If you've ever been part of an office, faculty, or team, you've participated in energizers. These are quick activities that motivate or bond members of group. Funny thing is, many of them can be used to help you build your characters.
Consider: Two Truths and a Lie.
In this activity, members write down three facts about themselves. One is a lie. During the course of a meeting, day, or term, members get to know each other. After time, they might be able to pick out each other's lies. It's also a way to bond. You learn about things you have in common, or you learn things you simply didn't know about each other.
In your story, you can play this with your characters. Every character has a lie he believes about himself.
I'm incapable of love.
I am not a good friend.
I am perfect.
I cause trouble wherever I go.
As you develop your characters, think about what are the truths and what are the lies. Give life to each. See where they take the story and character. Who believes the lies? Who can't believe the truths? This will help develop other characters.
Know your characters before the story begins. What kind of lies would this type of person need to believe in order for the plot to develop the way you want it to? This helps build a real arc that develops naturally alongside the plot.
Study other novels. What lies did your favorite characters believe until they learned their lesson? FIGHT CLUB is probably one of the best stories where a character carries his lie deep into the story.
Share your thoughts. What are you working on now, and what lie does your character believe?
routines and rituals in writing
Every writer has a different routine or ritual that motivates her or keeps her in the zone. I didn't think I had one, but after closer scrutiny, I realized I do. Of course, I do. You do, too.
The question remains: is your routine working?
If you consider the following six categories, you will discover your routines. You might notice an area that needs help.
After I completed this blog, I realized that I'm not as consistent about taking breaks. Now, I set a timer to go off hourly. If it goes off, I haven't taken a break.
Here are my routines.
1. Quiet--I need minimal activity going on around me. That means I get up early and write before the household awakes.
2. Light--I've noticed that I work best near a window. Natural light activates my creative brain cells.
3. Background--I need music playing while I write. The music or sounds that sit in the background vary. It depends on what I'm doing: planning, writing, editing, re-working a scene, etc. The music must be instrumental
4. Tools--I know many writers prefer longhand; if the pen doesn't touch paper, they can't access their creative juices. For me, I need my Mac, Scrivener, and access to Internet for quick research. When I'm not seated at my desk, I write ideas and research in a variety of notebooks or tap them into Notes in my cell phone.
5. Nourishment--Water, coffee, fruit, nuts, chocolate. I keep all of this nearby. I don't eat while I'm writing, but when I need a brain break, I get up for a nibble. I don't drink too much coffee because it makes my mind work too fast. I need a slow methodic mind to write.
6. Scheduled breaks--Besides walking to the kitchen for snacks, I might walk around the block or stand on the porch for some sun. I get up at least once an hour. The outdoor breaks do wonders when I'm stuck or feeling lethargic.
I would love to hear your creative routines that help produce juicy good work. Please share them below.
With summer winding down, so go my writing routines. No more waking at a reasonable 7 or 8 AM, brewing coffee, and settling into four or five hours of writing. No more lounging in the sun and working my way through my Goodreads' list. No more taking breaks to check Twitter or stalk agent MSWLs.
The school bell is ringing, and it rings for me.
Beginning tomorrow, I need to transition to my school year writing schedule. That basically consists of: writing in the afternoon or early evening if the kids haven't melted my brain; getting up a few days at 5:30AM to write for an hour; getting up at 7 on the weekends to write until I can't. I've been known to write from 7AM until midnight when I really have my groove on.
Of course, we can't schedule creativity.
Here's are six things I might do during my writing time.
This summer, I rediscovered another great way to make the most of my precious time. I gave myself homework and deadlines. I said, if I want to read five books, I need to read thirty pages a day. Fortunately, I don't cringe at this kind of homework. I love to read, and this way, I had a goal. I finished my five books. (Read my reviews here.)
This also freed up more writing time, and it gave me more inspiration for my writing. Reading before writing is like doing stretches before a run. It makes the run easier and more fun.
What do you do to make the most of your precious writing time? Please share below.