I’ve always had a penchant for creating. If I were to reorganize my room, I would probably find ideas for ten different games, five different stories, and a truckload of random ideas. Perhaps the idea I’ve invested the most in is the Realms Quintessential series, which recently found new life in writing challenges. As a two–time winner of National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org), I wanted to share some tips and tricks for handling your next creative block or speed writing challenge.
Create Your World: First off, name your planet. This is especially important in writing fantasy. Otherwise, the reader will assume the planet is Earth. Second, once your planet has a name, fill the planet. Give it landscapes, buildings, villages and governments. You can even draw inspiration from the real world around you. For example, In The Book of Earth, I based the Parthenon Protected Area that divides the Western and Eastern Earth Realms on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides North and South Korea.
Ask Questions: Naming characters is just one factor of telling a story. So much more can be written by asking more of the world in which the characters live and how those characters interact with one another. Ask questions about relationships, partnerships, business ventures. Each question you ask can be seen as writing prompts to help generate content.
Sticky Notes are Your Friends: This was (and still is) especially true when working on the Realms Quintessential series. Those questions and spur-of -the-moment ideas can be recorded on sticky notes. This is helpful when you are away from your computer. Even more convenient, you can stack your sticky notes into coherent storylines or answer-and-question series. I actually find this to be a fun game of sorts.
Anything Goes: This is perhaps the most important advice I have. Creative writing is exactly that: an opportunity to create. You have all the time you want to edit your work and line up your facts after the challenge is over. Even diamonds are rocks in the ground before they are cut and polished. The silliest of ideas may prove to be the best inspiration for your works, so go out there and find the diamonds first!
I hope this advice is helpful, and I wish you all the best of luck on your literary journeys!
K. Louis Johnson is a self-published author from Springfield, MA. His second novel, Realms Quintessential: The Book of Earth, will be released on August 1st, 2012. For more information, please visit the series blog at www.RealmsQE.com