As you’re going about your day, there are plenty of ways to improve your creative writing skills. Writing and reading are crucial activities if you want to strengthen your abilities. However, there are additional, simple ways to improve your creative writing skills. The most important thing you have to do is pay attention to your surroundings.
One of the best ways to improve your creative writing skills is by watching your own body language. Notice what you do and why you’re doing it. Are you cracking your knuckles because you're bored or because you're nervous and it’s how you fidget? Since it can be difficult to be aware of every move you make, pay attention to the movements and facial expressions of those around you. You can’t tell what they’re thinking, but you can guess by their actions. Watching for body language is a productive way to keep you away from clichés when writing. Instead of writing, “He clenched his fists,” when your character is angry, you can write something more original.
Put your sadness to good use. When you’re feeling upset, or annoyed, or overwhelmed, don’t run from the emotion. Think about how it makes your stomach feel or your head hurt. Try your best to put your feelings into words. If you want your characters to behave realistically, you have to give them emotional reactions that readers will relate to.
Listen to the way the people around you speak. Even if you live in a small community, there will be variations in language. Listen closely for any slang words or odd sayings. You can’t have all of your characters speak with the exact same tone and diction. Some people are serious; Some people are lighthearted. Every one of your characters, no matter how small, should have their own distinct personality.
Characters aren’t the only pieces of a story that need depth. Whenever you walk into a building, survey your surroundings. What does the furniture tell you? If an apartment is messy, is it because a bachelor lives there or a child? You can probably figure out the answer based on whether beer bottles or baby bottles litter the floor. One’s surroundings can tell you a lot, so don’t forget the importance of a good setting.
If you’re watching television with your family or sitting in a crowded movie theater, pay attention to when the audience laughs. Notice when they’re drawn into a scene. See if they lose attention during a particular part. Even if you’re watching a show alone, you can pay attention to your own reaction. Figure out what intrigues you, and what causes you boredom. When you’re writing, be aware of the things that worked, and the things that made you want to shut off your television.
This is a bit different to dialogue. Instead of strictly paying attention to the words that someone is using, watch how they interact with others. People behave differently when speaking to their friends than they do when discussing an assignment with their teacher. Sometimes, we try to create characters with one set personality. However, it’s important to remember that people alter the way they conduct themselves when placed in different situations.
Don’t forget about the senses that haven’t been mentioned. Touch, taste, and smell are equally as important as sight and sound when you’re creating a story. In order for a reader to get pulled in, you have to make your writing believable. At all times, your senses are at work. Even when you’re doing something as simple as eating an orange, note the texture of it, the color of the peel, and the taste in your mouth.
Opportunities are all around you. You can improve your writing skills when you’re stuck in class, at work, or anywhere else. Are you a budding writer? What do you usually write about when you pick up a pen?
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