There’s no reason to say you’re stuck!

I’m always surprised when writers (of all levels) complain about being stuck with writer’s block. How is this possible?

Sure, I get bogged down thinking while I write- how do I best approach this conflict, what should my character say in this situation, etc. but I rarely- if ever- have nothing at all to write. Am I lucky? Lying? Or just plain old full of great ideas all the time?

I’d say it’s more accurate that I try to keep my eyes on the prize and remind myself that the process of writing is kind of like a roller coaster– there are highs and lows and sometimes it goes fast and other times, well, it drags a bit.

A good thing to remember is that with the internet we have a lot of inspiration at our fingertips. Whether it’s pictures, music, or lists of writing prompts, there really is no excuse for not writing.

Today’s inspiration comes in the form of a list of prompts to stimulate those creative juices. Now, get writing!!

365 Creative Writing Prompts

Casting your story

Character is the cornerstone of any story. For me, casting my character list is a huge part of the writing and character creation process. To do so effectively means I’ll have more inspiration than I can sometimes handle when I’m writing, but this is a great way to stave off writer’s block.

So, how do you effectively cast your script? I’ll share a few tips:

Online searches

Everything from generalized descriptions like ‘blond female model’ or ‘middle-aged male athlete’ to something more specific like the name of a celebrity, model, sports figure or politician.

These searches can prove to be fruitful and may even inspire new characters or descriptions.

Magazines

It’s worth starting a file for pictures found in magazines, newspapers, or through other sources. You may need this file for inspiration later when you’re writing.

Keeping separate files for male or female leads might be wise, but I honestly just throw them all into one file and deal with them later when I’m ready to actually cast a specific piece.

Movies/ television/ news/ music industry

Any of these can offer great options for casting your characters. Surprisingly, it doesn’t limit my writing when I do this. Even if you’re a big fan of an actor or musician’s work for instance, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see them in the role you’re casting them in. It might even mean you are more capable of doing so because you’re familiar with their work and quirks.

And further…

You don’t need to narrow it down to the ‘one’ for each role. I often create a document where I cut and paste different pictures for the moods of each character and the situations in which they might find themselves. While I may imagine one person or picture more than the others when writing, all tend to be valuable to my process.

Think outside the box when it comes to ‘casting’ your story. There’s no need to limit yourself to only searching celebrities or even well-known entities. Any picture can be a help when writing. There isn’t a right/ wrong answer here. Whatever inspires you is what you need to write.

Go for it! Cast your story now!

Happy writing!

What if…? The writer’s perfect question

The question to end all questions- what if…? It is a writer’s treasure trove. It is how I began writing one of my recent screenplays.

I should have been paying attention the sermon in church and instead I was looking at the back of this woman in front of me and wondering if she would find love or if men would only see her as the wheelchair she sat in. My ‘what if’ question was ‘what if a woman in a wheelchair met the man least likely to see her as anything but the wheelchair?’

And thus became the start of a story that wouldn’t leave me for years. The woman became Daisy Parker, the man, Robby Grant, the screenplay, and then novel—Picking Daisy.

So how do you construct a great ‘what if’ question that will lead to a novel, screenplay, short story, or other work? In my case it boils down to a few key elements:

  • Curiosity- as writers we should be curious people. Asking ‘what if’ almost all the time about the people and things around us will provide no end of inspiration for writing
  • Engagement- although there will be times, of course, when we can’t just be thinking ‘what if…?’ otherwise, we’d get nothing done. That said, engaging with and paying attention to the world around us is essential to the successful and constant creation of ‘what if’ questions. In other, more direct words, pay attention
  • Creativity- the ‘what if’ question needn’t end after only one has been posed. Don’t hesitate to ask more than one of them until the right one that sparks your creativity strikes. Additionally, don’t let the more direct, easy answer to the ‘what if/\’ question be the only idea you embrace. Test drive a few until you find the one that fits your writing situation.
  • Answers- Answering the ‘what if’ question can be the most fun you’ll have with this experience. Once the right ‘what if’ question is formed, the real creativity begins. Your characters and scenarios will develop more easily and you’ll have fun experimenting with the many options available as answers to your questions.

The benefits of the ‘what if’ question can’t be overstated. Not only will it spark your creativity, it will also help you avoid that terrible problem of writer’s block.

So go ahead and try it. Take a look around you and ask ‘what if’ and see what happens. Comment below with any intriguing insights from your ‘what if’ experience.

Happy writing!sunset