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What helps you to write?

Hello again. I was thinking about what helps me to write, when I thought of Tacita as a movie. That’s one of the things that helps me to write, so I thought I would do a post about it.

If I don’t do my helpful writing things, I sit there at the keyboard for ages, trying to think of the right words to put in a sentence. It doesn’t come naturally then, so the writing sounds really forced. When I’m writing without the helpful thingys, or if I don’t have the urge to write, I write jerkily and about two words at a time before I stop and think about what word to put down. In short, not cool.

Just a little tangent: I do most of my writing when inspiration strikes, or when I have the urge to write. That’s when I write best. If I set myself a time to do writing every day, then set a target of how many words to write, I will equate it with homework and find it boring. So I write in little bursts, and it’s probably not the way they tell you to write, but it works for me so I do it! Actually, this isn’t really a tangent, because writing when inspiration strikes or when I have the urge helps me to write. It’s actually quite easy for me to get inspired or get an urge to write: 1) read about the Romans or gladiators, 2) read some stuff about writing, for example on thebooklantern.com. So I can sort of make myself get inspired/an urge so that’s quite good. But my best writing is when it just happens, like I wake up and go ‘I MUST WRITE NOW’

The things that help me to write (apart from what’s up there) are mostly quite embarrassing. The first, non-embarrassing, thing is to imagine the scene as a movie. That helps me to visualise where everything is, what it all looks like, and where the characters are standing as they do stuff. The imagining-as-movie thing sort of spawns the other helpful things, and annoyingly they are quite embarrassing.

The MOST helpful thing for me is to say (I mouth, to avoid more embarrassment) what I have just written, especially if it’s dialogue. When I do that, when I reach the end of what I’ve written, the next bit will come naturally. It helps a lot when writing arguments, so it sounds a bit more natural, just saying whatever comes next into my head! It also helps to say/mouth (if I mouth I’ve got to say it really expressively in my head!) the words because you get a look at how the characters say things, or how the non-dialogue bits sound, so you can try and make it sound like how it was in your head, like by adding italics to words and stuff like that. This probably sounds really strange, but it helps me to write! And when I’m doing this, I imagine the characters speaking as actors who I want to play the different characters, to make it even easier.

Also, saying/mouthing it will filter out any unneeded words and it will find the best word order in a sentence! When I read it, sometimes the words go into a different order than the one I’ve written. Usually it sounds a lot better, so I change it. Especially if it’s speech, because you get the most natural-sounding dialogue. I hope that makes sense.

Another helpful thing, which sort of goes with the saying/mouthing thing, is actions! I use my hands loads when I speak, so if I’m reading what I’ve written my hands will be moving about. It helps me to find the emphasised bits in the writing, and the most important bits. To passersby it probably looks crazy. And when I’m using my hands and mouthing/speaking and I reach the end of dialogue, usually the next bit just writes itself. For example a character will finish speaking, and the next thing that comes into my head is they tuck some of their hair behind their ear. To me it makes it sound more realistic!

What helps when writing action scenes is to get off your chair and actually see how it would work in real life. You don’t need another person (or people) to fight against, or a weapon (if there is one in the fight), just a good imagination! If you’ve just described a move your character’s done, and it seems quite confusing, forget about what was in your head and read the bit you’ve written and try to act it out. This can also work the opposite way: if you have a move in your head and you don’t know how to describe it, acting it out might help you find the right words! You may look a little stupid wrestling with yourself, but oh well! It helps me to write, so occasionally I will be standing up and fighting the air. It’s good because it makes you see whether the move can actually work if an actual human does it. Maybe you should try it next time you have to write a fight scene!? šŸ˜›

That’s pretty much all that helps me to write. Don’t judge, I know I sound crazy, but it’s what helps me to write better. When I do those things the words just write themselves, like how they’re writing themselves now! (I am typing QUITE fast) I think I’ve mentioned myself too much, and I’m interested to know what helps you guys to write. My method seems a little strange, but maybe everyone does this and it’s totally normal…? So I want to know what helps you to write! In fact, I have an urge to write, so I am off to write some more of Tacita!

Your slightly strange writy blogger, Jaz

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