Creativity is the key to every writer’s craft. Without it, we are nothing more than people sitting at desks with paper and pencil, or blank computer screen, doing some meaningless task to occupy our time.
Coming up with a great story idea is only part of the creative battle. Keeping your creative juices flowing throughout the writing process is crucial to finishing your piece. Some writers can sit down and write a story from just the barest hint of an idea. The rest of us might need to think an idea out a bit before we sit down to write.
There are several ways to “flesh” out a story idea so it is clearer to the writer, without having to outline the entire tale out.
An easy technique to use is to take a piece of paper and put your story’s idea at the top of the page. Set a timer for five to ten minutes, then think about your idea. Write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how silly. This works great for helping narrow a broad plot down to a more specific story line.
For writers who are more visual, this might be the right technique. Draw a circle in the center of a piece of paper and write your story idea inside. Draw lines out from the circle. At the end of each line, write out what comes to mind about the story idea and draw a circle around each one. Continue placing lines and circles, either off the main idea or any of the sub-ideas. Use as many as you feel necessary to tell your story.
Just as it sounds, speed writing is sitting down and writing without pausing or editing. Set your timer for ten or fifteen minutes, then write your idea at the top of a piece of paper. Start the timer and write whatever comes to mind. Do not read or edit what you are writing. This is not about making it perfect, it is about getting your story on paper without hesitation.
Sometimes the pressure to get a story written is enough to keep your pen from touching paper. If you find yourself feeling this way, try writing your story as a letter to a friend. You might find you have an easier time. For this technique to work, you will need to choose someone you have a good relationship with. Sit down and write them a letter about your story. Write it in letter format and keep writing until you have told them the entire tale. Do not worry about the format, you can always change it when you do your rewrite.
This might be the most difficult technique of all and not one for every writer. You have to be sure of your story before you try this method. There is no writing law that says you have to start at the beginning of your story. Sometimes you know the middle or ending of a tale before you know how it starts. So go ahead and write what you have in your head. Often times, the beginning of your tale will make itself known by the time you finish writing the ending.
These tools are only for getting the first draft of your story on paper. After you get the basic tale down, then you can work on fleshing and polishing your piece until it shines.
Creative writing should flow mind to pen to paper. Sometimes, it just needs a little bit of help to start, or keep, it flowing.