Nothing New Under the Sun

Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. The wisdom applies to writing too–they say there are only twelve plots for stories. So we who write must dig deep to give old ideas a new twist.
Writing Tip for Today: It isn’t easy being old, believe me. But when it comes to writing, all of us must dredge the bottoms of our souls to find a way to write that speaks to the current readership. But how?

  • Junk it Through. By writing “crap,” I think it’s more likely that you’ll arrive at “the zone,” that part of you that stores deep emotions, holds passionate beliefs and connects in a spiritual way, to others. It’s a matter of quantity in order to access quality. Some writers don’t agree but for me, the more words I write, the more I somehow maneuver myself closer to that mysterious zone.
  • Write with Gusto.I’ve seen a tag line that states, “Don’t write what you know, write what you’re passionate about!” If you can get excited about writing a cookbook, well, write it with gusto. Or if your passion is for regency romance, do that. If you try to be the next J.K. Rowling for the fame and money, you will probably fail, unless you really are the next J. K. It’s nice to get in on a trend (say, vampire books), but if you write it only to ride the wave, it’s probably gone by the time you can complete your work.
  • Build on a Winner. Instead of trying to avoid all these classic story lines, use them to your advantage. Study screenwriting–one of the best ways to learn good story structure. A good resource is Story by Robert McKee. Watch a lot of movies, with an eye for the three-act structure. You can even take a fairy tale like The Three Little Pigs or Red Riding Hood and adapt them to a novel plot. The new ideas will be your characters, setting and goals.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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