I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
The best way to send information is to wrap it up in a person.
Why wouldn't you write to escape yourself as much as you might write to express yourself. It's far more interesting to write about others.
The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell, together, as quickly as possible.
I never started from ideas but always from character.
Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head and as you get older, you become more skillful casting them.
Characters take on life sometimes by luck, but I suspect it is when you can write more entirely out of yourself, inside the skin, heart, mind, and soul of a person who is not yourself, that a character becomes in his own right another human being on the page.
Writing fiction is a solitary occupation but not really a lonely one. The writer's head is mobbed with characters, images and language.
Characterization is an accident that flows out of action and dialogue.
From the website:
Founded 1899 by Albert Curtis Brown, the company has a long and illustrious history as a world renowned literary agency representing many of the most famous figures of the literary and political world throughout the twentieth century including Winston Churchill, John Steinbeck, Samuel Beckett, AA Milne and DH Lawrence. Many great authors have passed through the portal of Curtis Brown at one point or another in their careers, and many of these remain clients to this day.
In the twenty first century, following a management buy out in 2002, Curtis Brown re-positioned itself in the UK agency market, consolidating its leading position in literary representation while diversifying with an acting department and also significantly enhancing its presenters and theatre, film and television, literary and below the line departments.
With 160 people working in its central London offices, Curtis Brown is led by Sarah Spear as CEO.
Curtis Brown was acquired by Original Talent in 2016 as its first and flagship acquisition; the Original Talent group now includes C&W (formerly Conville & Walsh) , Cuba Pictures, Fane Productions, Ed Victor Ltd, Curtis Brown Creative, Open Book Productions and Tavistock Wood.
The urge to write fiction seems God given for some, a learned skill for others.
One thing is certain – it requires practice and a particular mindset. But, if you’re a beginner, where do you start?
The following 10 tips will help kick-start your writing habit, whether you’re a complete novice, or perhaps a pro who has lost their way!
1. Step Away From the Car, Sir.
Slightly detach yourself from your surroundings. Stop participating and begin observing. In social situations, watch people, see how they act and – more importantly - interact.
Don’t pass judgment. Take it all in – and draw on it later when you write.
2. Look Harder, Homer
Stop and look around you. Consciously notice the buildings, what’s underfoot, overhead, and what’s right in front of you.
At home, look at something you take for granted. An iron, for instance. Find yours and study it.
3. Write Thinking Will Be Rewarded.
A simple technique. Your mother is making tea and you are chatting to her. Take a mental step back and describe the scene.
Similarly, when you’re outside, describe your environment as though you were writing it down.
4. What Reasons Do You Need?
Don’t wait for inspiration – just write!
Force yourself to write anything at all. A shopping list. An overheard conversation. Describe your bedroom.
It doesn’t matter how personal it is, or how trivial, just get it down!
5. Wakey Wakey!
Set your alarm clock for an hour earlier than normal.
When the alarm goes off, get up. Don’t dress, bathe or eat. Don’t even make coffee. Just stagger to your writing space and write the first thing that comes into your head for five minutes.
6. Oh God – Not That!
Think of the most awful and embarrassing thing you’ve ever done - the more cringe-worthy the better. Now write about it. All of it, in all its gory, horrible detail.
Then hide it away for a year or so before you read it again!
7. Like Your Style, Baby.
Don’t limit yourself. Write poems, songs, dialogue, fact, fiction, even practice writing advertising copy or horoscopes.
Your expertise improves in all areas – an improvement in one area can reap benefits in another.
8. The Sincerest Flattery
Take out a classic book from your bookcase. Copy out a paragraph. Think about the words as you write them. Don’t get intimidated!
9. Wanna See My Invention?
When you’re not writing, string together stories in your mind. Think of plots, characters, settings, dénouements.
Ask yourself what you should do next to improve your writing.
Develop this technique into a habit.
10. It’s A Goal!
When you start writing regularly, set yourself small goals. Anything from 200 words a day, or just a commitment to writing in your diary.
Later extend to finishing a short story, or an article or a poem. Perhaps one in a week.
The trick is to set goals you can achieve easily.
That way you’ll get the writing habit - and you won’t forget to enjoy it!
(c) Rob Parnell
by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
Three years ago, I asked writers in a discussion list the things they do to unblock themselves. Here are some of the responses I received:
1. Forget what I'm working on at the moment, put on some
Springsteen and curl up with something written by
Hemingway. (Yeah, I know, it's a strange combination.)
2. Stand up, get a mug of hot chocolate and watch a rerun
of "The Simpsons." (Amit K.)
3. I do housework which eventually throws my imagination
back in gear because I hate housework. (Rita H.)
4. Go for a walk. I think about the piece I am working on
and play with scenes and even dialogue in my mind until
I come up with something that feels right. The exercise
and the fresh air usually start the creative juices
flowing again. (Char A.)
5. If it's something I've promised to do by a deadline, I
sit at the 'puter and write stream-of-consciousness
stuff until the real piece starts coming. This means:
I sit here and record everything that is happening at
the moment, like the cat walks in, the dog wants to go
out, a description of the clock or the calendar, a car
going down the road. I forgot to take my vitamins and,
oh, I better get some mayo for the salad. Just words,
any words at all. (Trudy S.)
6. I work in my flower or vegetable gardens. Getting really
close to the earth and nature helps to unclog my
thinking process. (Mary L.)
7. I take a bath while listening to music. This clears my
head of what I am writing. Music is a great way for me
to get in touch with my inspirational side. (Jamie R.)
8. The first thing I do is put on a chick flick. I love to
see girls having fun and getting the guys; plus it
reminds me of the wild times I have had with my best
friend. That always triggers my imagination. (Maggie G.)
9. I imagine a real person that I know, someone who is like
the people in my target audience. How would I explain
what I want to explain to her? My kids will tell you I
feel no shame in talking to myself. I just talk out
loud until I feel convincing, and then I scramble for a
piece of paper to capture my "brilliance" on. My first
attempt at brilliance is usually about as shiny as a
lump of coal--but it always has diamond potential.
10. Read something totally different from what I'm working
on -- even if it's the newspaper. Getting my mind on
something different helps dissolve that "block."
11. I look something up in one of the encyclopaedias and
try and write something similar of my own based on the
facts. (Clare L.)
12. As a newspaper reporter, I learned that writer's block
wasn't permitted on that job. No way I could tell my
editor I couldn't think of what to write...if I wanted
to meet my deadlines and keep my job. So I guess I can
say nowadays (I'm a freelancer, no longer a reporter)
that I don't have writer's block. However, I'm always
working on many writing projects...trying to keep many
balls in the air...and often go from one to the other.
If I had to work solely on one project from beginning to
end with no breaks, perhaps I'd find it more difficult.
So...to avoid writer's block, I'd say have many projects
going, so that if you get stuck on one, you have another
to go to. And take a walk when you really need a break
to "dust the cobwebs from your mind." (Mary Emma Allen)
Copyright 2003-2004 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
Shery is the creator of WriteSparks! - a software that
generates over 1,000,000 Story Sparkers for Writers.
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.”