Tag Archives: stories

Time – Writing Prompts

24 Feb

Let’s dive right in and play with words. Today’s words will involve something that goes by way too fast and that we can almost always use more of. Choose your scene and who knows, it might be spun into a novel.

#1

Your character has suffered a great loss and has hit rock bottom. It is at that moment that a mysterious phone call during which someone describes an object that can give you powers to control time. It will be dangerous to retrieve it, but your character might be willing to risk it. Write this scene.

#2

Your main characters suffers lapses in memory. He thinks he’s crazy, and so does everybody else. This changes when he gets attacked by an intruder and freezes time. The plot thickens when the intruder seems to have been sent by someone who knows about what he can do…and wants him dead. Write this scene.

#3

Someone your character thought was dead, shows up. That’s not even the weird part. He claims to have travelled through time in order to give you an important message. Write this scene.

Scheduled Writing

18 Jan

The muse is a fickle mistress. Waiting around for her will only lead to a broken heart. The only way to get ink on paper is by jumping that muse and tying her to your desk. Sure, she will chew on her arm and possibly also yours, but it will be worth it. I mean, the only way to get anything done, is by simply doing it.

Since motivation can be tricky, the key is habit. Writing has to become as easy to do as brushing your teeth. As a child that may have been a chore but we stuck to it and now we don’t even think about it. The wonderful thing about this, is that it doesn’t matter how long the writing lasts. Just like with most things, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Exercising for ten minutes is still exercising.

Finding Forrester was on TV today (one of my faves) and it was cool to watch a seasoned author type away on his typewriter within a second of sitting down. His mentee asking him what he was doing, wondering how he shook some amazing prose out of his sleeve within seconds. Because HOW is that even possible? I guess the same as when someone finishes a marathon. With a lot of practice. Whether you try to publish your work or not, the more you write, the better.

So take a notebook with you, or have your laptop within in reach and make sure you have a few moments to jot down whatever your fingers let escape. Your characters will appreciate it. And so will your (future) readers.

 

Food For The Soul

28 Dec

Books, books, books, books, books. For a writer books are pivotal if you want your soul to survive and stay weird and writer-y, as opposed to normal. I mean, think about it, what if our souls could survive on thoughts and feelings regarding the household, shopping, and whether or not our neighbour likes us.

No, our soul needs to swim in the energy of the worlds that we read about, the beautiful words that are constructed like an intricate sculpture. Energy we need every day or our souls will slowly dwindle down to Normal.

There are so many things good for us. So many things we should do daily, like walking/exercising, meditate, hug someone, drink water, and all that kind of nonsense. Well, I’m here to tell you that reading should be on that list too. Because if reading is on there, writing will surely follow. Trust me, I know. I’ve had the writing itch for a long time but my fingertips don’t bleed ink anymore, they’re dry. I know why. It’s because I can hardly remember the last time that I read anything other than the tests my students make. This year has been so hectic and stressful that I SHOULD have been writing my ass off, diving into other worlds and lives than my own, but the thing you really do when you get home is fall down on the sofa and find that you’re stuck to it. An invisible person has glued you to it, and that invisible person is called Stress.

Now it’s the Christmas holiday and I have a moment to breathe. More importantly, I get to read! And wow, have I missed it. Also, now the writing muscle needs training again. Why not start with a blog post? (I have missed you, Bloggy.) And after that, work on a story, no matter how rubbish I may have gotten with all that slacking off.

Then again, it really does help to remind myself, that writers don’t need to write in order to write. And any time my mind has wondered off (and it has done so often) conjuring up images of tough chicks, lonely detectives, murders, unusual people, and unexplained situations, I have been writing. I HAVE BEEN WRITING.

Love Is In The Air

26 May

A good love story is not that hard to find. An original love story, well, that’s a whole other story. Pun intended but really not that funny, I’m sorry.

All my stories contain a love story even if they are not the centre of my character-driven novels. Usually the main plot contains some sort of mystery, preferably one involving the involuntary death of a character. Or, like in my current WIP, the finding of one’s place as an unusual person in a world that promotes The Normal.

I’m a romantic at heart and the characters that visit my mind are interesting and fun, so of course characters are going to fall in love. How could I stop them, even if I wanted to? So yes, love. And since I’m a romantic, it would have to be romantic, wouldn’t it? Preferably even beautiful. This seems a tall order since love is a theme that will never bleed out. The key, like with any topic, is to keep it fresh and original. Like all my novels, I want this part to also be special. Again, tall order, I know. It’s really hard to that, even if you’ve read a lot, watched a lot, KNOW a lot about what is out there.

My latest WIP for instance, has a couple that you root for. Two characters that you feel  should be together. That’s already a triumph. There’s also enough tension and cute moments, as well as enough obstacles that mess with their happiness. Also good. But the ending is the cherry on top. The moment where all the swirls of different colours create the rainbow. Of course they will get a happy ending, but what kind? A kiss in the rain? Done before. A kiss on a dragon while the world around them is on fire? Not done before, but my story is magical realism, not fantasy. (Although maybe that has also been done before…I haven’t read that much fantasy. If it hasn’t been done before and you write fantasy, DO IT.)

The ending is the part I struggle the most with and to be honest, it’s why I had trouble getting back to writing. I put too much pressure to have a perfect, original ending for them. I decided to do what one always does when wanting to finish a story. I WROTE. Characters usually know what to do, they know themselves better than I do sometimes and I have to trust them. I just watch them and write it down. If I’m not happy with it afterwards, I’ll edit that one scene, but at least I’ll have something to edit. Also, it doesn’t hurt that in the meantime I can brainstorm, which really is like a storm when I do it. Chairs flying around and everything. This is why I work with snacks.

There will always be snacks.

The 2015 Plan

30 Sep

Okay, this might sound more exciting than it really is, but if I call it less than a plan, I probably won’t do it. I even wrote this down in my notebooks so you KNOW I’m serious.

Maybe you’ll recognise this, but I’ve got a list of stories. *clears throat* One bloomed in my mind during my MA in Creative Writing when I had to write the beginnings of a story and it had to be literary fiction. It’s not really my thing, but a story of a young girl with multiple personality disorder knocked on the door of my mind. I only had to write the beginning but I managed to finish the first draft. Then there are the two stories that I’m querying. Since I still don’t have an agent, I’m bringing out the big guns at critique groups to get some hardcore feedback. Then there is a YA urban fantasy novel I finished but has one loose end I still need to finish, and a novel of which I need to rewrite the ending. UGH. Especially that last one is going soooo slow. What is wrong with my muse? Is she drunk again?

So, that leaves four novels that I’d like to reread and possibly edit before I feel like they’re as good as can be. Not all of these I intend to try and get published. The story about the girl with multiple personalities and the YA urban fantasy are Wattpad stories because I don’t intend to write those genres. The latter already has three chapters on Wattpad and hopefully it will be as fun for people to read as it was fun for me to write. It was one of my very first stories so it’s kind of special. *blows nose*

Anyway, before this year is over, I want these four novels to be truly finished. Or at least, as finished as can be. It feels like no novel is truly finished sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Feel free to send me encouragement on Twitter, because I need it. At some point you get so out of a story, that it’s hard to get back in. It’s like your characters have had enough and changed the locks on you. *adjusts writer socks* Still, they haven’t met my pet dragons yet. Or my inner dragon for that matter. Wish me luck!

Loose Ends

30 Jul

So many stories, so little time. There is just so much to write and most of the time I get so wrapped up in a new story that I dive straight into that one, sometimes ‘forgetting’ older ones. Mind you, these are novels that I never intended to query so I’m less time-pressured to finish those. However, it still bugs me that there are projects not neatly tied up with shiny ribbons. Still, you can’t fight inspiration. You may have a plan to finally finish that pesky WIP, but then the muse pulls you away and shoves you into another world, one that you can’t get out of until you write THE END. It happens.

After I finished a few WIPs that I was passionate about, my head was clear enough to revisit the first ever novel I started writing and in my head it was probably not that good because it was urban fantasy and I figured by now it really wasn’t that popular any more. I mean, everybody writes about witches and demons, right? So what was the point? But it was still a special story to me, because you always remember your first. I pretty much did what writers ‘simply’ do. I sat down and wrote. I pretty much forced myself to finish this. And I did. It felt difficult because I had to force myself and therefore I believed it to be rushed and crap, but after rereading this story about a year and a half later I was actually impressed. It flowed perfectly and even though I started writing it years ago my writing itself was good. Really, firsts are always special and that shows. Even if it didn’t feel like I poured my heart into it in the end, I had done so before and secretly I was still doing it even if my head thought it wasn’t the case.

So now I’ve tied up a loose end and it feels glorious. I’ve brought out the flying monkeys, cheesecake and fireworks to celebrate. My neighbours don’t appreciate that so much, but hey, writers are weird. There is still one more story left to truly finish, but I’m beginning to realise that loose ends aren’t so bad. Sometimes it’s a sign that something better is right there on your keyboard, lingering until you start typing. Sometimes it’s also a sign that you’re growing as a writer. And you know, some stories are simply fun to work on and never finish. They’re your stories. You decide what to do with them.

Hand check mark the list

Finish This…

1 Dec

Sometimes it is hard to find the words to start, especially when you’re looking for a new project and you have a touch of writer’s block. A fun and playful way to get the creative juices flowing is by adding to something that already exists. A lot of writers draw story ideas from stories they’ve read that didn’t quite live up to their idea of what it should be. So who knows, you might find your next story here after you finish this…

The air cracked with silence which had turned too heavy. I stared at him until even the wrinkles around his eyes were etched into the walls of my mind. He kept saying my name, though I couldn’t hear him. It was like someone had pressed his mute button. Was this what he had called the Slipping State? Was this what it was like to slip away from this world? I thought I already had. Which is why it was so pointless to me to sit here and stare at my doctor while there were perhaps patients who needed and wanted my help much more than myself.

“What are you feeling?” His words reached me this time, but instead of answering him my eyes wandered around his office of which all the sharp objects had been removed. I was considered to be going upwards in terms of my recovery so I shared a room that also had no sharp objects. My world was one without sharp objects. I couldn’t mention that to him, because he might think I was referring to the possibility of Other Worlds. Referring to Other Worlds was dangerous. It was how my mother had ended up in a place like this, but not how I had ended up in a place like this. Even though I did believe in Other Worlds once, gradually I had stopped. And each morning I opened my eyes, I was beginning to see the people here as more crazy and less like me.

This is what my doctor called Recovering.

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