These basic things are absolutely true:
- We are designed to be writers. When you think you cannot write, turn on music you love. Sit down. Pick up a pen or a pencil. Our brains are the trail to our hands. You’ll feel the action, the right rhythm for each word, each sentence in your hands. You will write.
- When you cannot find a character, write the character a letter, and the character will answer you.
- When you don’t know what to write next, look around your desk. Start describing some object. Your imagination will reference that paperweight, picture or old pile of Post-its to some scene and a story will come.
- When you’re wrestling with a plot, write your questions about motives, plot, emotions in the journal by your bed. This is a dream journal. You will wake up from a dream with the answers. Write the dream down fast. You’ll be surprised. This works.
- Place your characters in a scene. Like an architect’s blueprint: know how far they are from the windows; does the sun catch the side of her face? Can he see that old Jaguar rumble into the driveway? Know where the chairs are in the room; the pictures, which reminds someone of a lost moment. For a tense party scene draw a map of where everyone is. And always say what they are eating.
- Show us your character’s expressions, gestures, faces, hands. How clothes fit and move; tell us how the people, the room, the garden and the canyon smell and sound.