Monthly Archives: February 2013

Birthdays

Birthdays are a good day for self-reflection. You have lived through another year and there have been great memories made during that time. And perhaps there will be a few thoughts about what you want to accomplish this year. But what does all this have to do with writing?

Everything. This is where you get the best ideas for your writing over the next year. Also if you wish to write down in a journal all the events of the previous year so that you remember them should you ever want to write a memoir, this is a good time.

But self-reflection is also good for poetry. I am a novelist with the occasional short story idea, but on very rare occasions a poem with come out. Usually in the form of a limerick, because they are the greatest form of poetry. There will never be a book of my poetry published, but poetry does help focus the self-reflection into something meaningful and useful.

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Ninjas

So, you’re stuck on the story you are writing. You’ve read back through the story, created character sketches, outlined where you want to go, and tried to force yourself to keep writing. None of it seems to be working at getting you unstuck. You ask someone else for help and you are told that writer’s block doesn’t really exist. What do you do now?

I have a suggestion. Add ninjas. For those of you who just said awesome, you know how this works and you can go back to writing. For those of you who said “Ninjas?” I’ll explain.

If you drop ninjas into your scene then your characters have to react to them. If you characters react you have something to write about. Once the ninjas are dealt with you can move on with the story. And the best part is you can edit them out later. Or you can keep them in if you like how it turned out.

You don’t have to use ninjas if you really don’t want to. Have a gunshot go off. Have someone break down the door. Have the man character kidnapped. Have the TV turn on and tell the characters what to do next. The point is to add in something that will force your characters to react and thus get on with the story.