Saturday, March 21, 2015

4 Steps to Spark Your Creativity

Tapping a Pencil
Look familiar?
(Image couretsy of Rennett Stowe.)

Some writers really crank it out. Russell Blake puts NaNoWriMo champions to shame, birthing 7,000 to 10,000 words per day. Others take it slower: maybe a single chapter per week, or one book per year.

How much you should be writing is up to you, but you really need to try a few different approaches before you figure out what's best, don't you? Here are four guidelines you can follow to get the best work out of yourself:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Knowing Your Narrator & Audience

Storytelling at its finest.

Storytelling is a visual concept for me. The image it evokes typically includes one person telling a story to another, gesticulating, leaning in, furrowing their brow, and widening their eyes at exciting moments. Often, I envision the tradition of telling ghost stories around a fire, where the restless setting of dim, flickering light, strangely illuminated faces, and limited vision are as important to the mood of the story as the speaker's presence.

In this scenario, the speaker's success depends on combining genre and audience, and coordinating the story to best suit those elements.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Beta Readers: Your Board of Advisors

Try to have at least a little diversity among your advisors.

This morning, my partner and I were talking about a few of the tiny insights we've offhandedly shared with each other that have changed the ways we see the world. We're very similar thinkers, which adds to the impact such a seemingly just-in-passing comment can have.

Undoubtedly, everyone holds at least one gem of new insight like this: familiar to themselves, but completely foreign to someone else. If you've ever sat through a team meeting, you've seen just how diverse every person's feedback can be, especially when you're all focused on the same thing. That sort of group discussion can go a long way toward getting a general view of a project's condition — and can reveal what areas need the most attention.

By cultivating a select group of trusted beta readers, you can take advantage of several people's perspectives and improve your writing accordingly.