A change of scene will do you good! Get those creative juices flowing by venturing out of your office or house and find a new place to write. The new smells, sounds, sights, and feel will push you to expand your imagination and explore new ideas.
People are fascinating creatures. Their quirks, mannerisms, and perceptions are great resources when it comes to creating new characters. Grab your notepad or computer and venture out to a busy location and just watch how people interact. You’ll be surprised by how many qualities you find for your characters.
When you find yourself struggling to write, just write. Sounds funny, but just sitting and letting words, any words, flow from your pen will get your mind moving and hopefully help to break through any blockages you may be having. Plus, you never know what ideas you have hidden at the back of your mind!
Find your voice
Figure out what you’re most passionate about. It’s harder to write about a subject that you have no interest in compared to something that holds great meaning to you. Readers can tell when you are furiously passionate about a subject and will become as enthralled in it as you are if you share!
Step outside of your comfort zone
Are you used to writing from a female’s perspective? Do you always use the same words and style? Expand your comfort zone and push yourself to try new things and adventure into new realms. Reach new heights, break the limits!
Give your character motivation that helps to drive the story. Perhaps create a backstory that influences the actions of your character and helps to explain why they are on the mission that they are on. Figure out what their beliefs are, morals, how they think and why they were placed on the journey they are on.
Make your characters human
Be sure to paint a clear picture for the reader of who the character is. Include what they look like, why they are who they are, who or what made them the way they are. Try using character flaws, strengths, fails and achievements to make them more realistic. The better picture that you paint for your readers to see, the more they will be able to picture the character as a real, living breathing person and form a connection.
Create a journey for your character
As your story progresses, your character should develop, grow, take steps backward and change. Don’t just describe who they are in the beginning and have them remain the same. Like real people, your characters need to progress towards a general outcome.
Characters shouldn’t be two-dimensional beings. Try having your characters play off each other, encounter different issues and explore their surroundings. You want your characters to be three dimensional in the sense that they take up space and flush out the storyline, events, and plot.
Humans are complex beings so don’t try to pigeonhole characters or force them to be “normal”. Yes, we all have qualities that are similar, but we also have major qualities that make us different. More readers will connect with your characters if they find unique qualities that are relatable to themselves.
It may sound a little crazy, but sometimes when I’m out on a trail I close my eyes for as many steps as I feel brave enough to take to heighten the 4 remaining senses that naturally get diluted by the 5th. For me, my purpose for hiking is not only to get exercise that both my dog and I need, but to simply take notice. To notice the things I hadn’t, before now, seen or paid attention to, the natural things in nature. By taking in the smells, the sounds, the feeling, I inch towards a mindset that keeps me in the present moment. I like to think of each hike as a walking meditation, a time to just let go and feel. Interestingly, in the brief moments that I have walked with my eyes closed, I have indeed noticed some interesting things. One is that in the summer time, the leaves of different trees make different sounds in the wind and that these are less obvious in the fall when they all begin their decline. While this may not sound like the most intriguing of discoveries, I can say that for me, it deepened my connection with nature and most certainly contributed to my goal of keeping my mind in the present. I have also discovered a much broader variety of birdsongs on these walks and that some of the less appealing “songs” didn’t belong to birds at all. Who would have known that frogs can sound like birds too? Without my sight, my breath sounds get amplified and my stride significantly slows. Breathing in the smell of fresh cut grass fills my nose, the wind teaches me about things I thought I knew, the sun warms on the back of my dark shirt. I no longer take my steps for granted, in that moment I feel accomplished.
Don Blaney – Retired publisher and karate instructor.
Steve Byfield- Former event manager and researcher who’s been practising wado ryu karate for 50 years, and still trains daily.
Ralph Robb- Writer. Karate fighter. Husband. Father.