Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Creative Writing for learners

Creative Writing for Learners

  • You want to write a story but you don’t know were to begin

  • You’ve already started but you’ve run out of steam

  • You’ve written a story but your English could be better

  • You think you might like to try writing a poem

If this is you, then here are some tips that might help you to overcome your problems.  

  • Where to start

Any story starts in your head – with an idea – sometimes ideas just pop into your head.

Waiting for ideas to come along is one way of getting ideas – making them come along is better. Start like this:-

  • Carry a notebook and jot things down as they come to you.  Once you start, you’ll be surprised how often you get ideas –writing them down will help you remember them – that’s good for later.

  • Write something every day – sit at your computer and write – keep a journal – do anything, but write – don’t worry about what you write – just write whatever comes into your head.

  • Get a focus- now use your notes to help you to write – writing develops thought processes

  • Read what you write – leave a little time before you read over what you have written – germs of ideas take time to develop – all the best writers will tell you that sleeping on an idea lets the subconscious work on it.

  • Return to your writing and develop a theme – the focus of your writing.

  • Keep returning and keep taking notes – writing requires some dedication – don’t worry, once you get hooked you won’t be able to stop – really!

  • Read stories to enjoy reading – if you find the kind of story that you like, you’ll probably like writing them – read – enjoy – remember what you enjoy

  • Read stories to notice – read a story that you like more than once – read for pure enjoyment the first time – read to notice things the second

  • Notice how a story starts – how your attention is grabbed – compare stories – look at stories that don’t grab your attention – ask yourself why

  • Notice how a story develops – can you tell what’s going to happen before you finish it – is the end a complete surprise – did the writer give you anything to help you forecast the ending

  • Notice the people in the story – can you see them in your mind’s eye – are they real – how much do you know about them from the story – write down what you think you know about each person in the story – you’ll be surprised how much you do know

  • Notice the action- what happens – how does the writer tell you

  • Look at the dialogue – is there enough – good dialogue makes for good reading – it’s believable if you can hear it in your head – is there enough

  • Show don’t tell – does the writer show you or tell you – are you there in the thick of the action or are you a spectator, hearing about it from someone else

  • How does the story make you feel – do you want to read some other stories by this author – why – why not?

  • Return regularly to your own writing – start to write a story from an idea that has come into your head because of what you have written down or what you have read – write it down – leave it for a while – return to it- read it – do some more thinking – sleep on it – but don’t leave it too long or you might just lose interest completely – stay on task – keep a focus on your writing and on what you read

  •    You get a good idea, write about it – talk to a close friend about it – talk to someone you trust – someone who has your interests at heart – not just anyone

  • Have confidence in yourself – the uncertainty you feel is normal – you are no different from anybody else who writes

  • Think of yourself as a writer now – that is what you are – what you have become – thinking that way will attune you to ideas and to language

  • Know yourself a little bit more – examine your motives – understand why you are happy – what makes you sad – write it down – rest on it – return to it – use it

  • How to continue

How your story develops depends on what you have already written.  Nobody wants to be fooled by what you write, so look at what you’ve written already to find out where you can go.  Keep going like this:-

  • Draw story lines on a piece of blank paper – know where you are going – then go there – you can always scrap the idea if it doesn’t work out

  • Put yourself in the central character’s place in the story – what could happen

  • Put yourself in the reader’s place- what would you like to read about happening

  • Be yourself – you are the writer – you can do anything you want or go anywhere you want

  • Don’t expect to get it right first time – experiment – learn – try again

  • Feel yourself developing as a writer – look at what you have written recently and what you wrote some time ago – are the two different – you bet they are!

  • Trouble with language

If English isn’t your first language, writing is going to be harder for you.  You will have to develop your knowledge of English.  You can begin like this:-

  • Begin with poetry – grammar isn’t such a problem in a poem – read some modern poetry and see for yourself

  • Learn to find words that express what you feel – look at the world and put words to what you see – write it all down – keep a record of words – live through the language

  • Get a thesaurus as well as a dictionary – use the thesaurus more than the dictionary – get a feel for words

  • Use words creatively in poems – don’t worry about rules of grammar – let yourself go – only let others read when you are ready – get someone you trust to read for you – be encouraged by their comments – don’t be downcast if they don’t like it at first – maybe they aren’t like you

  • Move from lines of poetry to lines in a story – develop ideas using words that are not written in sentences – develop sentences when your ideas make you write more.



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