You’re a newbie novelist. Although you have lots of ideas, you’re uncertain about shaping those ideas into a book. When you try to write down what’s in your head, your words seem flat.
Alternatively, you’ve written many novel beginnings, then run out of steam. You don’t know why you lose inspiration — you fear that you’re not meant to be a novelist.
Newbie novelist: forget the words — imagine
When you’re new to writing fiction, you focus on the words. That’s understandable: you’re “writing”. You’re self-conscious and tense. It can take years to get over that feeling, and improve your fiction, if you’re not aware of what’s happening.
Here’s the best advice anyone can give you — and I wish that someone had shared it with me. It would have eliminated years of self-doubt and misery… Forget the words, focus ONLY on your imagination. Get what’s in your imagination, and what you’re feeling, onto the page/ computer screen.
Any words will do. You can tinker with the words later, if your grammar’s shaky — but don’t try to pretty up the words and “write.” You’re a storyteller, so tell stories.
Three tips to ignite your imagination
Waiting for your imagination to ignite, and nothing happens? 🙂
Over the years, many adults lose the imagination they had as children. Everyday life takes over. Give yourself permission to play with characters and stories.
These tips may help.
1. Your imagination doesn’t take orders, relax and day dream
Imagining your stories is similar to dreaming. As with your night dreams, you can’t order your subconscious to deliver the day dreams you want on cue.
Stress kills your imagination. Some authors rely on alcohol or mind altering substances so that they can relax. Avoid these dangerous crutches. Instead, try playing music, or take long baths in a candle-lit bathroom.
Over time, you’ll be able to switch on your imagination as if you’re switching on a light, but this ability takes time to develop.
2. Where’s the feeling? Go with the emotion
Stories which excite readers need to excite you first. Although your imagination won’t take orders from you, it will take them from your emotions.
Try thinking something like… “Now, Bethany tip-toes into the room, she’s uncertain about what she’ll find there. She’s angry with Thomas. We want something surprising, and a little creepy…”
Feel those emotions — the character’s anger. Then feel surprised — and so on. Your imagination will deliver.
Yes, I know, this seems weird. However, your creative self is your illogical self; it’s separate from your rational, everyday consciousness. Try this exercise.
3. Surprise yourself: boredom is deadly
When you’re writing, you’re focused on getting the writing session done. You have a deadline (even if it’s one you set), so you want to write that day’s words, and get on with the next project on your agenda.
This morning I wrote a scene in my current historical mystery, and realized that I was bored. Oops…
Watch your own emotions. Treat boredom as a big RED flashing warning sign, and STOP. Initially, this is hard to do because you make excuses for your boredom, like: “I’m not in the mood to write today,” or “of course I’m stressed, because…” Yada, yada… You’re bored because you’ve switched off your imagination.
I went back to my process and rewrote the scene.
Keep writing, and imagining
Onward. Keep writing. Before you know it, your imagination will become your partner. Writing novels will be fun for you.
Serial Fiction Bonanza returns…
We’re thrilled that Serial Fiction Bonanza is available again. If serial fiction intrigues you, it’s a good investment in your writing.
Learn more here, and enroll now; you’ll download the entire class immediately, and you’ll work at your own pace.
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