Creative Nonfiction, Essays, Writing Prompts

Freewriting on freewriting: A writing exercise

writing notebook
This is my writing notebook for the semester.

One of my assignments for this week was to use one of the “Ways In” exercises from chapter 2 of Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction. I ended up taking the lazy route and just did a freewrite, but I was kind of pleased with what I ended up with:

I was going to write a Springboard line, but I couldn’t find a line that appealed to me, so I’m just going to freewrite. Except, it’s hard to freewrite when you know there is a good chance that you might have to read it aloud to your classmates. The filter is automatically switched to “on,” so it almost defeats the purpose of freewriting. To me, freewriting is all about giving that inner censor a break and getting to your creative side. It’s hard to be creative with the little voice inside your head criticizing your every word.

When you freewrite, the inner censor says, “Oh, you’re sitting down to write garbage on purpose? Well, I’ll just go take a nap and rest up for next time when you sit down to write your “Great American Novel.” And of course, she laughs at you as she walks away. Continue reading “Freewriting on freewriting: A writing exercise”

Novel Writing, Writing Prompts

Freewriting practice: Name your protagonist’s internal villain

In a recent blog post on writing villains, The Write Practice’s Joe Bunting says that in every story, “there is always only one internal villain… whether it is fear, lust for power, or control.” This, of course, got me to thinking about my own protagonist in one of my current works in progress. I decided to do a freewrite on this topic and share it with you.

My freewrite: Who is M’s internal villain?

She just wants to go somewhere and lead an adventure. She doesn’t seem to care where she goes, which allows her to be led by evil people to places that she doesn’t want to be. She is so afraid of being ordinary and being stuck where she is that she jumps at any opportunity to be someplace and someone different.

My protagonist could use a little Katy Perry in her.

One of the problems that I seem to be having with my protagonists in this and with Valley of the Bees is the fact that neither of them seem to have any agency. They both allow themselves to be victims of plot. I can’t decide if this is good or bad. I feel like it’s something that my protagonists need to overcome. But at the same time, I’ve been taught that characters who just allow themselves to be carried along by the plot are the weak superheroes of weak stories. Am I writing weak stories? Continue reading “Freewriting practice: Name your protagonist’s internal villain”

Novel Writing

It’s a theme, not a scene

English: Chimpanzee Typing
What this story needs is a theme, something for the literary geniuses to expound upon in Freshman Lit. | English: Chimpanzee Typing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning, I’m typing up a couple of “found” scenes I wrote in a notebook almost four years ago. (I mentioned these scenes in an earlier post.) When I wrote these, I wasn’t really thinking about them in terms of scenes, but was scribbling out a freewrite with some ideas I had for a novel.

Many of my freewrites begin with me telling myself about something I want to do, and then they morph into scenes as I enter “the zone.” So it was no surprise to me when the first few paragraphs I typed up were back-story. But as I was typing, it occurred to me that what I had on the page at this moment was a theme, not a scene or even back-story. Continue reading “It’s a theme, not a scene”