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Writing Strategy of the Day

The Rich Writer: Writing Strategy of the Day

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Monday, October 13, 2008

Writing Strategy of the Day

When, for whatever reason, I'm stuck in a passage of writing, one of my favorite strategies is to make lists. Lists are a nonthreatening way for me to sidestep my internal editor; they let me collect concrete details about a scene, character, or plot line; and they help me slip into a state of flow, where words waterfall from my subconscious unhindered.

For setting? I list smells, tastes, feelings, and sounds as well as what my character sees. I also list my characters thoughts, emotional reactions.

For a conversation? I list phrases, information, snappy comebacks, snide remarks that might pop into the scene.

For a character description? I list physical details, smells (again--I'm big on smells), and sounds; but also analogies and metaphors I might use to encapsulate a key characteristic.

For character actions? I list what they're thinking about, how they're feeling, what memories the current events might draw to the surface.

No, I don't use every idea that hits my list--but I write them all down. That's part of the process of getting into flow and turning off that internal editor. When I'm finished, I usually have a nice collection of details that let me move the story forward.

Happy writing!




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