Whether you are writing a lot about a variety of things or you haven’t picked up a pen in ages, sometimes it’s difficult for your brain to come up with what to write next. Some may refer to this as writer’s block. I prefer to think of it as creative block
The answer to this is to brainstorm. Pick any topic, place, phrase, thing, season, time and start brainstorming. That is, write everything that springs to mind relating to that one particular thing and that should give you ideas for plot, characters, setting and scenery.
For example, if I choose a hot summer’s day, I have already got the weather, the season, as well as the fact it’s daytime. I could also have any of the following:
- Children playing
- Man saved a boy
- Long lost son but didn’t know it
- Became friends with boy
- Lifeguards sacked after ignoring warning signs
- Media attention
- Boy dies in car crash
- Organ donor
I could go on and on, you see how one idea can lead to another and indeed I went away from the initial thought and my story began to take shape. I didn’t pre-empt that, I just let it flow.
So when you are feeling a bit down, get pen and paper and just go with the flow, it’s amazing what you can come up with and if you are still not happy because you cannot see the bigger picture from your ideas that have been flowing, store them up to be used at a later date. A good place to store them, is in a notepad that you will refer to over again or on index cards, that way you can mix and match them.
Good luck with the writing and let me know how you get on.
Today’s post is in response to a comment from hutchagoodlife. To find out how you can research what your reader is wanting to read.
I recently wrote a non-fiction book proposal about redundancy and this involved a lot of research. This is what I did and what I would advise you to do, in order to increase your chances of giving the reader what they want and of getting published.
- Google your subject – paying attention to the top 5 websites and browse them thoroughly
- Use Google Keyword search tools for finding out what words and combinations of words are most searched for
- Search the web in general for your subject matter and note and explore your results
- Read as many books as possible, written by other authors on the subject/genre for which you want to write
- Read books by the publisher/s you are going to submit your work to, to see what’s been done before
- Look through magazines/newspapers, watch TV programmes on your subject
- Devise a market research survey or questionnaire and find a suitable place to action it – then ensure you do take action by noting the results
- Join social networking forums relevant to your subject and find out what everyone is talking about – A good one for me is LinkedIn
- Go to your local bookstores and ask them for a print out on books that you can buy relevant to your subject, if there is a lot, choose between 5 -10. – Different bookstores will have some different titles that you can potentially buy but there will always be crossovers, which is when you can start to see patterns emerging of the most popular titles that you need to study
- Go to visit your local library and look at books similar to or the same as your subject – Pay attention to how many times each book has been taken out – That way you can compare the most popular titles with the most unpopular ones and analyse why you believe they are better
The amount of time you spend doing each of the above, will most likely be different for a fiction book to a non-fiction book and although all are relevant, you may find that some work better for you than others, depending on what it is that you want to write about.
Whatever you are writing about, ensure you put a different slant on it, to what has been done before. Stay positive, stay focused and believe in your-self.
If you want any more help, please let me know.
Welcome to your A-Z of writing.
Over the coming weeks, I will be going through the A-Z of writing, giving hints, tips, information and advice on writing. Each post will start with a new alphabet letter, in sequence. I have just completed a Level 4 IAG Diploma. (Information, Advice and Guidance.) So lets see if I can put into practice, what I have learnt.
A is for appreciation of your reader. If it wasn’t for them, your audience, you would not be able to light up their life with your creative genius.
It is very important to:
- Research what your reader wants
- Add value to your reader’s life
- Not patronise your readers
- Attend book signings
- Give talks
- Interact with your readers as much as possible
- Reply to your reader’s tweets and messages
- Be grateful you are doing what you love
- Show appreciation to each reader at every available opportunity
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post, it is much appreciated.