Wednesday, August 8, 2012


For me writing is not just sitting at my laptop.  During many parts of my working day, I don’t look like I’m working much at all…especially to my wife.  Writers need to be good daydreamers.  We need to be good at imagining. 

I’m not talking about just letting your mind wander (although that’s important and can lead to unexpected ideas).  I’m talking about letting your mind wander into your story.  To get your thoughts deeply in that part of your head where your story is alive.

Taking a walk—which I do everyday—is my time to work on my story in my imagination.  So to you writers out there, here are a few suggestions for things to ponder as you take your own writer’s walk:

  1. What if…?  Nothing gets your creativity engine revved like a “what if” question.
  2. Readers love characters with big emotions.  What are situations you can put your character in that will bring out some powerful feelings?
  3. Work out a hook or catchy line to start or end your next chapter.
  4. What do you think your readers are hoping will happen for your protagonist?  Tease and deliver (but maybe not quite in the way your reader is expecting).
  5. Pick of a part of your story you think readers might start skimming.  How can you get them through that scene quicker/better?
  6. Readers like to see how others handle problems. What is something that worried you as a young person?  How can you have your character wrestle with that fear?
  7. What have you done to make readers care about your protagonist in the first chapter?  Consider ways to make that emotional connection stronger.
  8. What are important aspects you want to reveal about your protagonist/antagonist?  Develop a secondary character or situation that illuminates this part of the protagonist/antagonist’s character.
  9. Ponder why readers will read your story.  What is it that will appeal to a young reader?  How can you make that more appealing/powerful?
  10. What are you doing/saying with your story that no other author would?

If you have others, please post them in the comments.  I’d love to hear helpful suggestions you use to think deeply about your story and writing craft.

Happy walking!


  1. I like to take my characters and throw them into a wildly different scenario than the one in my books -- say something Science Fictionish if they're in a Victorian-age story -- and see how they react. By taking them completely out of their element I get a better sense of how their core beliefs and personality traits play out.

    -- Tom

  2. That's a great idea, Tom. Not only does it give you a deeper sense of your character, it also can bring new and unexpected ideas to your setting.


  3. What great suggestions! I especially like #4.