Use Your Journal to Dramatically Improve Your Writing - The Easy Way
Your journal is a place where you put down your thoughts and ideas and this is a great way to keep the creativity flowing and to keep you writing on a regular basis. But thoughts and ideas are not the only things that go into writing fiction. Your fiction takes place in a world and it has people in it. In order for you to successfully communicate your story to your reader you have to create a world that is tangible and people that are believable. These aspects of writing are just like any other aspect in that they takes practice and your journal is the perfect place for you to practice. Here are some basic and easy exercises that will develop your skill as a writer through your journal writing.
Add Descriptive Writing to your Journal
Make a concerted attempt to describe things in your environment. This is a good practical exercise that will help you find your voice in your writing. Writing for an audience means being able to describe your created world to them accurately. You should practice this in your journal and it can be as simple as choosing any object and writing about it. Here are several different techniques for descriptive writing.
1. Describe things - This is an important skill because the description of things can enhance your story. And it makes use of one of the most important rules in writing: "Show don't tell" Here is an example of two sentences about a pencil:
The writer held a yellow pencil in his hand.
The faded yellow pencil the writer held in his hand was pockmarked with dozens of bite marks, and its eraser was worn right down to the metal band.
In the first sentence the reader understand the situation. But in the second sentence the reader gets an insight into the writer. This is much better than telling your reader that the writer in the story is a nervous type that frequently erases his work and is prone to biting his pencil.
2. Describe Environments
3. Describe people
Add Dialogue to Your Journal
Another skill that you should develop in your writing is the art of dialogue. What your characters say and how they say it can either enhance a story or confuse it. You should practice writing lots of dialogue. Here are some good techniques for incorporating this painlessly into your journal.
1. You should first practice writing dialogues that you have overheard.
Do this from memory. What did each person say? And what were the responses
and counter responses.
Blend Dialogue and Description Together
Remember that the greatest thing a writer has to offer is his ability to observe and then to think about his observations and communicate those thoughts. But the first thing you have to do is observe. Don't just use your journal as a way to put down your thoughts and ideas.
How should you integrate these new techniques into your journal writing?
Don't change your current habit of journal writing. When you take out your journal write in it the same way you always have. Let your thoughts and ideas flow. But, when you feel that you are done with your journal writing for the day go a little bit further and append one of these techniques to it. Add a paragraph describing something or someone or add a paragraph of created conversation. This will add a little bit of time to your journal writing but it will help you quickly develop some new skills as a writer.
On Writing - Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King's On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists. The memoir is terrific stuff, a vivid description of how a writer grew out of a misbehaving kid. You're right there with the young author as he's tormented by poison ivy, gas-passing babysitters, uptight schoolmarms, and a laundry job nastier than Jack London's. It's a ripping yarn that casts a sharp light on his fiction. This was a child who dug Yvette Vickers from Attack of the Giant Leeches , not Sandra Dee. "I wanted monsters that ate whole cities, radioactive corpses that came out of the ocean and ate surfers, and girls in black bras who looked like trailer trash." But massive reading on all literary levels was a craving just as crucial, and soon King was the published author of "I Was a Teen-Age Graverobber." As a young adult raising a family in a trailer, King started a story inspired by his stint as a janitor cleaning a high-school girls locker room. He crumpled it up, but his writer wife retrieved it from the trash, and using her advice about the girl milieu and his own memories of two reviled teenage classmates who died young, he came up with Carrie . King gives us lots of revelations about his life and work. The kidnapper character in Misery , the mind-possessing monsters in The Tommyknockers , and the haunting of the blocked writer in The Shining symbolized his cocaine and booze addiction (overcome thanks to his wife's intervention, which he describes). "There's one novel, Cujo , that I barely remember writing."
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