Writing Tips and Tricks
Del Rey Jean
Second: Suggestions to Begin Creative Writing
I want to start by saying that everyone creates a story in their own unique way(s). Some people can lay out events in a neat line and write the story from beginning to end in a linear fashion. Other people will write a piece of the story somewhere within it and then work out the rest around that scene. The world we are penning will come out in its own way, so this piece of advice may only help a select few, and I apologize. All I can truly do to help with this particular topic is share what I do to bring out my ideas. I have a few different ways, but here I will discuss three of them.
1. First and foremost is the importance of characters. If I am planning a story, be it short or a novel, I need to intimately know my characters. Some of you have probably noticed this from the way this site is set up, and the extra attention I seem to give to one man in particular: Gabe Arenreeth (Here’s his Character Outline). My characters are more important to me than writing a story, because the story is governed by who those characters are, and what they do. Much of my writing isn’t planning the event, it’s plunking my character into the beginning of the situation and letting them react naturally. I’m talking in riddles now, let me simplify.
First things first: Gabe had to introduce himself to me. That sounds weird but all it means is that the character starts to form a face; literally. A lot of my short stories or scenes that don’t have someone I have distinctly spent time designing, you have likely noticed by now, the characters do not have names and are only given a few distinguishable features. This is because, as my head starts spilling out a story, these characters literally don’t have other features unless I know them intimately.
So, Gabe started to develop a ‘face’ which stands to reason that the first thing I did was I started writing out what he looked like.
He’s tall, pale, skinny, black haired, etc. I got the physical details recorded as best as I could all the way down to his differing eye colors (one is blue, the other is brown.) Then came the more complicated part: getting to know him.
For me, writing is very much like having a relationship. I have to be willing to give my characters the time to form and ‘talk’ to me before I can be comfortable enough to use them, because I have to be able to connect them to what they are facing which means I have to be connected to them. A key way to understand what I mean is when I say that unless I have distinctly pictured them on this character, I will not give a character any scars until after I know their personal history. Gabe has a multitude of scarring across his body, but almost all of it came after I knew his past. One thick, long scar that crosses his back, though, was there by design, because it showed up when I was writing a scene with him.
So as an example, let me jump ahead and tell you a little bit about Gabe. He is playful, and almost always smiling or laughing, especially if it’s an inappropriate time or place to do so. He’s got a curious mind that continues to seek understanding in all of life’s mysteries, which gets him into incredible trouble on a regular basis. He also has a twin sister named Castle, who he hasn’t seen since the day his powers woke and his mind snapped. Gabe and his sister had been kidnapped by a cult when they were children, holding them hostage for just about ten years being tortured and abused until Gabe finally ‘broke’ which released his power and he basically slaughtered everyone. Part of Gabe being so skinny is because he was immortalized inside of a malnourished body, and now you can see why he would have whip scars across his back, a brand on his neck, and other scars across his body.
But most of that won’t be written about in anything he is in. Much of what I know about him is for me to understand and connect to him so that he will make sense when you read his adventures.
Another way to show this is through the character I have recently begun to design. I am still getting to know Sable, the girl I re-introduced at an older age yesterday in this scene. Let me be the first to admit, I have tons of questions about what I wrote of her. Who is commanding her, why does she seem anxious, when did she become an archer, where is Kazious? (Link to her meeting him as a child) The only way I will know those answers is to continue to explore her which is extra exciting because you will be able to watch her come to life and I do hope you will look forward to finding out with me who adult Sable truly is.
2. Now, onto the next way that I write: mind vomit. Honestly, I do not know how to describe this one in any other way. My mind will just start to put words together in long, flowing strings, seemingly at random, and I will simply write them down. I usually have to read it again just to know what I just wrote! This is how the Tragedy in a Bottle series (Category Link) was mostly written, to be perfectly honest. When I use this method, I cannot always guarantee that the result makes sense, but it is practically guaranteed to read like a metaphor for some kind of strong emotion.
This method is hard to explain, but I have to point it out because you need to be aware of what your mind is doing. You can miss a lot of beautiful creative pieces by ignoring a random string of words that suddenly runs through your mind while you’re taking a shower. When this happens to me, it can either end up becoming a full short story, or it can just be a couple of cryptic lines. You never know what you might end up with, but if your mind is on a roll, just give it a pen already and go with it! That’s the entire point of explaining this one.
3. I don’t do this often, but if I’m losing inspiration on big stories then I will: just write one scene. Or even a piece of one scene. There are many pieces on my site that have been written like that where they seem to start abruptly and then they end abruptly. I mentioned this in the beginning as a method that some people can use. Just write what is in your head right now, even if it has no connection to your current story or your planned story.
Not only is this a good way to grow your writing because you can do just about any prompt in this fashion, but it can also help you build a story around that one scene. For instance, the silly ‘Gabe stole a baby’ prompt (Link) was written while I was waiting for a friend who was in a meeting. Now, it’s been almost two years since I wrote it, but I could easily take that as the beginning for a story and go on to write about what happened with that baby. Did Kivas take her back? Is Gabe going to remain attached to her? Could I even tie in another scene here, like the one with the apparition haunting the girl (Link) which I wrote on a prompt from myself? (I believe that prompt was ‘write about something supernatural screwing up a person’s life without lifting a finger’.) I could easily make that girl the baby Gabe stole. And then perhaps he’s the apparition, or he’s created the illusion of that apparition. (Funny story, I did manage to tie the baby into a different story, right here: Link)
Endless possibilities come out of this method, but the best part about it is that you can always keep writing, even when you are in between projects or stuck on one. I love this method for prompts and I especially use it if I can’t seem to make full short stories or when I reach a block on my main projects.
So, those are a few of the methods I use for coming up with a creative story. What are some ways that you do it? Leave a comment below, or privately share it with me here.
The next piece will be how to combine the voice tip (Here) and the character one I started this one out with in order to write an essay or personal response. It’s a neat trick I picked up when I wrote my English diploma.
I hope you enjoyed this, and always remember you can send prompts, requests, questions, and concerns to me at any time. Your feedback is appreciated!