“Writing is the painting of the voice.”
Writing is an art form. It’s a way of releasing all those imaginative thoughts that cloud your mind on a rainy day. It’s expressing all those feelings, the ones you’ve kept bottled up for so long. It’s creating a fictional land where anything at all can happen. It’s a way of getting lost in a completely different world to escape the day to day stresses of reality.
Well, that’s just one person’s opinion.
However, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, we’re pretty much on the same wavelength. We write because we love to write. We also write because we think we’re pretty damn good at it, let’s be honest, and there is no way we should hide that fact!
Hopefully, we all know what we want to gain from our writing. We all have our own hopes for the future and goals we want to achieve in the long run, but how do we reach them? When we want to create an amazing book that people will want to pick up and buy in a book store, how can we create a powerful story to encourage that? How do we make our characters relatable and their motives clear? And how…just how can we create a setting or atmosphere that makes someone want to continue reading after each chapter end? These are the most crucial questions a writer should bear in mind. If I knew I wasn’t able to do all that, I wouldn’t even be writing a story at all. I know what I’d personally look for in a book, so actively doing this in my own work is second nature.
In my experience of writing and from the countless books I’ve read over the years, I’ve identified some of the most powerful ways to bring a story to life. The tricks that, if you get right, can completely transform your story into that masterpiece you’ve been hoping for. All you need is the right practice.
Don’t venture too far.
We all know some of the best ways to improve our confidence and to get better at something is to go out of our comfort zone. In fact, this isn’t always the case, especially where writing is concerned.
Imagine: your main area of expertise is Romance. However, you’re an avid Skyrim fan and decide to write something about dragons and orcs which doesn’t live up to your usual standard of ‘romantic’ novels. You take an arrow to the knee and fail miserably.
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if you know you’re no where near as good at one genre than another, simply don’t go there. It’s not worth the struggle when you’re looking to publish. Stick with what you know you’re good at, and practice writing about the Dragonborn in your spare time.
Describe the senses.
This is honestly one of my favourite things to do in the editing stage. I write the general gist of the chapter and then revisit, describing everything from the way the sun sets in the sky to how Billy’s face looks when he drops a carton of milk all over the carpet. Description is the real deal. It’s the main way you wow your audience and make them feel as if they’re in the exact same spot as your protagonist.
When describing something, all you need to do is remember the five senses; taste, sight, touch, smell and sound. Your character has just emerged out of a cave after being stuck in there for 3 long days. How are their eyes adjusting to the brightness? Have they forgotten just how beautiful the landscape is to them? Tell us! We want to hear what your character hears, the putrid smell that reaches their nostrils. Whatever it is, we want to know, and we’ll feel so much more in tune with your character and surroundings if you tell us.
Be thorough with your characters.
If you’ve not been following my previous posts, I’ll let you in on a secret of mine. My first story wasn’t very well planned, and I’m still no where near finishing it. It’s currently sitting on the shelf (so to speak) until a later date when I can get my head back into it. One of the reasons I’m having a break from it is that I just could not get to know my characters. At all. I used to get them mixed up, I forgot their names at times and when I closed my eyes, I didn’t have a vision of what they looked like or what they were like as people. Absolute nightmare!
However, I’ve made sure I don’t make that same mistake with my current novel. I’m in the process of making detailed character profiles and going to the effort of creating how they look visually in a strange but passable online character creating site. I’m determined to learn from my past mistakes and create characters I know inside out.
Be emotional…no, really!
If you can’t make your reader feel moved by what they read, then you know you’re not quite there yet. We’ve all felt a ton of emotions in our time. We’ve been angry, distraught, overjoyed, nervous, excited…we’re the people who know emotions inside out, so writing about them should be a breeze, right? We know how to make ourselves happy, we know the triggers that make us sad. We know everything in so much detail. All we need to do is transfer these feelings to our characters. Think of it as a hand-me-down.
I recently wrote a section of my current WIP and felt that good old tug on the heartstrings. Why? Because I forced myself to become my main character. I put myself in her shoes and felt what she felt. I’ve never been able to do that before which is why I know I’m on the right track with novel number two. I’ve got a good feeling about this one.
When creating your own novel, try putting these simple but powerful techniques into practice. It might just give you that little kick you need to get those juicy sentences flowing! Does anyone have any other tips for bringing your story to life? 🙂