Hey Writer, Feed the Mind

Typewriter_Iván_Melenchón_Serrano_MorguefileHello, beautiful writer friends!

I’ve been thinking about the small steps we might take in our writing journey. The question of the day is this—What am I doing today that will feed my writer soul?

No idea what that might be? Sometimes we forget the building blocks of our writer souls, but I’ve got some ideas. Try some of these:

  • Read something today (learn about craft, storytelling, successful writing strategies; notice the signage around you; try reading an encouraging blog, thread, etc.).
  • Observe the characters surrounding you today (their appearance, mannerisms, obvious emotional states).
  • Observe the environment around you (notice the floor plan, decoration, building materials).
  • Listen closely to the casual dialog that surrounds you (vernacular, tone, communication styles, emotions conveyed).
  • Imagine telling a short story about the moment you’re sitting in right now (find the significance in the moment, even if it seems boring).

Just some thoughts for you today. Remember that you can always think like a writer, even when you’re not actively adding words to the count.

Thanks for stopping by. If you’re feeding your writer soul and mind in a fresh way, share what that is for you. We can all use the encouragement and fresh ideas! Comment below, share at the Facebook page or Tweet away!

~Jennifer

Advertisements

Hey Writer, Create Character Sketches: Stranger Things

I’ve been thinking about writing interesting characters with depth, the kind that draw a reader into the story. There’s something in the details. There are precious details that shouldn’t be overlooked, and then there are the things that tell too much. Yeah, I’m probably guilty of “TMI” more often than not. If nothing is left to the imagination, there’s not much left for the reader to do than scan the words on the page. There’s no engagement there.

So, I made up a little exercise. I’ll nonchalantly take in the scenes around me (and the people in them). Each person I see is now a character, but there are rules—

  1. The person must be a complete stranger.
  2. Jot notes on the physical appearance (physique, posture, clothing, movement).
  3. Include notes on the person’s presence in the place (sound, language, gestures).
  4. Imagine the internal workings of the mind (choices, values, self-esteem).
  5. Quick “day in the life” sketch of the stranger.

I wonder how this kind of exercise will change my writing skill. It might be helpful, but I’ll let you know. I think the benefit is having a jotted list first and selecting from that. Rather than starting with a written piece, I can whittle down what I really need: a basic description and puzzle pieces for a story line, dialogue, and character interaction in relationship to others.

If you’ve done an exercise of this nature, how did it develop your skill in the craft?

What kinds of information would useful in an exercise like this to develop characters?

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you feel like sharing below.

Thanks for reading along!

~j

Hey Writer, Explore the Gift of Memory

Early memories are somehow indelible and nearly transparent. How surreal! I recall some of the images as crisp as today. The rest is faded and far away. It’s right here and just beyond the border of remembrance all at once. It all swirls into a brilliant mix of incredible and wonderful and frustrating.

We have been given an amazing gift in memory. The scent of my Nana’s oatmeal cookies. Dew-kissed, purple Irises in my childhood front yard. My many pets. All of my life with family and friends lives there.

I’ve been thinking about memories today. I’m thinking about capturing them, and I’m reminded that I’m tempted to use more and more words, piling them up on the page. But it may be better to leave room for the imagination.

Writers, you offer a precious gift when you trust readers to explore the memory in their own way. Avoid wordy manipulation. Offer the gift.

Readers, unwrap it gingerly. Explore it tenderly and fully. Then create conversation in response. It’s all about embracing others’ story lines and treasuring them. Allow yourself to be moved, then pass along your beautiful soul transformation to others.

Have you embraced another’s story today? Have you explored it deeply? Have you been changed by someone else’s life experience? Have you been generous with the gift of soul transformation to others who might also be changed?

Blessings as you go…

~j