Get feedback!

It is commonplace for new writers to be protective of their work. And there’s nothing wrong with that… except that it robs a writer of opportunities to improve their craft and story.

Feedback from peers and mentors is invaluable, especially in the early stages of your writing career.

When you open your work up to others you trust and admire, others with knowledge and experience in the craft, you put their expertise to work for you. Now, that’s priceless!

Some simple ways to get feedback include:

a. finding a mentor

b. finding a critique partner (or partners)

c. joining a writing group

d. sharing free content on your blog or social media (though I would only recommend this to those with a thick hide).

The honest truth is, getting feedback can be brutal sometimes… but the key is to pick out the useful, constructive advice, and run with it. In the end, it’s all about your success.

Character Entrance 5: Setting

This method of character intro is not so much about the character as it is about the setting. However, by dwelling on the setting, you shade the sketch of the character in the reader’s mind. The fascinating result you will accomplish through this intentional shading is that your character shines with a sense of familiarity later when he takes over as the subject of your story.


In a nutshell, this method does not explore the character’s physical description or thoughts or much of his actions. Yet, by focussing on the setting (place and time), your reader could reasonably guess the character’s appearance and personality. The exciting thing about this method is that it’s satisfying when readers discover they were right about who they thought your character was or would become.


The fantastic beauty of this character intro method lies in its ability to multitask between setting description and character intro. This is an excellent example of killing two birds with one stone.


What do you think about this writing key? Please tell us in the comments. Remember to keep a date with us next Monday for more keys to improve your storytelling skill.

Beginning With “Why?”

As a way to begin a story, “Why” is best applied if the priority of your story idea is about the Reason or Meaning of what happened. In the end, every story explores why sometime, something happened to some people where it did. But amongst all these elements, some story ideas focus on the Reason or Meaning behind events as their main priority. In such a scenario, begin your story with the question “Why?”

Narrowing your focus to the “Why” of a Reason-inspired story idea makes the task of beginning the story less stressful.

When you have answered the question of “Why” correctly, you can easily select the measures and combinations of the remaining four elements (Who, When, Where, and What) that best emphasise the focus and priority of your story – The Reason or Meaning.

HOWEVER! HOWEVER!!

Your story idea prioritises on “Why” (Reason or Meaning) does not mean that you can downplay the other elements. There is a Reason or Meaning because in the first place, something happened to someone, sometime, somewhere. The point of this creative writing key is to solve the puzzle of beginning a story idea focused on investigating the Reason or Meaning of an event, not to score the element of “Why” as more important than the others.

EXAMPLE

“Staring at the high ceiling of the office, Detective Boris could not say how the 87-year-old President hung himself… or why it seems like he did.”

One prominent feature of beginnings with “Why” is that they either present a puzzle to be solved or present the solved puzzle. Whichever form it chooses depends on the part of the story plot from which you wish to start writing.

Can Your Readers Relate With You?

The number one reason readers buy books is because they know the author.

This doesn’t always mean the reader is a friend of the author. Sometimes, the reader may have read other books by the author, heard them speak or interviewed on a podcast, radio or television. They might have visited the author’s blog or followed them on social media. A connection is made, and this drives readers to the author’s books. 

This is the reason for the “about the author” section in books. Readers want to know who the book came from. They want to know the author is an actual person, just like them. That automatically makes the author relatable. They’re human. And once a reader can connect to an author on that level, it becomes easy to persuade them to buy your book. 

Who the author is plays a big part in the success of their book. If a specialist gynecologist were to write a book on menopause, it’s more likely to be bought by people experiencing said ailment than if a baker who experienced menopause wrote the book. This is simply because the specialist is just that. A specialist! 

Who you are affects how people receive your book. 

Growing up, I never truly belonged anywhere because of my mixed heritage (and the discrimination I faced due to it). For many years, I struggled to fit in because I was too light to be black. Then I moved to the U.K. where I was too dark to be white. And this was part of what formed the basis for Age of The Anathema. I’m a mixed-race author writing about people being persecuted for being mixed race. And one comment I got back when Tainted came out, was by a mixed-race woman who said: “… finally, we have someone who will speak up for us.”  

She bought and read the book because the author was relatable. 

So, as an author, stop and ask yourself:

“Can my readers relate with me? Or am I just another author to them?” 

Beginning With “What?”

As a way to begin a story, “What” is best applied if the priority of your story idea is about a thing or an idea. In the end, every story is about something which sometime, for some reason, is the concern of the characters somewhere. But amongst all these elements, some story ideas wish to explore something or an idea as their main priority. In such a scenario, begin your story with the question “What?”

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Plan And Plan Again

Don’t just be a writer who only practices writing. Pick a project and work on it. A writing project, like a book, is good but shouldn’t end whenever it ends. Projects have time frame. Give yourself time when you should be done.

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Get The Ink Bleeding

As simple as this writing key reads, it is where most aspiring writers like you face a great challenge.  You stare at the blank paper or screen before you and ask, what exactly do I write first?

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Study The Craft

There is a basic structure for every genre of creative writing. It is upon this basic structure that the writer’s individual uniqueness comes in as worthy appendages. Without a basic structure or frame, unique appendages are unworthy by default.

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On Beginning…

In this key, our aim is to help you find what kind of writing will best express whatever it is you want to write, especially as it relates to your why for writing.

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Where Should You Write?

Imagine a comfortable chair, a table of exactly the right height, a computer and a mug of hot coffee or a bottle of booze. Then imagine you cannot afford any of them.

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