There are moments when you are writing a story and you are inside it and everything is falling together in this wonderful symmetry and your fingers aren’t typing fast enough to keep up with what is unfurling on the page. Unfortunately, there are also moments when your characters have disappeared off for a tea break, and you are left alone pawing uselessly at your keyboard. And everything you try just falls flat.
So, try Story Magic! One teaspoon a day and in 28 days you are guaranteed to write like a Nobel prizewinner. Available in Hemingway, Steinbeck and Greene flavours.
No. Really. I made that last bit up. But there are lots of ways you can kick start your imagination. I’ve already talked about creating characters through their possessions. But you can also create them by thinking of opposites. For example, start with a handsome man. Then think of an opposite. Maybe he wears scruffy clothes. Then think of a trait. He’s very kind to his mother. But then, maybe he beats up his wife. It’s quite an absorbing technique and it very quickly gives you a believable character, because most humans are a bundle of contradictions. Once you think you know your new character, you can supply more contrast by introducing another character.
Of course, you can’t write an entire story by introducing contrasts. You have to eventually flesh your characters out. But I’ve found that, after a paragraph, that you are so intrigued by this new person, that your words start flowing again.
Here’s an example I wrote:
Everything about him was a contradiction. He was fat and he walked with ridiculously light steps, as if he were twinkling along, his hands held up slightly, his fingers splayed. He minced along the street like a caricature of a Soho queen, and yet in the boot of his car he had a stack of dog eared porn mags. His car, too, was a contradiction. He was a detective, a private detective, mind, but whereas the other lads had cars that could pass for skips, his was clean, almost obsessively pine fresh. He hated the way the others kept their cars. Rab, would you believe it, even had a slice of bacon under the front passenger seat.
Not the most brilliant prose, but I hope you see what I mean.