The other day I was walking through an underpass in my neighbourhood in north London trying to catch a shop just before it closed. I had no particular thought in my head (unusual for me, believe me)! Then this woman pushed a leaflet into my hand, saying something like ‘God loves you, read this!’
Well, I looked at it and politely put it in my handbag. I’m not exactly the religious type, maybe I’d get around to reading it some day. And then this thought hit me…
Us writer types have got any number of places from which to gather rich material, for example; incidents, events, observations from real life, sometimes even idle gossip! Right away I can tell you I was immediately planning to put this little chance/brief meeting into one of my books. And the beauty of it being, it happened entirely by accident!
My question to you is, what has happened unexpectedly that you could convert into fiction? It could be anything large or small, serious or funny. When it comes to fiction nothing is irrelevant! Don’t forget if you are writing longer fiction like a full-length novel you have got a lot of pages to fill. And I am willing to bet you will want as much material as you can get your hands on!
As a creative writer it is your job to see what a non-writer would not even notice. Yes, a good imagination is a vital skill if you are ever going to pass as a half decent writer!
But don’t despair if you are new to this wonderful craft of creative writing, you can develop your imagination with time. Practice going about your daily life being a lot more observant. When you notice anything a bit different note it down. Overheard conversations are a good place to start. I once heard to two women talking about their discoloured front teeth in a supermarket! Okay, so that might prove difficult to place anywhere, but then again you never know!
Have you noticed the amount of descriptions and attention to detail there are in novels? Descriptions add texture to any piece of fiction especially novels. Well, this is where your observations and notebooks will come in handy. The next time you are out and about and you spot someone who is unusually dressed for example note it down and use it later on in your writing. Remember this adds authenticity and originally to your work. These observations are unique to you, so use them effectively. Tip: Even something as commonplace as boarding a bus is worth paying attention to, you never know when you may need to describe it in accurate detail. Readers want to be able to trust you with such things.
So if you are still in any doubt about what it takes to become a writer, remember half of the job is done for i.e. your observations and they usually happen randomly! The other half just takes time and practice!
Until next time,