Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Be on the Lookout!

As a writer, I'm always on the lookout for new story ideas. Sometimes, few come. Other times, there are so many, I don't know where to begin. I'll definitely take too many instead of too little, but it's hard to know which one is the best. You may get the advice to write about the idea you can't stop thinking about, the one that keeps you up at night. That's certainly awesome advice! But what if more than one does this? What if you start writing and then realize the story that you thought was THE ONE is not really? It would be great to avoid that disappointment, right?

In addition to writing, I teach language arts. Recently, we did an exercise to teach persuasive writing. The students had to fold their paper in half and write down the pros and cons about a topic. Before they made their lists, most had already chosen a side. After the lists, they realized the side they wanted would not make the best writing piece because there weren't enough arguments to support it. This got me to thinking about fiction writing.

Sometimes the stories we really want to write seem amazing in our heads, but once we put them down on paper look less than stellar. Sometimes we get bummed when that happens and feel like we've wasted our time. BUT, if we wrote only a page or two or even a few paragraphs of a few of our ideas, time might be saved in the long run.

So the next time you have a few ideas just dying to break free from your imagination, pick the two that are screaming the most. Write a few paragraphs of each. Chances are one will flow better than the other. THAT'S the story to write. And what if both sing? That's not a bad problem to have. File the paragraphs away for another day or when you need a break from story one.

Happy writing!


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