Thursday, 21 April 2011

Free The Words



If like me, you’ve spent some time looking at a blank page, hoping for, WILLING some inspiration into being, have a look at the ten tools below, designed to fire up the dormant creative juices. Some, I’ve made up and some I’ve read about, as being beneficial to other writers caught in that awfully scary place, where words fear to tread.


1. If you can, visit a real graveyard, preferably an old one and using the oldest inscription you can find on a grave, construct a first person, present tense point of view paragraph about the person during the time they lived. If you can’t visit a real graveyard – close your eyes and imagine the words that would appear on an imaginary gravestone.

2. Sit in a room, with the window open as wide as it can. Listen. Just listen. Switch off your other senses. After five minutes, write a paragraph about the sound that resonated most with you during that time.

3. Take the opening paragraph from your most recently read and loved book. Change the POV and rewrite it, seeing if it frees anything – an idea, a character?

4. Using a favourite lyric e.g ‘Been down to the bottom of every bottle’ and write a third person past tense paragraph on a person who might have said those words.

5. Imagine your favourite male and female celebrities. Write a love scene – One page of dialogue only which must end on a cliff-hanger.

6. Light several candles and sit in a darkened room. List the first thirty words that come to you e.g. haunt, flicker, light, scared. Choose your favourite, most evocative word and write a flash fiction story of only fifty words. It must have a beginning, middle and end!

7. Conduct a Parky style interview with a pretend celebrity. Ask the questions you know no real host would dare to ask! Make the celeb’s responses honest and instinctive.

8. Examine a photograph - preferably one from a magazine and preferably one with unknown people in it. Write a list of the personality traits of the person you feel to be the main character in the photograph. Now describe him/her physically, write down their birthday, birth sign, favourite food, the job they do. Enough at least for a short story!

9. Write a love letter. It must start with ‘My dearest...’ and end with ‘sending you all the love in my heart’. Other than that, let your fingers tap the talking.

10. Pick your favourite word in the dictionary. Mine is ‘serendipity’. Read and re-read the dictionary meaning. Look it up on Wikipedia. Google it. See if there’s a google image for it? Write one paragraph where your favourite word appears, either in script or in theme.


See now, I’m all inspired. I feel a tale coming on. One of a serendipitous meeting of an ex alcoholic D list celebrity falling for his dead lost love... Only it’s all in his head, see? Oh and it takes the form of love letters heading each chapter.

Been done before? No problem. Change the POV. Make it emails/texts/ Facebook status reports instead. OMG, imagine a ghost that can only communicate through Facebook! Love it!

As usual when I write posts that are aimed at helping - moving people along, I end out worrying for myself...

6 comments:

Karen said...

What brilliant tips. I feel all inspired too now, though I'd be too much of a coward to do the darkened room/candlelight one!

I recently tried writing a story with some emotive music playing, which I've never tried before, and was surprised at the difference it made.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Fabulous tips, Fi. :)
Susiex

Debs Riccio said...

Inspirational, Fi - literally!

Clodagh said...

Love these ideas, Fionnuala. And funnily enough, I was led to this post by serendipity! Spooky, eh?

Julie P said...

Brilliant tips. Thank you.
I'm always amazed by where the inspiration comes from for my writing. There are stories to be found everywhere! And when you least expect it, WHAM, there it is!

Love the graveyard tomb inscription idea.

Julie xx

Caroline Green said...

Really helpful suggestions there...

Think I will print this off, Fi!