Creative Storytelling Options for Those Who Don’t Like to Write

Today’s guest post is by Jacqui Murray.

When people hear the word “writing”, most think typing, maybe aching hands, but that’s the process. Not the product. In writing classes and seminars, experts told you to “write narratives using effective technique, pithy details, and well-structured event sequences.” Nowhere did they specify the tool to be used. Traditionally, writers accomplished these worthy goals with words, paragraphs, pages, and chapters.

But why?

Consider this scenario: You are required to draw a picture that describes the horrors of war, but you’re a lousy artist. The best you can do is stick figures and red flames. Or you feel a story nibbling at your brain, but your special needs prevent you from typing. You give up, decide you can’t write.

If you found a kernel of truth in this, take one of the free online quizzes that determine your best communication style. You might try the North Carolina State University’s Learning Style Quiz (four pages) based on Howard Gardner’s iconic Theory of Multiple Intelligences, It has become the model for mapping out learning modalities such as linguistic, hands-on, kinesthetic, math, verbal, and art. Understanding which you are informs your best communication method.

I’ll wait.

Done? Surprised your strengths are something other than keyboarding? Now check the options below and see which fits what you learned about your personal storytelling skills: Continue Reading…

The Key to Successful Storytelling Lies in Intuition

Whether you’re new at writing fiction or you’ve been at this a long time, there is a truth that may surprise you.

You have an intuition for story, something that’s been ingrained in you your whole life. And it serves you well—or it can—if you learn to listen to it and trust it.

When you first start writing fiction, you may doubt everything you write. You may second-guess whether your dialogue sounds natural or you characters are behaving believably.

Often beginning writers are so concerned with getting the words down and conveying the plot that they don’t stop to consider what their intuition is telling them.

Stop and read a paragraph you wrote out loud. Without judgment, consider how it sounds to you. Does it sound “right” or “off”? Continue Reading…

How Fiction Writers Can Use Sensory Detail to Set Mood

Vivid sensory detail is what brings stories to life. Sadly, many writers ignore sensory detail, for the most part. They’ll show a few things the POV character sees, and, on rare occasion, might note what the character hears or smells.

If you want to write compelling fiction that transports readers into your story, you need to maximize bits of sensory detail for the best effect.

That doesn’t mean you cram full every paragraph with smells and sounds and textures. What it does mean is to strategically put in details that not only enhance the mood of the character but are things your character would actually notice.

Staying in deep POV is essential. When writers drop in sensory details that wouldn’t be on the character’s radar, that’s author intrusion. But the greater travesty is leaving out what a character would obviously notice.

Here’s an example: a character walks into a diner and sits at a table. She picks up a menu and sips cold water from a glass, waiting to order. The author fails to show us the smells that hit her when she walks in, the sounds of people talking and eating (silverware clattering against plates, etc.), the feel of the air and the lighting (temperature, humidity), the feel of the wet, cold glass in her hand, the coolness of the water going down her throat.

Yes, you can go overboard with sensory details, but your character is a physical body in the world, and she perceives through her senses. Continue Reading…

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