Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Defy Expectations

To keep your writing interesting, don't always give the reader what they expect. For example: An apple a day keeps the lawyer away. - or - She was quiet as a chipmunk.

Defying the reader's expectations will keep them intrigued... as long as it's done in moderation.  The most adept author I can think of in this regard is Terry Pratchett.  He has a way of describing Discworld in general, and Ankh-Morpork in particular, that turns people's expectations of a world upside down and inside out.

At the same time, as bizarre as some of the descriptions of Discworld are, Pratchett conveys that - to the characters of his books - these are simply the normal state of things.  A world balanced on four elephants and a giant turtle?  Sure, why not?  In The Color of Magic, he even has a team of scientists examining the phenomenon, which lends it credibility.

Change the descriptions in the writing prompts below until you get something more interesting...

Writing Prompt: Expectations Unwoven

Prompt 1:  He was hungry as a horse.  After the day he'd just had, he could eat a...

Prompt 2: 'Pretty as a picture' didn't even begin to describe it.  If she had to explain it, she would say...

Have fun, and keep writing!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Missing Characters? Write Around Them

It's a NaNoWriMo time again (National Novel Writing Month -, and I didn't do enough research on my secondary characters.

Since NaNo is time-sensitive (50,000 words in 30 days), I'm ignoring the fact that most of my supporting characters haven't been named, described, or received their back stories yet.

Instead, I'll write the scenes that don't include them, and come up with one or two of these missing characters every day.  Later - probably after November is over - I can go back in and add these secondary characters.

See the writing prompt below to practice writing around something you haven't researched.

Writing Prompt: Write Around a Lack of Research

Your scene is set in a jet propulsion laboratory.  Unless you're a rocket scientist or engineer, chances are good that you have no idea what the technology in this lab would look like.  What tests are run?  What terminology should you use when referring to speeds and fuel mixes?  These are all good questions, but researching them right now will stop you from writing the conversations and conflicts between your characters. Breeze over the techno-babble for now, and add it back in after you've done the research.

Prompt:  I wasn't late getting into work.  I think our atomic clock was running fast at the jet propulsion lab.  That's my excuse, anyway, and I'm sticking with it...

Have fun, and keep writing!