Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Do The Hokey Pokey

I know you probably all know the song "The Hokey Pokey" but do you know how it can relate to writing a novel or short story? Today, I'm going to talk about the hokey pokey way to change things up in your story or to start a new tale. I hope it breeds some great ideas in your heads!

Put your right foot in:

Your right foot will represent your searching brain. Get your idea. I know ideas don't grow on trees, but they could if you let them. Read what other people write and let your brain run amok outside the box. You can take something as simple as a musing about a tree and turn it into a great story if you put that right foot into the circle. What I'm saying is, stick your foot into the rambling thoughts of someone (or even a news article), grab hold of a piece of what they're saying, and then move on to the next step.

Put your right foot out:

Take that bit out of the circle and put a fantastical spin on it. Think of how you would use one tiny piece of whatever you read and make it into a whole story.

Put your right foot in:

Yes, do it again. Read on. Go elsewhere and see if someone else inspires you to add a character or turn to that story.

Shake it all about:

You know what I'm talking about here. Give that story something to shake up the characters. Provide a problem for them to solve. A story is about a journey, after all, and there must be strife and conflict. This is where you make the big decision about the main issue.

Put your left foot in:

Your left foot is representing the organization of your ideas that your right foot picked up. Write them all down and scramble them around on the page. Create order out of chaos. Give your characters beliefs and personalities.

Put your left foot out:

Really look at your characters here. If someone isn't cutting the mustard, cut them. Every character has a reason for existing. If you don't think they're going to change your story or move it forward in a significant way, cut them now and make them nameless figureheads.

Put your left foot in:

Structure your story. Have an idea of where it's going from beginning to end. Make some decisions. Most people outline here. I write chapter headings and summarize each to use as a guide that I don't force myself to stick to. If the story takes a turn on its own, I let myself have creative freedom to change it on the fly.

Shake it all about:

If you hit that roadblock of boredom where the story is dragging we are all too familiar with, write down some things that could happen to your character that are bad. Put this information on little squares of index cards and toss them into a hat. Draw one out when you aren't feeling a push from the story. Shake it up.

When you've gotten this far, you're in the throes of writing. Let your characters loose to do what they want. You are simply a guide, problem solver, and creator of woes. Yes, in a lot of ways, you're like a God or Goddess. You shape someone's life.

I hope today's post made your brain start to desire reading. Monday's post had some great bloggers on it where I have gotten a lot of snips and ideas for stories. I used the above method by taking a discussion about a necklace from one post, someone musing about a graveyard from another, and a news article about a wedding proposal. I don't know if it'll work for a story but maybe with some twists and turns.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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