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(1) Warm Up Your Imagination
Take a few minutes to freewrite. Freewriting is writing whatever comes to your mind as soon as it comes; without thinking, you put the words on paper. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or even making sense—the point is to get your imagination loose.

 

(2) Create Your Character
Getting to know a character is one of the most important things you can do as a writer. Otherwise you have no way of knowing how he or she will react to situations that arise once you get into writing your story. Write a sketch of a character in your story. What is the character’s name? Age? What does the character like to do on Saturdays? What is your character’s favorite movie? Why? Make a list or write a paragraph describing your character.

 

(3) Focus on the Details
Spend a minute or two focusing on your surroundings. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? The answers to these questions are the details of a story. Focusing on the world around your character is what creates description in your story.

Now it’s time to try it with your character. Use one of the situations below (or come up with one of your own) to create a scene full of description and details.

  • Your character is on a boat at sea.
  • Your character is in the middle of a crowded city.
  • Your character is exploring an enchanted forest.

 

(4) Give Your Characters a Voice

“I don’t suppose your eyes ever pop out,” I said.

“I don’t think so.” Hattie smiled complacently. “They’re too small to pop.”

This is an example of dialogue from Gail Carson Levine’s book Ella Enchanted. Dialogue moves the story along through conversation between characters. It is a great way to get details, emotions, and thoughts into your story.

Now write some of your own. Imagine your character is telling a secret to a friend. Write the dialogue.

 

(5) Write Your Favorite Part First
You don’t always have to start writing a story at the beginning. Sometimes, to really get into your story, you need to start with the part of the story that interests you the most. Write a scene. Don’t worry about where it falls in your story—if it is the beginning or the end; just write your favorite part. Try to use lots of details and plenty of dialogue.

 

 



Learn more about Writing Magic!
Purchase Writing Magic!
Read an interview with Gail Carson Levine!