Diving into creativity: Writing advice from a writer

Photo by Charles Jeffrey Danoff Used uner Creative Commons License
Photo by Charles Jeffrey Danoff
Used uner Creative Commons License

Summer Howard, Staff Writer

   Have you ever found yourself wanting to write a story but have no idea how to start? As an author, I want to assure you that you are not alone. I have found myself staring at that blinking cursor more times than I can remember. Here are some suggestions on how to get those creative juices flowing and fashion a marvelous masterpiece.

   If you want to write a story, think of your favorite ones! Using themes that are in other books, after all, is inevitable considering the fact that millions of books have been written since the beginning of civilization. As long as you don’t have the exact same storyline as another author’s work, borrowing a theme from your favorite novel can help you create a unique plot of your own. Movies, television shows and even song lyrics can be a source of inspiration as well. Whatever elements capture your attention in storytelling can be made your own with a little bit of creativity.

   To unblock the creative mind, sometimes all you need is to practice writing. Ask a friend or family member to give you a topic to write about, or if you don’t have anybody around, pick the first topic that comes to mind and go with it. Write for five to ten minutes on that topic. During this short amount of time, you might discover that this topic is the inspiration you need for a story, or writing about this topic might lead you to the idea you were looking for all along. If you find yourself frustrated at the end of ten minutes, take a break and start the process again. Do this as many times as you feel is necessary.

   Once you have found a topic or a theme, you can develop the plot. Don’t worry about the specific details yet; that comes later. Focus on the points you want to start and end with in your story, and then try to fill in what you think should happen in between. Plotlines can shift; don’t feel as if it is necessary to stick rigidly to your original idea. Develop the plot that creates the most exciting and imaginative thoughts for you. If you have thousands of ideas swimming around in your head about it, you’ve probably found the plot you want to write about.

   At last, it’s time to form your characters. Sometimes the best way to start shaping your characters is to give them names and physical features before you deal with their personality. If you are using first person point of view, which involves the use of the pronoun “I,” you can either introduce the character by having them say their name and what they look like, or allow your readers to learn bits and pieces of their physical features along with their personality traits as the story progresses.

   The main aspect to remember when dealing with character development is to make certain your characters “grow” somehow throughout the plot. “Growing” your characters means to have them change by the end of the story, whether that is causing them to mature or deteriorate because of the events you create. By making your characters change, you establish their humanity, with which your readers will be able to relate to.

   Remember, these are just suggestions. Everybody has a different style of writing and this difference means that everybody creates stories in their own way. In the creative writing world, the only rule is to follow your imagination. Now that you know where to start, don’t be afraid to dive into the realm of creativity.