06 July 2009

Writing is Like A Battlefield

I am just listening to a song on the radio, 'Battlefield' by Jordin Sparks. Some of the lyrics were '...love is like a battle field...' It got me thinking.
I think writing is like a battlefield (or just a battle), in more ways than one. First of all, for me, writing is an uphill struggle. That is, I have huge problems getting started (but when I do start I'm usually fine).
I just need a trigger. My latest story just came to me when I was looking at a 'Fiction Square' from Writers Forum magazine. I wasn't following the instructions though, I was just skimming it for cool words. The ones I liked were "walking stick," "canal," and "thunder". I came up with a brilliant (I thought it was brilliant) story about an old hobo fishing in a canal during a thunderstorm.
So my problem is... I would like to do more writing, but sometimes I just can't.
I look for great story "stirrers" as MM calls them. Or writing exercises. One thing to do is randomly look at photos on Flickr, and write a story about what is happening in the photo (photos with people in them usually work best, although objects can be interesting too). My sixth grade teacher had us do an exercise like that once. I got a picture of some birch trees bending down toward a stream and I wrote a story about a giant who squashed them.
MM had an exercise at the Force 12 workshop she went to recently. They did the same thing with pictures. Some people got the same picture but their stories were drastically different, so don't be too worried about someone else using the same photo as you. MM got a photo of a young girl holding a baby. She wrote about a fourteen-year old mother.
There are lots of ways to inspire stories; eavesdrop (a personal favourite), turn to a random page in a dictionary and pick the first word, look outside the window for five minutes and then write about what you saw, and there is even one where you pick two numbers - a page number and word number - and use the closest book to you.

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