If you’ve read a few of my posts, you may have noticed that my writing style can be a bit quirky. It hasn’t always been this way; at one point in my life, I wrote very seriously.
When I first decided to write for publication, I researched a topic dear to my heart, stained glass. While not an authority on the subject, I knew a whole lot by the time I wrote up a 2,000-word article on it. Mind you, no one asked me to write it; I just knew that it would appeal to masses of people—how could it not?
I showed the article to my daughter before sending it out. About half way through the first page, she was already laughing uncontrollably. Now, if I’d intended it as a humor piece, I would have considered that a compliment. But I knew perfectly well that there was nothing funny about stained glass–at least not in that article.
She read the whole thing before giving me one of those hugs. You know, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve done something really bad but your daughter loves you anyway.
“OMG, Mom. This is the most boring thing I’ve ever read.”
She may not be a literary critic, and at age 16 her taste was somewhat pedestrian, but my daughter knows how to tell a story, and she can recognize boring in a heartbeat. So I began studying how to write more creatively. Though some people may think I went to the opposite extreme, my efforts paid off.
I never sent out that article on stained glass, but I’ve sold several nonfiction pieces written in an informal, personal style. This type of writing is called creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, or new journalism. I made a post about Creative Nonfiction on March 12, 2009.
Whether you write nonfiction, short stories, or novels, there are ways to hone your technique to make it more interesting to readers. Sometimes, though, getting a creative idea is just as hard as writing creatively. That’s where I’m struggling the most with my fiction; what do I write about? Sometimes my ideas seem brilliant, but end up going nowhere. Other times I plod along with a so-so plot and characters that sound shallow and dull. I have yet to devise a plot that flows, full of characters that jump off the page. I’m still working on it.
I found a few links with creative writing tips I think are helpful for short stories and getting ideas. If you’re interested, take a look after you finish reading my blog:
How do you come up with interesting story ideas? Any tips on how to develop an exciting plot or character?