10 Things I’ve Learnt From Creative Writing

1. Your story doesn’t have to be like any other story. You don’t have to do the things that other authors do – it’s your call. If you want to switch between a stream of consciousness to three pages of dialogue to a description of someone’s dress, that’s fine. You do you.

2. It’s okay to change your mind. Chances are, you will change your mind. You don’t have to set the story line in stone when you first begin to write. The story can evolve and change just as your imagination does.

3. It’s not easy. You won’t be able to write the whole story in one go. You will need to take breaks, to step away from the page and live your own life sometimes. Often, you’ll find that taking a break will give you inspiration which you can use to add to your story later.

4. You don’t have to make everything up. You can use your own life experiences or tales that you’ve been told by friends and family in your story. It’s alright not to create everything from scratch.

5. You shouldn’t feel as though you have to create some deep inner meaning from what you are writing. There is a good chance that whoever reads your book will take advice, comfort, lessons, help, whatever it may be, from it without you spelling it out for them. We all learn in different ways.

6. If you struggle with describing your characters or your settings or your atmospheres in real depth, that’s okay. Often, people will be able to relate more with characters who are more vaguely described, or places that don’t have names.. It can help them put themselves and their lives into the story and connect with it personally.

7. Creating mystery is difficult. It’s so tempting to want to spell everything out for the reader and tell them how everything is unwinding as they read – but try to resist. It keeps them on their toes and builds the suspense, and will create a more exciting read.

8. Give yourself time. Especially if you’re writing for pleasure, don’t rush anything. Enjoy writing, enjoy getting to know your characters and planning where the plot is going to take them. If you take a month to write half a chapter, that’s not a problem. It’ll be a bloody good chapter.

9. A thesaurus is your friend. Don’t be afraid of it. Use it more frequently than you would like to admit. Your vocabulary will develop and expand faster than you could imagine.

10. And finally… They are YOUR characters. Not somebody else’s. You made them, and you can do whatever the fuck you like with them.

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