Actions lead to reactions

The way your characters react is the way we get to know them. Write a scene in which your characters are forced to react.

Thought or emotion crosses the line into plot when it becomes action and causes reactions. Until then, attitudes, however interesting in themselves, are just potential, just cloudy possibilities.

This is not necessarily purely physical action. It could be a look, stance, grimace or gesture – any physical manifestation of attitude or personality. Sometimes even the failure to act tells us more about character than an overt action.

Each day take one photograph

Each day take one photograph. Something around the house or outside. An observation. Something interesting. Something consequential. Something considered. Something no-one else has noticed.

Then place this photograph in a folder on your laptop. I would suggest against sharing this on a social media account. Not everything in your life is public. Some things are just yours. Soon you will have a folder full of unusual and insightful observations.

The Question Flashlight

Use questions to build your stories. Sit back, put the keyboard aside, or the pen down, and let your mind wander. What things do you want to know? Allow yourself to think up questions.

List these questions in your notebook and then put it away and go make yourself a cup of tea (you know by this that I am a Londoner). Later, return to your notebook. What are the answers? Fill the book with your answers and watch your story grow.

Writing Rituals

Writing rituals are great for wasting time. “No, I can’t possibly start today until I’ve got my special mug/pen/brand-new fun-fur-covered notebook/vest.”

Most writers use a word-processor; most would love to have rituals but are already two weeks past a deadline. Most writers who write for a living get up in the morning (albeit grumbling) and write.