How does one start in poetry? How can someone go from novel writing to poetic prose? Both valid questions and both questions you may ask. I can only share from my personal experience, but as an actively working fiction novelist and poet, I shared a few tips that may help you along your journey.

  • Read as much poetry as possible. Read a vast variety of different poetry from different poets throughout history and even current. This, for me, was a gateway to expanding my horizons. Every new poem or poet I came across I could see or try to see where that poet’s message lied. Whether it was about a falling leave in Autumn or the great despair of losing a child.
  • Learn more about poetry itself beyond the reading of the different prose you come across. The research into the poetic world will introduce you to more than you may know. For example, you will learn about free-styling poetry compared to a structured haiku set-up. These are important upon you developing a style for yourself. You may even discover you want to try your hand at all the different poetry forms!
  • Keep a journal nearby. I already practice this as a novel idea that may come and go. I will need to write it down before I lose my thought. Poetry ideas and lines can come just as quickly as they fade away. You may think of a beautiful way of saying something you’ve struggled with for some time, a journal can net that fish before it escapes.
  • Play with your words. Experiment with assonance and initial rhyme. These can help develop a flow in the work and a style. Along with this experiment, with metaphors.
  • Don’t be afraid to restart a poem. Editing your work is a good way to polish it. For me, this was natural as I would write a chapter draft or even a manuscript draft and re-approach it with fresh eyes during the phase of writing of self-editing. A poem doesn’t have to be perfect and if you think it is the first time you’ve written it, approach it again later on to test your original feelings of the work. This is also a good way to develop your writing and poetry, never publish the first draft of anything you ever write. Publishers will know and so will readers, it will feel ‘off’.

Related Posts

I wrote, in the past, why I decided to do Nanowrimo last year, but it also taught me things about myself. As time has passed, I have realized it taught me more that the initial realizations.

For me, confirmations have always been the best for me to know I can do something or that I’ve done something right. Often, I can do this for myself because I will build confidence due to research. With Nano I went in almost blind. I only had a week to prep. I was taking in a lot of information in a short period, mostly alone researching, but also talking to veterans of the event.

Here I sit, months later, and I realize Nano taught me if I can focus I really can accomplish many things. I have always tried, but my life is often crazy busy, to type here and there, but all I can think was everything seemed to work out for me to get 2019 Nano done.

I am still pretty happy with myself for pushing myself. I work well under pressure and this was an entire event I expected to be nothing but pressure. I started off doing it roughly, pushing and pushing, but ultimately and very quickly I didn’t. I would relax and tell myself that it was okay, something is better than nothing.

Below is all the advice I can share on my experience, I hope it helps someone.

Advice to take away:

  1. Don’t give up
  2. Some words is better than no words
  3. Ignore the community factor if it’s hindering your progress. This is a self-challenge, not a challenge against others.
  4. 50,000 words breaks down easier than you think, just breathe, and you can do it
  5. Self-care is important, don’t push yourself to hit the goal.
  6. If you don’t hit the goal to ‘win’, reflect upon what you accomplished, and remember that was so much more than you started with.

Follow my blogging from last year’s Nanowrimo. Great to see the word count progress. Check out these links in order for a better idea of how little or how much you can do and still ‘win’.

Throughout my life various people told me I should be a writer, but I was also drawn to art and that was the direction my life took for many years. I married a music teacher and decided to become a teacher myself, and the logical choice was art. I taught that for several years. I finally gave it up, but I didn’t give up my love for art. Now I have my own home-based business called L’Artista bella. I consider myself a portrait artist, but I’ve been branching out more, trying to teach myself new techniques, to grow as an artist.

I never lost my interest in writing, though. It was just put on the back burner for a while because life happened. To say I thought I always had a book in me sounds cliché, but that’s how I finally became a writer. I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal and many books I enjoy reading are paranormal, so I began writing in that genre. I’ve always had vivid dreams and I like
to analyze them. I had one that was so strange I couldn’t get it off my mind so I wrote it down. It finally led me to the idea for my first novel, “Keys Of Childish Scrawl.” The book wasn’t born, though, for several years.

I finally decided to sit down one day a few years ago and start writing that book I’d thought about for so long. It ended up taking a totally different direction than what I first envisioned, but I believe it turned out the way it was meant to be. I also included many of my own life experiences in it. For instance, one day while driving home from work in the hills, I got caught in a freak snow storm. I didn’t have experience driving in those weather conditions, so to say I was nervous is an understatement. While in a deserted area, I came upon a snow owl perched on a fence post, and it was watching me as though it was waiting for me. We made eye contact as I drove by and the scene was surreal. It looked like a ghost in the snow. That white owl was included in my book as an important part of the story. When I began writing my book, I didn’t think about having it published. I just wanted to show myself that I could write one. As it developed, I began to think seriously about having it published, and by the time I finished, I was determined to do that.

Publishing can be a long drawn out process, and sometimes people go through many publishers before their work is accepted. Some people are never published unless they self- publish, and even that never happens for some. I feel my experience isn’t typical and I feel very blessed. On the spur of the moment one day my husband, David, suggested we go to a comic-con in Paragould, AR. Neither of us had ever been to one so we were curious. I had also just gotten a rejection letter from the 2nd publishing company I submitted to. The 1st one didn’t even acknowledge me.

When we walked into the comic con, the first table we saw was Burning Willow Press Publishing Co., and we stopped and talked for several minutes. I was impressed with the owners and publishers, Edd and Kindra Sowder, and they encouraged me to submit my book, and they accepted it. I believe it was meant to be, and as the saying goes 3 rd time was the charm. “Keys Of Childish Scrawl,” was released March 2, and can be found on Amazon.

While waiting for my first book to be published I didn’t stop writing. I’ve written short stories for BWP anthologies that were also accepted. Those stories are “The Light In The Window,” “Highway 93,” and “Grandpa’s Glasses.” I’ve written a spin-off of my novel that continues the lives of two of the characters, and I’m working on a third book now with the same characters. Their story develops, and you get to learn more about the meaning of the white owl. I’ve also gotten story ideas from some of my paintings.

  • On writing, the greatest lesson I’ve learned from it is that I still have a lot more to learn. As I said about developing techniques in art, there’s always room for growth as a writer. I’m branching out with my writing and experimenting with different genres to help me grow.
  • Constructive criticism should always be welcomed too, because it’s a new perspective on your story or your writing style. Revision is extremely important.
  • Your first draft is just getting the story down, but there should be many drafts before you decide you are finished and submit anything. Every time I go over something I’ve written, I always rewrite part of it, add something new, or delete something I decide doesn’t work or is completely unnecessary. It just makes the story better.

I’ve wondered how long I’ll write. Well, who knows? But as long as I have story ideas, I’ll be writing. That could be a while because I keep coming up with new stories, many of which stem from my own life experiences.

Check Cindy Johnson’s Links

www.facebook.com/cindyjohnsonauthor

www.goodreads.com/user/show/69812811-cindy-johnson

/twitter.com/CindyJo…/status/1069584124824956928…

www.facebook.com/LArtista-bella-1390856007846946/

amazon.com/author/cindyj

Some links contained in the above interview may no longer work properly. Images may have been lost over the years as well for some interviews and older content.

This is an older interview being re-posted.


Interesting Reads and Related Content

My name is Katie, and I’ve been an author my entire adult life. I published my first novel in 2006 with a large mainstream publisher. In 2009 my second came out with another. Five more followed, and everything seemed set.

But by 2015, everything had changed. eBooks had been a thing for some time, and book sales were down across the board – even for bestsellers. The big publishing companies had chosen to invest heavily in the eBook market, a move which did not pay off as well as they likely hoped it would, as many readers decided the format did not suit them and for some “electronic books” appeared to have been nothing but a passing fad. On top of that Amazon had cornered the eBook market and few other platforms survived for long. By now hemorrhaging money, the “Big Five” stopped renewing contracts with many of their mid-level authors and many editors and other publishing professionals lost their jobs.

I was one of the many people to lose out. In 2015 both of my publishers told me they weren’t going to publish the next installment in the series I had begun in 2009. I was effectively out on the street with a half-published series, fans asking when the next book would be out and an agent shrugging helplessly as every other mainstream possibility turned us down on the grounds that they did not want to pick up a series halfway through (or in one case, went into receivership before they’d even read the manuscript).

I had no idea what to do, so I turned to my friends. Their advice – go indie.

There has long been something of a class system in the publishing world, which to my regret I must confess I once ascribed to myself. “Real” authors got their books out through big shiny corporate publishing companies and that’s it. Self-publishing was for untalented losers who couldn’t take no for an answer. Indie publishing was for cults and conspiracy theorists. Certainly, when I became an indie author several people I had thought were friends suddenly began acting as if I didn’t exist, or began making passive-aggressive remarks about my “failed” career.

But the landscape has changed and is still changing. If those stereotypes were ever so they no longer are. I entered the independent publishing world hopelessly naïve and unsure of what I was getting into, and as it is in any business I learned a few painful lessons along the way. What I found was a world where many others are still finding their feet, but were, for the most part, everything was less impersonal, and there was far more creative freedom. The companies I’ve begun working with are not owned by faceless bean counters, but by other artists, for artists. There’s less money invested, of course, but in some ways, that’s a good thing. Too much money on the line makes any company overly conservative and averse to taking risks, which is why so much mainstream fiction tends to be rather samey – blockbuster movies even more so. Diversity is encouraged and there is far less preferential treatment shown toward white male authors, which was an issue I had to deal with many times as a mainstream author. The experience is more collaborative, and as the author, you feel less like a supplicant and more like a partner.

Some people are now declaring that independent publishing is the way of the future, and perhaps it is. Time, as always, will tell.  I for one am optimistic.

Check out KJ Taylor:

Some links contained in the above interview may no longer work properly. Images may have been lost over the years as well for some interviews and older content.

This is an older piece of content being re-posted.


Interesting Reads and Related Content

The most important thing for for authors of all shapes as sizes is reviews. Many avoid them, but a small few will use them. Those wanting to become a better writer often will use these reviews to see their strong and weak points from the readers’ point of view. I have seen this become very important for the review stalking writers, especially if they’re writing in a new genre for them.

With all that said avoid the most important thing to know about reviews is knowing if you can handle them. If you cannot handle what the readers have to say then you’re probably not in the right career for yourself.

If you can read them, seeing them as an opinion and be able to use them, you’re in a better position. Reviews are not a bad thing, despite the argument that many will pose. You must remember you cannot change minds, first impressions are everything even more so with a product you’ve pushed into the world.

The only thing you can ever control is yourself and how you handle a situation when it presents itself. The world of publishing is a tough one to be in. It’s highly competitive and if you cannot handle the pressure of the publishers, the readers, or the stress from submission this is not the business for you.

I am not saying give up. Just step back, self-care is important. Remember that you cannot control others’ opinions just control how you handle them.

What’d you think of this post in The Word? Think this advice will help you? Has it already helped you? Let me know! Let’s talk about it.

Originally, this blog post began as an essay of what I’ve seen others doing wrong with a different title to help others avoid the mistakes, but when I stopped working on it I realized I had made many of these mistakes myself, even recently! I wanted to step back and start over when I became more educated by some professionals in specific fields of the industry. This mentorship of sorts has enlightened me.

The Word began as a writer’s corner/writer’s stories/advice column of sorts to help others learn from my mistakes, give an outlet to fellow authors, share my knowledge, and try to help fellow poets and writers. One thing I’ve talked about the most is growth and being open-minded enough to learn as much as possible. This means I’m on a journey along with everyone else and I want to share what I’ve learned.


The Problem: Promoting too early

My Mistake: I would drop hints, clues, and teasers to create a buzz, but I would start months ahead of release dates. I wanted to create a buzz. I knew I should. This was poor marketing on my part. Which surprised me, I have written about marketing, but I’m not a publicist nor an expert in this field. Give me a photo and ask me if it’s photoshopped I can usually tell or ask me to write a short story, hold my drink, and watch me pound the keys!

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: Promoting too early is a mistake. Months ahead of time is completely too early. 6 weeks ahead of release is the key number I’ve learned from authors and book publicists.

Promoting too early sucks the life out of the book. Any interest for a book will fade by the time it releases. The most active time is the month of and the months after, the peak time is the day of.

The Problem: Giving Up

My Mistake: Self-doubting myself has always been an issue. It’s led to me wanting to give up completely. I felt like a ‘bad writer’ multiple times and wouldn’t work on manuscripts or would force myself to move forward shakily.

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: NEVER give up! Taking care of yourself isn’t giving up. It’s healing yourself to continue the journey. I know I’m not the only writer in the world with worries, concerns, and the ‘bad doubt demons’ whispering. I used to write every day, but over time I stopped doing this.

I’m changing my course and getting back to the good ol’ spooky writer that I am, as I never left just got lost in the mist. I will also say one nice thing about myself every day to pump myself up.

Today’s Self Compliment: I’ve survived so much, I can survive today too.

The Problem: Self-care

My Mistake: Not taking care of myself better. I’ve talked about being creatively burned out before (Read: The Dark side of being ‘Creative on Demand’). I’ve talked about it in interviews. I wasn’t taking care of myself or well enough which ultimately snuffed out my candle. It’s burning the candle at both ends, eventually it’ll met in the middle and be over.

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: The solution was more self-care. Taking a break more than for a little amount of time. Stepping away from projects I’m working on and declining the ones I don’t want to do. I’m no good to anyone if I’m a mess. Never burn the candle at both ends again.

The Problem: Communication

My Mistake: Not communicating enough was a problem I didn’t realize I had. I replied to people, but never really dug deep into things. I never really commented in communities. I’m very aware of my own introverted nature. I don’t enjoy being on camera, don’t like my picture taken, and if you’ve followed me on Facebook, you’ll see even in a recently found older picture of myself I wasn’t happy about it.

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: Though I would join communities around the net, but mainly to watch, but this year has grown to be a full-blown change. I’ve been responding to comments on other website during the Silver Daggers Book Tour, here on WordPress, and more throughout my social media.

How do you handle literary criticism?

I understand its part of the entire industry. I’ve seen it come in several forms like from the editors of my work to even unsolicited reviewers or readers. The only thing that can be done is nod and keep moving forward.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

It depends. I sometimes have the world before writing, sometimes I write and realize I must flush out the world more. Either way, it happens and must for my characters be able to work within the limitations of the world I’ve created.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere. I’ve taken a lot of ideas from nightmares and dreams I’ve had. Some element from a show or some element from something has done or said will inspire me even if I’m not needing it. Something just clicks and the wheels turn.

Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?

I listen to rock music, dark cinematic music, southern rock, or dark ambient music. I’ve I’m writing something set at a special time, like the 1980s I’ll listen to the music of that period to help inspire the world building I’m placing my characters.

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.

I have high functioning anxiety, depression, and ptsd. Which all means I will drill myself into the ground, burn out because I’m trying to do to my best, and overly worry about things that shouldn’t be worried about. It’s draining emotionally and mentally.

If you could only have one season, what would it be?

Autumn.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Hmm. Smart, creative, and stubborn.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I’ve never seen it help a writer. Confidence in yourself and your work is beautiful, but letting yourself get a big head isn’t a quality personality trait whether you’re a writer or not. Overly confident actions that become cocky, to me, send a red flag that shows insecurities that the person is trying to overcompensate for to mask themselves in a ‘better light’.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

The first work I published I eventually unpublished it. It taught me a lot. I didn’t know much about the industry when I did this work and I learned the proper process to getting things out as an independently published author. Eventually, with all I learned because of this I approached the entire publishing process differently. I think this helped as the books to come have made their way to publishers. It changed the course of my career and perspective entirely.

What Is The Best Part Of What You Do?

Meeting fans and networking. This surprises me as I’m very introverted and a homebody, but it’s like I come alive or wake up almost around others. This side of me comes out I didn’t know was even there. I enjoy greeting fans, readers, others in the industry, and other writers.

I’m sure many of you have traveled because you’ve published a book. You must do signings, conventions, and appearances to help push your products to audiences and hopefully gain some new readers at the same time. I have done events in the past, probably more, but the biggest worry I had was how to prepare. What should I have with me? What would I need? How can I make sure I’m as ready as possible.The questions can mount quickly, especially for a someone doing their first event. Here are some tips to help you accomplish an event prep.

Plan Ahead

Before packing I highly recommend making an inventory list of everything that you can mark off as you’re packing. A single convention can take months to prepare for. Buying copies of your book, merch, and everything you’ll need to simply take with you.

Also before you start packing I recommend checking out the hotel’s website. See what they offer you, look closely at the rooms’ pictures on the website to get a good feel for what you may need. I brought my own coffee after finding out the coffee wasn’t very good or strong once.

Know your event’s schedule, what you will have to pay out of pocket for (like parking), and addresses to put into your GPS device.

Be Santa Clause

  • Make a itemized list of everything you’ll be taking, every item of clothing to every tiny piece of merch. You’ll be checking it twice if not three times.

Luggage

  • There’s a saying that the more totes, the bigger the truck, or if there’s a trailer behind a vehicle the bigger the vendor. From what I’ve witness it’s true. The more you have to pack the more you’ll use to haul the luggage and bins around.

Recommended Items to Pack/Don’t Forget

  • Three outfits per day. Some may call this much, but you never know what could happen. Hate to be the person walking around with the breakfast spill on your shirt all day. You’ll need one for event and if you feel like you need to change before dinner it’s best to have something different. Vendors sometimes have dinner together after a day of convention work.
  • Big bins are your best friend.
  • If you’re going to a convention or signing event in another state, the best advice I ever was given was to take no less than 50 of the first in a series with 25 or 30 copies of the rest of the books in the series. 50 copies of every other book you plan on taking with you. You may not sell everything or anything, but the best plan is plan to have more than you need just in case.
  • Take a laptop, its cords, its charger, and anything you need to have that laptop function. Whether its to play a book trailer on it, for someone to shop online for a book you may not have, or for you to use a laptop is key.
  • Bring a power strip. Sometimes you’re only given an outlet near your table, a power strip is the best thing to maximize its usages. Do remember not all places will provide power for your space, but if they do this is a must have.
  • Make sure you have a folding table. Some places will provide a table for you, but most of the time no. Make sure you take your table as a back-up.
  • Remember your ‘swag’ or your merch. Either to sell or to give out.
  • Don’t forget your tablecloth and/or signage. If you have a table cloth to fit the above mentioned table, great! Sometimes you don’t need it, but it’s always to get one. Sometimes the tables, if they supply, are rough and you want to make your spot ideal as possible. Signage is great to tell who you are, what you’re selling, or where they can get freebies! Also a table cloth is real handy in hiding any big blue colorful totes you used to haul your items indoors before the convention or signing began.
  • Bring display cases or book stands! This is option depending on what you want your space to look like. Shelving helps hold many items, especially if you have a lot of things and a small bit of space up front. A table can have books laying down on them, but a stand that’s upright can beautifully showcase your work.
  • Bring your business cards and their holder!
  • Phone and charger.
  • I’ve been told 50-100 petty cash, lock box for your money, a receipt book, and whatever device you need to make online sales through your phone or laptop.
  • Any table decoration you want to liven up your book displays, hold your swag on, and things that draw attention.

It seems like a lot, good because it is. Over time it’ll be routine though. You’ll be alright.


Quick Reminder Tips/Final Advice

What I did before traveling was to pre-pack everything in my tote and bags. This gave me a good idea how much room I was going to need before packing my vehicle. It also allowed me to head out first thing in the morning without worrying. First timers may not have much, I had a single tote once with two suitcases that held my clothing and my important items.

Remember as you’re packing to mark off your itemized inventory list (the thing mentioned earlier before the list here) and don’t get rid of it, pack it too. When you go to pack up to go home you will then have the list of everything you packed and reuse it as a checklist to make sure you pack everything up and nothing is left behind.

My first convention I ended up taking my table, one big blue tote with everything in it, two large bags of clothing (my husband/helper came with me) my laptop, and all my other items. I did an event locally to raise money for a school nearby. Took my tote, table, tablecloth, and all the books and items I had at the time. I also asked other indies to send me some of the swag they give out for free so I could help them spread the word locally.

After the event ended I got some sleep, and then was up again working on a story in the middle of the night ignoring the sounds from the hallway. I was posting on my social media through my laptop since I didn’t have a better phone at the time. As my husband was driving I also caught some more sleep.

Some authors give out candy, I don’t recommend it. I have talked to me that tried this and discovered that people would come up to grab the candy and keep going. It brings people to the table, yes, but not to stay, not to buy, and not to talk for longer than it takes to get themselves a few pieces. I’m sure some would disagree with me on this though.


Worried how to get hold of some of the items mentioned, like swag items? Don’t worry I’ll be doing another post about swag/merch help.

Did this piece help you? Let me know in the comments! I knew this was something I was going to eventually post. I haven’t done many events, but this mainly what I do, advice I’ve been given and practiced, and recommend. Got a piece of advice I forgot?Let me know!

Writers seldom write the things they think. They simply write the things they think other folks think they think. So this is my two cents; one man’s opinion – I think.

I follow a fair number of writers and creators on social media and noticed some of them discuss their creative process a lot more than I do. I’m fairly reluctant to talk about the fundamentals of storytelling and the various projects I have in development (mainly because I have no idea what the hell I’m doing, anyway), but I feel it’s healthy to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while. So here we go.

One of the first things they teach you about creative writing is that there are five basic elements of a story: characterization, setting, plot, theme, and tone (these can vary depending on how big of an alcoholic your instructor is). A story cannot exist without any of them. You can try to remove setting by placing the characters in a void…but then the setting becomes the void. You can try to remove plot by just having everyone standing around doing nothing…then the plot becomes them standing around doing nothing. You can try to remove characterization…well, you get the idea.

To construct a story you have to make a decision about what one of those elements will be and then build up from there. I like to think of a story as a tower and all of these elements are your building blocks to create it. The bottom block is the most important as it will answer the question “why.” Why is this story important to tell? Why do you want to tell it?

Personally, I believe the most important aspect of a story is theme. It is the central tenant to which every other element can rally around. It gives my story a purpose. A punch. That said, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of stories that don’t start with a theme at all. Comedies, for example, are more interested in tone, as they want to set up a good laugh. Romance novels might be more focused on characterization, as they want to see their protagonist fall in love or triumph over a heartbreak. Sometimes setting is the most important factor, such as in a period piece or a story built around a particular event.

Now even though this first block might be the most important, it is also probably the easiest to develop. Because it’s your “why”, the work is already done for you. It’s your driving force behind wanting to develop a project. The trick to a good story are the blocks that come after. The ones you have to creatively mold in order to flesh out your tale. And it’s not just what you’re choosing to put in those blocks that matter. It’s also the order in which you stack them in. Since each block is built upon the last, if you realize too late that one of those blocks was a bad choice, then the others that came after it will also be affected. This process is supposed to be fun. Writing is a crazy endeavor. People isolate themselves for vast periods of time while staring at a screen, banging on a keyboard, and wrestling with their own thoughts. But we do it because it’s enjoyable! The minute this painful process starts to become…you know…actually painful…then stop, change out a couple blocks, and see what fits better. Maybe the setting should be in space instead of the Wild West. Maybe it should be a horror instead of an adventure. Maybe the main character should be a boy instead of a girl. Or you could just do what I do whenever a story doesn’t seem to be working: add zombies.

Check out Frank Martin:

Many people struggle with writing, I get it sometime it gets hard, but never give up! Here is a list on how to improve your storytelling! These are tips I have shared for years to help everyone wanting to write stories or even improve their literary role-playing and storytelling. It’s time to bust out your thesaurus or your online dictionaries for what they were meant for!


5. Research

The saying goes: write what you know. I agree fully, but what about everyone else that love writing new things, things they may not know? To that I say: write what you know because research will teach you. If you’re unsure of something fully exhaust yourself researching about a subject. Of course, go fully legal in your research and harm no one.

4. Comparing

The best way for a writer to explain something is to compare it to something more familiar. Recently, I wrote a short story and inside of it I described a UFO as a ‘silver donut’ Seems very simple, but you now know exactly what I’m talking about right.

It’s good to be descriptive, but sometimes simple gets the job done. If you’re writing descriptively enough throughout the story comparing something unfamiliar to something that is recognizable is a great way for the reader to see in their mind what you’re trying to convey.

3. Know Your Characters/World

The best way to write a character or world is to fully flush them out. It may be tedious, but it can help very much during writing. This is also where the jokes authors make of ‘my character wouldn’t let me’ or ‘they told me how they felt’ come in. It’s from, I hope, them flushing out personalities, histories, and all of that before hand.

Ask yourself questions and answer them. Who is this man or woman? Did they overcome what they went through? Did it damage them in anyway? This is also good for world building.

Fully flush out everything, enough of everything at least. I’ve met writers that have gone above and beyond creating interesting worlds and some that have done enough.

2. Pull From Your Own Emotions

This seems easy enough, but sometimes isn’t utilized properly. I have become well known for my ’emotionally driven writing style’ and the secret is this. If I’m writing something more horrific than what I’ve been through I use how I felt to write what it is and try and add upon it.

For example: I’ve never been possessed, but I’ve written about it (Human Ouija, The Blasphemer Series: Harvest, and The Painting of Martel depict different styles of possession). I imagine the worse possible feelings I’ve gone through, wrote them, and then thought more about the character’s situation. Feeling invaded, feeling overwhelmed, and perhaps confused.

1. Remember Your Five Aristotelian Senses

The key to really pulling someone into your story and improving your own writing is remembering the 5 ‘traditional’ senses (also known as the Five Aristotelian Senses). These are touch, taste, hearing, seeing, and smell.

Ask yourself questions.

Touch/Feeling – Is it cold? How does this character feel about that? Can they feel the warmth of their coat or perhaps they feel the chill because they’re not properly dressed. Perhaps your character has picked up something, how did that object feel. You can even describe simply if it was heavy or lighter than expected.

Tasting – Is the food salty or sweet? Did that cause them to moan enjoying the flavor? Say they were hit in the mouth, what did the taste of the blood against the taste buds of their tongue taste like? Perhaps they expected something to taste delicious because it appeared that way, but sadly it was disgusting. You can describe the disgusting flavors, why it was disgusting to that character. How did the food look before they tasted it?

Hearing – If the scene is ‘quiet’ can the character hear the buzzing of the air against their eardrums? Perhaps they do and it’s interrupted by a sudden noise. How did they react to it? Was it a familiar sound of another character coming home or a stranger breaking in? Did they hear glass shattering of a window or a door’s wood breaking when it was kicked in?

Seeing – So much of the story can be based on what is seen or describing a scene in such a way the reader can see it too. Things can be bright, blinding bright, or dark and dim. It is, for me, one of the first descriptors as it puts color to the moment.

Smelling – Smell is said to be the strongest of our senses linked to memories. They can take us to our grandmother’s house because she baked a lot or even to a sad memory of losing someone. For example: After a funeral many bring food to the family that has lost someone. Perhaps in this situation your character cannot stand the smell of pies because they remember losing their mother.

There are all kinds of scents. Sweet, nasty, or something that reminds me of our favorite memories. Apply those to your writing. Did the apple smell delicious or has it rot? You can even mix smelling with feeling and go the route of the air smelt clean and cold. You see? Mixing the senses creates a dynamic surrounding for your character and will add to the world they’re in.

You can even go into how the smell made your character feel. Did the burger joint’s smells make your character hungry or sick because it was overpowering? Use this!

There are more senses, you can learn about them here and here. I recommend this as it can help even further!


YOUR TURN

What did you think? Did this help? Have anything to add to the list above? Do you want me to do more examples? Perhaps show these tips in action?