Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Exercising You Literary Muscles Through Free Writing by Connie Vines

Free writing—Improvisation, or raw writing – is a good way to loosen up, to renew or maintain a writing practice.  One writes without a particular plan.  Free writing encourages a pouring out of ideas or ways of expressing them that one may not have produced before.

If one theme keeps surfacing, in free writing that theme can be developed further.  Of course, to improve the craft, writers need to read and study the craft of writing by enrolling in workshops, writers’ groups, and receive input from other writers.

This can also be practiced in your plotting group, or critique group.  When I was a new writer I attending monthly workshops and met weekly with a critique group at a local coffee shop.  Often, we practice free writing and would look over each other’s work and give feedback.  I can’t say that these sessions resulted in finished pieces.  I did begin a short story that was later published and I began a number of projects that I was able to incorporate in later novels.

I still have several folders with my free writing papers.  When I pull out my folders and begin reading, more than a few surprised me with word play, sharp descriptions, or a twist and edge to some ideas. 

These are my rules for free writing:

Write whatever comes to mind without censoring, and keep the pen moving (pens let you write more quickly than pencils). One may use a keyboard; however, studies show that the pen to paper stimulates creatively in a different manner—which is true for me.

If prompts help, many books offer them, although I’ve found that when given too many choices I cannot settle on any. 

Often my free writing seems bland.  Then I remind myself that I had to get those works down in order to think and write my way to something more promising.

How to Improv Your Short Story

Start with a black paper/ screen and start writing the first story idea you get, and then keep going. Don’t edit in your head; don’t block your creativity. Where will your story go if you let it develop naturally? Will you have a badminton racket in your story? A flying cat?  Or are you clinging to a run-away horse?

“The key to great story, as with great improv, is to take the ideas that are there and build upon them rather than thinking the ideas won’t work.

If you prefer to plot your story before you write, use the same approach to your plot outline. Allow your creativity to flourish and see where your story leads you. (Notice I said where your story leads you, not where you lead your story.)

Have fun!  Enjoy the ride.  This is how I work out my Fantasy novellas. 

“Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow” Sassy & Fun Fantasy

Chapter One

“You and Elvis have done a great job on this home,” Meredith said as her older sister led the way down stairs toward the kitchen where the tour began. “Sorry I couldn’t get over until now, but…well, I’ve been sort of. . .well, busy.” Slipping her Juicy Couture tortoise-shell framed sunglasses into a bright pink case, Meredith crammed them into her black Coach handbag.  She hoped her sister didn’t ask her to define busy.  Becoming a zombie, and dealing with the entire raised-from-the-dead issue over the past six months, was not a topic easily plunked into a casual conversation.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog post and the snippet from my novella :-).

Happy Reading & Writing,


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