Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Romantic Mystery, All of Your Own Making

Your mission in this exercise is to come up with your own characters and setting to fit the following as your final sentence:

"She knew, deep in her heart, that now was the time to kill him."

Use this final sentence to end your tale of romance, love, and murder. You have 2000 words or less to write your story.

When you are done, paste your story in the Comments section, or provide a link to your story. Good luck and happy writing!

Friday, January 22, 2010

And Speaking of Titles Still...

Do not judge a book by its cover, sages tell us; they should have continued with, "And not by its title either."

How would Jane Eyre have been treated differently if it had been titled Rochester? Or A Gothic Romance of Heartbreak and Love? Would today's bestsellers have sold better if their titles had been changed?

All the questions above imply that a title and cover do not a good book make. However, it would do all of us a great deal of good to admit that a title can catch attention and make people pick up a book and actually read it. If anything, the title is the hook; the bait is the first few sentences; taking a reader hook, line, and sinker means that the reader dives into the book headlong and revels in every single word and sentence of its literary richness.

So what does all this mean? Balance.

Don't concentrate on your title too much. You want to catch your readers with a great book, not have them slavering over your title, and then disappoint them with your poorly written content. On the other hand, don't disregard the power of your title: You want to catch people's attention, not turn them away from a potentially great book.

Sometimes, a great title will just pop into your head, forcing you to write a story. At other times, you will need to finish your book before you even get an idea for a title. Whichever the case, don't think too hard. Let the title come to you. Work on your writing skills first.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Speaking of Titles...

Have you thought of a title for your NaNoWriMo novel yet?

True, it's still months away from this year's big novel writing escapade. And true, you shouldn't base your work around a title - much less belabor yourself with a title if you have no plot yet. But you can also think of titles as an exercise: thinking of a title can actually make you excited to write because you need to have a title that encapsulates your characters, plot, and setting.

Your title can make or break your book: you can wake up one day, stare at your title, and find yourself encouraged to move on and keep writing; or wanting to vomit.

Your NaNoWriMo exercise is simple: think of single words that could be titles for books, and then construct plots around them. The catch is that you can use only 50 words, at the most, to construct a plot. For instance, you can use the word "PEN" and your plot could read "Marigold has never used a pen to write, but she weaves stories like a pro. When a mysterious man hands her a pen, she is unprepared to write with it, especially when the pen has a mind of its own."

Use as many words and construct as many plots as you want. You might also want to use a single word and construct multiple plots around that word. Think of this as a creative exercise - and you might end up with a plot that you could actually use!

Good luck and happy plotting!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random Blog Writings

What's in a blog title? Plenty, apparently, if you know what to do with them. Here's an exercise to get you thinking.

1. Go to your favorite search engine.
2. In the Search window, type in "blog" and then your first name.
3. Click on the first result. If you keep a blog and the first result is your blog, go to the next one. If the result is in a language other than the one that you know best, then go to the next one.
4. Look at the name of the blog. If the blog has no name, use the title of the latest entry. If the blog has no entries, use the URL name of the blog.
5. Use that title as the first few words of your short story. You have 500 words at your disposal. The plot and characters are all yours.

This exercise should help you think on your toes. Not all blogs have sensible titles, but it would be a great and deep mark of your creativity if you can turn a nonsensical title into the first few, intelligible, and engaging lines of your short story.

When you are done, post your 500 word story in the Comments section, or provide a link to your story. Good luck and happy writing!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pick Your Own Christmas Photo

It's time to go back to your old Christmas albums and get a Christmas photo out. The younger you are, the better. Make sure you pick a photograph that shows you clearly - you can be with other people, but you need to be seen clearly and not blocked by anybody else in the shot.

Relive that moment. Why was that picture taken? What was going on? What did you feel? Tell your readers about it in less than 500 words. Writers can recreate memories that they never had: this exercise should help you recreate your own memories and prepare you to create scenes later on.

When you are done, share your writing and picture in the comments section, or provide a link to your work.

Good luck, happy reminiscing, and happy writing!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's 2010, and it's a new year - a new year for writing, for great ideas, and for great exercises.

It's time to really think this year through: what are you going to do in January so that you can get your novel up and running by December? How are you going to do NaNoWriMo this year? Are you going to write your novel yet?

Start preparing for 2010 - a year of novels and writing.

Happy New Year!