Challenge yourself. There’s nothing that says you have to show it to anybody. Most professional writers (and best-selling authors) have scads of journals they wouldn’t even show their best friends.

Writing doesn’t necessarily mean sculpting every word from your mind with a chisel. Your head is not a rock. Be gentle with yourself. Enjoy, kick back, let loose, try this clustering method, learn to relax that muscle between your ears, and who knows, one day, all of sudden, you just might find yourself writing.

Naturally.

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