Today, take a sheet of paper and a pen to a comfortable spot: the table, your desk, a lawn chair, anywhere.
Then spend FIVE minutes writing free fall.
This means ANYTHING that comes up in your head. Just write for the sake of writing. Don’t try to think of a character, or a setting, or a description. Just write what comes to mind. Even if it is “I don’t know what the heck I’m writing…”
Free fall writing helps to clear your mind, helps to bring new ideas to light. It will make writing easier than when you always try to write with a clear idea in mind. It is even used as therapy. Google ‘free fall writing’ and you will find many websites and books devoted to the topic.
If you like it, do it again tomorrow. Just five minutes.
After a few days, make it ten minutes. Pretty soon, your free fall writing might take a shape, show you a pattern. But don’t look for it soon.
Just write. Anything that comes to mind, without taking your pen off the paper!
Use dialogue to create a believable character.
An adult sounds different from a four year old. A teen speaks different from a senior. And a trucker may sound different from a lady selling yarns. Select one of the following dialogue exercises, or do them all!
• Write a page of dialogue between a man working in the hardware store and an elderly lady who comes in looking for a tool.
• Write a page of dialogue between a pilot and air traffic control. Make it exciting.
• Write a page of dialogue between six year old Anna and her friend Michael. They are in the backyard. Show me, through their dialogue, what is happening.
Which children’s books have great dialogue? Read a Clementine book, and a book by Wendy Maas.
Show, don’t tell. Here’s a writing activity to help you do that in a children’s story:
• Don’t tell me that Nathan is angry. Show me.
• Don’t say “Madeleine is sad.” Show me.
• Justin is supposed to be sleeping but he is afraid. Show me why and how he feels.