The writer’s alphabet J-L

A to ZIf you’ve got as many questions as I have about the craft of creative writing, you’ll know how important it is to try out new things. The more you learn, the more it seems there is to learn. Every day, as they say, is a school day.

That’s what this alphabet is all about. It’s not a dictionary of answers, more a lexicon of suggestions. Some of them are my own, many are ideas I’ve picked up along the way from people far smarter than myself. If you like the sound of them, why not give them a try?

J is for Jekyll and Hyde

Everyone has a dark side. Try unleashing yours and see how it affects your writing. Try putting the laptop away and writing instead with scratchy black ink on tattered parchment. Curse. Be angry. Drool. Your mild-mannered Dr Jekyll might be surprised to hear what the unrestrained Mr Hyde has to say.

K is for Knots

You’ve heard of plot threads? Well, plot knots are those nasty place where all the strands of your story get tangled together. When that happens, try putting on your editor’s hat. Comb your way through the text. Streamline. Simplify. And, when you have to, grab the nearest pair of scissors and cut, cut, cut.

L is for Lyrics

At their best, song lyrics are short-form fiction packed with meaning. Because they’re all wrapped up in music, they’re also packed with emotion that’s entirely personal to you. Try taking the lyrics from one of those old songs echoing around your head. Does it suggest a story to you? Yes? Then what are you waiting for? Write the damn thing down.

Next time: M, N & O

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