Just Write

Use emotions in your writing.

  “Readers covet an emotional experience above all else. When you write scenes, use all the methods you can to help your readers feel the emotions you want them to have—sadness, anger, confusion, mistrust, love, lust, envy, greed and so on. If you want readers to hate your character, show him being despicable to someone who doesn’t deserve his wrath or to someone he supposedly loves. The more you draw readers in to the emotional experience, the more they will engage, and the more likely they’ll want to read your next book.” Excerpted from the September 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine There are over 300 prompts on The Write Spot Blog. Choose one and practice incorporating emotions in your writing. For example:   Physical gestures can reveal emotions . . . Prompt # 211  Just write!  

Just Write

Figuring out the important thing

“Writing essays is like therapy because you’re figuring out: What was the important thing in that incident? ”   —   Etgar Keret Keret, an “acclaimed Israeli writer . . . known for his unique and distinctive writing style” began writing essays after the birth of his son. “. . . because I’m sensitive about family issues. . . It never stops me from writing it, but it might stop me from publishing it.”  He wrote personal essays to “have a literary tombstone” for his father.  He is able to create work that is “moving and deeply affecting in only a few pages.” Excerpted from the February 2017 issue of The Writer magazine. Your turn: No pressure to write the next great American novel, just write what you know, what you experience. Write about your trip to the grocery store where you observed an act of kindness or had a weird encounter….

Just Write

Nostalgia and writing

When responding to a writing prompt, you are completely free to write the absolute truth, with no worries about what anyone will think.  You are also free to write fiction. You have the freedom to write whatever you want . . .  these writings are called freewrites. There are over 300 prompts on The Write Spot Blog. You can choose one at any time and just write. Sometimes our writing takes us to memories from our childhood, a very powerful place that is important and so intoxicating. From Writers Dreaming, by Naomi Epel,  chapter by James W. Hall: “One of the things that I’ve discovered through reading a lot of best-sellers, studying a lot of popular fiction for courses that I’ve given at the university, is that there are certain recurrent, mythic qualities in books that we could consider, from an elitist academic viewpoint, to be pulp or low-life, mass-market…

Just Write

In troubled times . . . write.

Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times by Clarissa Pinkola Estes One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but…

Just Write

Use your writing to heal.

Use the difficulties in your life and represent them in your writing.  Describe the difficulties as if writing a scene in a novel. Look at your situation from a different point of view – from that of a character in a story. Take A Break When your writing becomes too difficult, stop. Take a break. Take a walk. Treat yourself to a glass of iced tea or hot apple cider. Wash your hands with special scented soap. Do something physical to relax your mind. Use a focal point as a reminder to relax and breathe deeply. A focal point is anything you like to look at: in your home, your writing environment, or outside. Have A Plan Have a plan for when you are feeling overwhelmed and need relief from emotional tension while you are writing. Prepare a healthy snack before you begin to write. When the writing gets difficult,…

Just Write

Weave journal discoveries into stories

If you “keep a journal,” you can weave some entries into stories. Give your fictional characters  personality traits, attitudes or habits discovered in journal writing. Each day write about what surprised you, what moved you, what inspired you. Even if you think you have nothing to say, sit down and start writing. Write about the worst thing that happened to you and the best thing that happened to you each day. Just write! Inspired from an article in the December 2000 issue of Good Housekeeping, “The Question Journal,” by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., author of My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging.

Just Write

The Condolence Note – What To Write

I was taught to write thank you notes. They’re pretty easy. “Dear Aunt Margaret, thank you for the sweater. I’m going to wear it to school.” Doesn’t matter if the sweater fit or not, or was the right color. Receive a gift. Write a thank you note. Condolence notes are harder. Sometimes we just don’t know what to say. Here are some ideas. Dear Friend, My sincere condolences at the loss of Henry. I miss him every day. Thinking of you with much love. Dear Elsie, I can only imagine how hard this must be. Please let me know what I can do. Hello Art,  How are you doing? You’ve had to deal with so much.   I’ll be near your house on Thursday. May I bring a meal? If you feel like visiting, we can have tea. Dear Aunt Susie, I am so sorry that Uncle Frank passed away. I…

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Which Oz character are you?

As you know, there are two sides to every story (sometimes more, depending on the number of characters involved).  Let’s look at The Wizard of Oz, the movie version, with different perspectives,   different points of view. The Wizard: Wise and knowing? Or a fraud? Dorothy: Sweet and innocent? Or a spoiled orphan? Uncle Henry: Owner and Farm Manager? Or just a guy doing what he likes to do? Auntie Em: Home Sweet Home and apple pie? Or bossy? Hunk the farmhand/Scarecrow:  Simple minded? Or observant and resourceful? Hickory the farmhand/Tin Man: A hunk of machine parts? Or kind and sensitive? Zeke the farmhand/ Cowardly Lion: A coward? Or a leader? Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West: Mean and ornery? Or misunderstood? Glinda The Good Witch of the South: Too good to be true? Or conniving (why didn’t she tell Dorothy about the shoes when they first met?) Toto: Just a…

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Use emotional experience for fiction

“Vietnamese American Vu Tran says when he writes fiction, he is less concerned about using any ‘factual experience’ he has had, but instead seeks to relate the ’emotional experience’ he has lived.” — The Writer Magazine, December 2015 When I read this, I sat up and paid attention. “Aha,” I thought, “Brilliant idea to tap into the emotional element of an experience and bring that into fiction writing.” Vu Tran used a traumatic event in his life to explain a pivotal character in his fiction. “. . . fiction writers can often have more impact if they draw on their emotional experiences rather than just relating what actually happened.” Vu Tran used this philosophy when writing Dragonfly (set in Las Vegas) while in Chicago. “. .. the distance from Las Vegas worried me at first. But I decided the emotional memory of Las Vegas  . . . allowed me to…