- Go for a walk
- This is the age of the word processor, you don’t have to write your story in a linear fashion. Write a later section, one that interests you.
- Always have two or three things on the go at once of different lengths. If you don’t feel like working on the novel, have a go at the short story. Don’t feel like fiction? Work on non-fiction
- Stop trying to get it right. Just follow a character and see where s/he goes. You don’t have to use everything you write.
- Change things around. What if a character was the opposite sex? What if they were younger/older?
- Still can’t write? Then take a break. If you’re not enjoying writing your story, then it’s unlikely that anyone’s going to enjoy reading it.
- Remember, the reader isn’t stupid; you don’t have to explain everything. They’ll probably understand what you’re getting at.
- Describe effects, not causes: she shivered not she was cold
- Unless you happen to be a Victorian novelist, there’s no need to describe everything in a scene.
- Writing about how characters react is often better than simply stating. The smell of the eggs made him feel sick is better than He didn’t like eggs
- If you don’t know the meaning of pragmatics, Google it. Now use that when writing conversations.
- Finally, don’t tie yourself in knots. Sometimes it’s okay just to tell.
- Giving a character a colourful hat or a stammer does not make them into a character. It may fix them in the reader’s mind, which can be a good thing, but it won’t give them a character
- Don’t be arbitrary. Some people construct characters by putting together a list of contradictions. You end up with a character that is original, but it won’t seem authentic.
- Don’t fall into the trap of trying to capture every passing character in detail. Focus on what’s interesting.
- Some people accuse others of the faults they see in themselves. Do your characters do that?
- Characters come alive in their interactions with other characters. Does one character irritate another, annoy them, make them laugh, make them jealous… ?
- Even better: what do your characters think of each other? How do your characters talk about other characters currently off page?