Posted by: codecalla | February 10, 2013

Breaking the Brake

One of my hobbies is buying books about writing and reading them to glean whatever I can from their depths.  While I have studied writing in an academic sense as well as creative, I appreciate adopting techniques from other writers, especially when I feel “stuck”.  There are some wonderful methods to adding layers to what I write.

Another hobby is actually more of a collection and fascination–tarot cards.  I have a collection of different tarot cards with different art styles and focuses.  What I’ve discovered about them is that they help spur thinking, especially critical and creative thinking, when trying to find a connection to the image and my thoughts.

At times I’ll write poetry or song lyrics for my characters to “sing”.  I feel comfortable with many genres, such as poetry, plays, screenplays, long fiction, short fiction, so the change of pace helps alleviate the stagnation.  I sometimes free-write whatever is on my mind so I can free up my creative self to get to work.

I’m an amateur at drawing, so if I draw anything it’s entirely embarrassing, especially if I don’t have the time to devote to making it look amazing.  I’d like to further my artistic skills.  When I draw, however, it adds a visual element to what is playing out in my head.

Music is another technique I use to spur action.  I try to pick music that I feel resonates with the story, but sometimes I get songs stuck in my head and I have to find a stronger song to purge them.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” usually works against Taylor Swift songs, which are always very catchy.


What one thing would a character change about their past? (Taken from Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper)

This is a crucial element for many of my characters, as I feel the past haunts us at times to relive painful moments and memories, or urges us on to fight against what has happened.  On the other hand, neglecting the current tensions and dramas of a character and only focusing energy on the past is not as effective, at least for an adventure story.

Mai is a young woman who finds herself in an extraordinary situation.  She is more concerned about her future than her past, especially as she worries about survival.  Mai is thrown into a world that she cannot control, pitted against adversaries who are more powerful and knowledgeable than she about the world.  Mai has to choose to throw away her past to survive the current situation, but she also runs toward recovering the past…or her ability to return to her world.

Sometimes exercises can show the differences that we make in our stories and what is most important.  Mai is actively seeking out a solution; she’s not waiting for someone to rescue her, even when she needs it.  Mai seeks active change in her current self.  Her past has not come into play–yet.



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