When storytelling doesn’t come easy …
Last week I opened a folder with some writing I’d done …. Back in 2014! I had no idea it had been so long. The writing was for a story that was nagging at me to be written. At the time I wrote what I could and I got lost. I had no clue where to take the characters or what the point was anymore. (This was my first real attempt at storytelling – and my writing skills are definitely lacking). I discovered that this sort of writing is not an easy thing for me to do. So, I abandoned the project at the time.
Since then this story would pop back into my mind periodically. I’d think of where it could go next and ways to transition between scenes. Not once did I write any of those bright ideas down. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get back to the project. I suppose I’m not much different from most writers in thinking that I’m not good enough to write the story … or something like that.
Last week, as I was surfing for something else in my Scrap folder, I found the 6 chapters I had written. Usually I’d just ignore that file but this time, it called to me “Psst … open me.” Well, I had a few minutes to spare so I did open it. And I started to read. And … I really like this story! The whole premise of it intrigues me. It tugged on my creative curiosity once more. “Psst … write me.”
Two things I know for sure after opening up that file again are:
- The story still wants to be written.
- I’m currently not skilled enough to write it.
I immediately started thinking of ways to expand my writing skills without taking months or years in a writing class.
Clearly, I have to get my head thinking more creatively which usually means seeing things from other perspectives. In the case of my story, it would be the perspective of my characters. Within minutes I had writing prompts flowing through my mind. There were prompts to describe settings, write dialogue, see things from other points of view and to write humor.
Would you believe that writing humor is one of my biggest challenges? Shocking…I know! I can speak humor easily but writing it always seems stiff and loses its … well … funny.
Here are 3 of the 21 Writing Prompts I’ve come up with to build my skills for storytelling.
- Describe a sunset as seen by an elderly woman.
- Write a family dinner scene.
- Think of the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you. Now write it as if you are telling your aunt about it years later.
The way I’m using these prompts is simply to exercise my writing muscles. I don’t plan on sharing or editing these … unless the stories become particularly interesting and beg to be built upon.
Another thing I’ve explored to expand my skills is to create a small creative writing group. This came from many of the books I’ve been reading about creativity and the craft of writing. I put an ad in a local swap group on Facebook. The assembly of the writing group is still in progress but I’m looking forward to creating a group to support and challenge each other in such a focused way.
To play with more of my writing prompts click here. I’d love to hear about your experience with them! Were they helpful? Was there one that sparked a creative idea for you? How did you use these writing prompts? Would you like to see more? Yes I know I ask a lot of questions … I am a curious person!
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