Writing a Narrative

To narrate means to tell a story or to give an account of.  A narrative takes many forms:  a novel, short story, biography, or even autobiography.  When you write a narrative, you should try to re-create a story or experience in a way that the readers can imaginatively participate in it or relate to it.

When writing a narrative it is important to use specific details, to limit the subject, and of course, to write the narrative in some logical order.

Some possible topics to write on are personal experiences that stand out in the writer’s mind as being significant, and firsts (first date, first day at college, first job).

Where and how to get ideas is important for a writer’s success, because without new and interesting ideas, it’s difficult to spark a reader’s interest.

A special job, a unique personal experience you’ve had, special interests, hobbies or places you’ve been, are all good sources for ideas.

Ask yourself these questions to see if you have anything in your life that is of particular interest.

1)  What is your background?  (Family, ethnic, religious, geographic)

2)  What have you done that is unique?

3)  Where have you been that’s interesting?

4)  Whom have you learned things from?  (As a child, as an adult)

5)  Whom do you know?  (People around you, celebrities)

6)  Have you overcome a problem that faces a large number of people?

7)  From experience, do you know how to do something better, cheaper, or easier than anyone else?

8)  What’s wrong with your life?

9)  What do you want most in life?

10)  What are some of the important times of your life?

11)  What interests you?

12)  Have you had an adventure so unique, exciting or humorous that people will be interested in hearing about it from beginning to end?

13)  How do you overcome boredom?  Depression?  Frustration?  Sadness?

14)  When did you first fall in love and why?

15)  What is your favorite holiday and what does it mean to you?

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Character Sketch

The Character Sketch exercise is a great way to focus on a character (real or fictional, or a combination of both).  Answer the following questions about your character.  If you don’t have a character in mind, make up the answers and you will find you have developed one.

1)         What is the sex of your character?

2)         What is the age of your character?

3)         How tall is your character?

4)         Is your character skinny, trim, or heavy?  

5)         What is the character wearing?  What is the style of his/her clothes?  Are they clean?  Or dirty?  Torn?  Patched?

6)         Look at the character’s shoes.  What kind are they?  Tennis shoes?  Boots?  Heels?  Are they new?  Well worn?  Polished?

7)         Look at the character’s hands?  Are they baby soft?  Work worn?  Dirty?  Well-manicured?

8)         Is the character wearing a ring?  What kind of ring is it?

9)         Is the character wearing a watch?  On which wrist?

10)       Is the character wearing other jewelry?  A bracelet?  A neckchain?  Beads?  Earrings?

11)       What is the character’s hairstyle like?

12)       What is the character’s hair color?

13)       What color eyes does the character have?

14)       What is the expression in the character’s eyes?  Is it sad?  Is it happy?  Do you see pain?

15)       Look at the character’s nose.  Is it big?  Small?  Crooked?

16)       And the character’s ears.  Are they big?  Small?  Do they stick out?

17)       Now look at the character’s mouth.  Is there a smile?  A frown?  Can you see the character’s teeth?  Is there anything about his/her teeth that is noticeable?

18)       What is the character’s favorite saying?

19)       What is the character’s favorite thing to do?

20)       What is this person doing now?

Write About Your Dreams

Did you have a great dream last night that has been weighing on your mind?  Do you think to yourself:  what a story!  Well, it just may be that.

Your dreams can be an excellent source for creative ideas, particularly for fiction stories.  You can sometimes make yourself have dreams by changing sleeping place, as it can cause dreams to happen more spontaneously.  Also, sleeping longer than usual can cause dreams to occur, as most dreams occur in the lighter stages of sleep before awakening.

I get some of my ideas for fiction stories from dreams, many that have been published.

I have also written, and have published, a couple children’s stories which were based on re-occurring nightmares I had as a child, one in which  I dreamt I fell in a manhole, and it was the same underneath as it was above, except that different people lived in my friends’ houses, which confused me, and I fought over a ladder with a woman I believed was a witch.

If you have a difficult time remembering dreams before you have a chance to write about them, make some notes as soon as you wake up.  Also, keeping a notepad by your bedside is a good idea.

Basic Writing Exercises

If you have writer’s block, here are a couple basic writing exercises to help you jumpstart your writing.  I have used these; once you use them the words will start flowing. 

First Exercise:  Choose a chair in the room to write about.  Use your imagination and write about anything connected with the chair.  For example:  how it got there, the chair as an antique, or the chair as a childhood favorite.  Write a paragraph of at least five sentences; giving yourself 15 minutes to complete it.

Second Exercise:  Write a paragraph describing “where you’d like to live happily ever after.”  For example:  someplace where the weather is nice, a favorite vacation spot, at home, or even in outer space.  Read it aloud or to someone.

Blair London Short Story

Have you always wanted to help an author come up with a story? Now is your chance! Grab your cup of coffee, turn your phone over or on do not disturb and get to work!

Help Blair develop a short story by writing your own continuation. Participants are expected to further the story based on the latest contributor’s content. Please keep in mind the following rules:

  • Submissions cannot contain excessive curse words, sexual content or other inappropriate actions.
  • Submissions should be 100 words or less.
  • Submissions should be a continuation of the story. Do not stray too far from the current storyline.

*All submissions will be reviewed prior to being published as part of the story.

SHORT STORY images

Melissa was in another one of those moods, and not knowing what to do or where to go, she went into the local coffee shoppe she was passing, thinking that a latte sounded good.  As she was sipping her coffee drink, her cellphone rang.  She looked at it; her anger rising as she saw who was calling.  She flipped it over in an attempt to ignore it, while those around her began to look her way.  Feeling uncomfortable, she quickly gathered her belongings and stormed out of the shoppe.

Do You Have Writers’ Block?

Here is one tip:  go through your old pictures (on your electronic devices or old snapshots), and look at them through a magnifying glass.  You may find something of interest to write on that you had forgotten about, or may be struck by someone’s expression.  What about that family portrait?  A story of the family members in the portrait who pretend to be happy and get along, when they aren’t and don’t, and have secrets, could be a great story.  learning-creative-writing-cover

Feel free to let me know what you find; perhaps I can direct you on how to write the story.

If you need more help writing creatively, I came across this book, which is excellent.  Click on the title below for more information.

Learning Creative Writing by Valerie Hockert

Welcome to Blair London Novels

 

Blair London is a Minnesota-based author.  She gets her shocking ideas from extremely vivid dreams she has in conjunction with news stories, people she knows, and some personal experience.  Blair’s books are all on modern-day crime. She writes about war vets with PTSD, social media, bullying, serial killers, child trafficking, sex trafficking, airport stalkers, pedophiles, sociopaths, and squatters.  Blair is the author of several winning novels, including the internationally renowned cliff-hangers:

  • Jobs for Angels: Veterans’ Nightmare Realities
  • Lure to Death: The Social Media Serial Killer
  • Children Below Us: Child Trafficking
  • Airport Stalking: Jack’s Game
  • Young Squatters

Blair warns that you may be shocked at what you read.

You can connect with Blair on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/blair.london.35

And on Twitter at:

https://twitter.com/TheBlairLondon