Many people nowadays when they find themselves having a moment of ‘boredom’ open the main source of artificial serotonin, social media. This results in hours where, like zombies, we watch useless content that we then forget about within minutes of having watched it. It cannot be said, however, that this applies to any content on the web; in fact, by digging a little and letting the algorithm know what we like, you can get some real gems. Especially from my favourite app, Pinterest.
When I have a quiet moment, I run to open the app and read a flood of poems, see gorgeous outfits, crochet ideas but most of all tips for creative writing. Pinterest is perfect at this, it offers a flood of tips, some great others you’ve heard before, for struggling writers.
I don’t want to waste your time on social media just to find some rare gems hidden deep inside, so in this article I decided to bring them to light. Here they are,
Top tips for struggling writers
1. Imagine the reader for a perfect beginning
To start your story so that the reader stays until the end, there is a simple trick that, if used well, will make a huge difference in your writing.
You see, sometimes we need to put things in perspective to understand them. The same needs to be done with writing.
As you write (I am talking more about the final book for the first draft let yourself go imagine the reader who will read your book.
Who is he? What will they be feeling right now? What do I want them to feel?
You have to see it clearly in your head and write accordingly.
This exercise is perfect for times when you feel stuck, when you have no idea how to show the story to the reader.
But it becomes even more useful if you use it in your beginning.
As we writers know very well, the beginning is everything in books. Get it wrong and you will lose one reader…after another.
That is why a perfect way to use this exercise is to imagine that your reader, while opening your book is in a foul mood. That, despite having opened the book, he has zero desire to start reading.
Here, your challenge is to make that reader stay. You cannot assume that he has the patience to endure a boring introduction and will go on anyway. You do not have page two or three. Everything happens now, in the first few lines.
Find a way not to let him escape. Capture him now and he will be yours forever (well to the end of the book at least).
2. Use your environment to create new characters
It is true that a large percentage of writers are introverts. But writing in public has benefits for everyone actually.
Here are a few:
- Social pressure pushes you NOT to sit on your hands
- You don’t have distractions nearby (TV, video games, snacks)
- You are far from your comfort zone, which will not allow you to relax
- You have great inspiration around you
The first three points are already self-explanatory, the last one is the one I will elaborate on.
Sometimes when we create new characters the process becomes very mechanical. And that also makes the essence of the characters feel like that, distant, not real enough.
There is no better way to make something more realistic than to take it from reality. If you are in a public place you are surrounded by so many different characters to use in your stories. Take the name and essence of the people around you. Look at their gestures and how they smile, what do you think they look like? What is their tone of voice like? Are they dressed casually or smartly?
Of course do it in such a way that you don’t get caught. You certainly don’t have to scare poor human beings by staring at them like stalkers until they run away from the place. The purpose of this advice is another.
While writing about your character you can think about that stranger and imagine what he would do in that situation. You can really know a lot by observing a person, even without talking to them.
You are also not doing a bad thing. Those people would certainly be happy to be immortalised in a book, and even if they wouldn’t be, there are plenty of people with the same name in the world. They can never know. Perhaps you who are reading this article have also been used by some writer for this purpose, who knows.
3. Use two tricks to improve your dialogues
There are two tricks that can change your scene and dialogue entirely. The first is to change the weather. If a dialogue seems boring to you, especially because nothing is happening around, use the weather events in your favour.
It doesn’t always have to be sunny. And it would be even better if the weather at that moment reflected the main feelings of the dialogue in question.
The second tip to make each of your dialogues special is to make sure that the characters cannot say, for anything in the world, what they really want.
Do they want to say I love you? Those words won’t come out of their lips, but they can say something else that under close scrutiny means the same thing.
I would always help you, whatever the cost = I love you
Move over, you’re always in the way = I’m mad at you
The boy is telling a dream of his, the mother keeps doing chores around the house and at one point starts talking interrupting the boy = the mother is not interested in the story
4. Rewrite what you remember
If the pages you have just written seem boring and you do not know how to save them, do not despair.
It is not all to be thrown away.
But you have to understand which parts are important and what just takes space. Remember that the number of words matters to the writer, the reader couldn’t care less. For him, rightly, it is the content that counts.
There is a simple filter you can use to eliminate all unnecessary sentences and descriptions, memory.
Open a blank sheet of paper, new page. And rewrite the pages you have just written without looking, using only your memory. It will also improve your writing skills.
This way you will only include things that were worth remembering in the final version.
Remember: while you are rewriting, do not add anything, just put in what you remember. Then when you have finished, if you think something is missing, you can add it.
5. Connect the details of your book
Everything that exists in your book must have a reason to exist. Every object, every highlighted sentence, every action must have a purpose. It must prove useful later in the story. Some of these connections you will make automatically while writing, but others, the more ingenious ones, are added when you edit the manuscript.
It does not all have to be for a huge purpose.
Our brains love to make small connections and when we make them we are flooded with satisfaction. Give this feeling to your readers if you want to keep them loyal.
If you say at the beginning of the book that the protagonist has a ring that she often turns over in her hands, give it a story. And who knows, maybe later the protagonist will meet the person who gave her the ring and that will make that person realise that she has not been forgotten.
Yes I got a little carried away in the example, but it really doesn’t have to be something big. Just plant small details and let the reader connect the dots.
You don’t have to tell them, you have to let them understand, let them have their beloved detective moment. It will enrich your story tremendously.
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