Writing is all about practice.
The more you write, the more you learn, the better you become. Look back on some of your earliest writing. Now look at your most current. You’re going to notice that it’s better. It may not be where you want it to be, but it is further along than what it was.
Through my years of writing, I have come across many different writing exercises to help you look at your writing from a different angle; most of these I’ve tried but a few I look forward to dabbling in, in the near future. Stretch some muscles with me that may be tight.
Write in all dialogue. I love this one for a variety of reasons. A lot of time, when a scene is playing through my head, it’s a scene of dialogue. I don’t want to miss it, so I just write down what each person is saying. I don’t worry about actions, descriptions, or tags. This is also good practice for a scene that you’ve already written out, fully. See if you can take everything it encompasses and put it all into a conversation. As a bonus – it’s actually really fun to do this backwards, as well. Take all the dialogue out of a scene and write it only using visual cues.
Write from another characters POV. We all have a set idea about who should be telling the reader the current scene. But try writing it from another POV. You may discover hidden motivations or backstory. You may discover that the scene is better served this way, as well, or it may just give you better insight into that character or plot line.
Change tense or viewpoint. This can also make all the difference. Try writing a scene in a different tense (past versus present or the other way around). Better yet why not change the viewpoint. Third person instead of 1st. And so on. See what comes of it.
Write the scene from a different angle. You have the direction that you are coming from. Maybe it’s a reaction scene. Maybe you’re character is dealing with consequences from a previous scene. Perhaps this is a scene that is supposed to be filled with high tension. But what if you switched it up? Come at it from a different angle and see what happens.
Become a CP. Critiquing other writer’s work is a GREAT way to gain experience. My two favorite places to find opportunities to do that are over at @The_Writer_Community and an online community called Scribophile.
Read a lot. Find out what works. Work on a scene after the style of the book/author you’re reading. Kind of like fan fiction, but not really. Let’s call it: author fiction.
Take out Adj and/or adv. This is a great pre-step to editing, as well. Adjectives and Adverbs are often a very strong sign of telling. Take them out and see how you can show it, instead.
What kind of poem or song would your character write from the emotions of this scene? Write it out
Take your scene and write it in a different genre. I love this idea because often times we get lost in the genre we always read and write. But how fun to step outside and write your scene as part of a scifi novel instead of a historical romance. You may find a new obsession.
Write the last scene of your book, if you already haven’t. Sometimes this also helps with getting past writer’s block, as well. It’s also a nice break if you’re feeling stumped. But it’s also helpful to point out that it will
Write a scene that comes after your story ends, but won’t be in this book.
Even if you don’t keep any of the changes you made while doing these exercises, it’s good practice for writing and to see what you’re capable of and to see what’s out there. You may be able to use what you’ve experimented with in a later scene or novel!
Happy writing and I’ll see you at @The_Writer_Community!