5 things to do if you want to improve your writing

confident writerOn the whole, we writers are usually pretty confident about the stuff we produce. But every now and then all of us have a wobble about our ability. Can I really write? Is this story good enough to read? Does my novel convey the meaning I want it to?

These are natural questions, but the lack of confidence can do one of two things: it either makes you put your pen down, having convinced yourself that your writing is worthless, or it forces you to find ways to improve your writing and make certain that it’s the best it can be at all times.

In truth, every writer needs to continually hone his or her skills and make sure they are continually performing at the top of their game. Here are five things to do to improve your writing.

  1. Write regularly

Every kid is taught that practice makes perfect. Whether it’s multiplication tables, a musical instrument, or playing keep-up with a football, the act of regular repetition improves ability.

So if you want to reach the pinnacle of your potential, then you need to make time to write and do so regularly. You might even decide to try a few writing exercises, perhaps for twenty minutes every morning or while you’re eating that lunchtime snack. Here are a couple of other things you could do to build regularity into your writing routine:

  • Produce a weekly blog post
  • Use a prompt to produce a passage of work (maybe a word, phrase, or picture)
  • Work on a particular weakness; perhaps verb use, descriptive prose, character, etc
  1. Don’t rush things

It’s often been said that there is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting. So remember to take your time when you’re writing that first draft, and then be prepared to take time to edit. Each time you do, you’ll discover more about your ability. You’ll see where your word use could be improved, your sentences enhanced, and spot those regular typos and spelling mistakes (and once you know such things, you make these mistakes less often). Many writers find the following a great way to tackle writing:

  • Write a first draft, head to page with not too much thought for quality
  • Put it down and walk away, returning an hour or so later (or longer if its suits your personal timetable)
  • Edit, and be harsh in your editing

That breathing space and the extra time spent on your work will make all the difference to it. Try it, you’ll see!

  1. Read more

By reading the novels or works of successful authors in your genre you’ll have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. But don’t stop there. Every now and then you should pick up something different to read, perhaps something out of your comfort zone. By doing so you’ll become more adept at different styles and voices, writing in different points of view, and so on.

And by doing that you’ll learn new techniques and widen your audience, too.

  1. Join a writers’ group and seek feedback

By interacting with other writers, you’ll begin to discover tips and tricks to improve your writing. You’ll be able to talk over storylines, passages, and what works and what doesn’t. This could be face-to-face. Be brave: don’t be scared to seek criticism of your work. But be careful that the critique is of value.

Of course, you could always seek a wider audience and put your work on the worldwide web; perhaps on your blog or an author community site. WordPress is a great way to create your website and get into blogging. Ask your audience what they like and what you could improve upon.

  1. Take the time to learn

You might consider doing a writing course – there are plenty of great ones available. Perhaps subscribe to a writing magazine, buy books about writing, or read blogs about writing like the one you’re reading now. Whatever you learn, however you learn it, now is the time to return to step one.

Keep Write On

Whether you’re the most confident of writers or the coyest, there will always be room for improvement. By writing more, taking your time to do so, and then getting feedback and acting upon it, you’ll become comfortable with your pen. And when that happens, you’ll find that your audience adores you.

Keep Write On Call To Action

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Interactive Writing Courses

Here at WordPlay we love to hear about innovative products and services aimed at helping writers. Margret Shea, one of our members who is mostly based in Ireland, recently wrote to us to let us know of something rather special happening in Ireland for writers.

writers' workshopThere’s a new kid ion the writers’ block, called WritersWebTV, which offers interactive TV based writing coaching. The beauty is that a writer will be able to access all the necessary material they need, learning with other writers, yet in the comfort of their own home, or hotel room, or wherever they happen to be (though I wouldn’t recommend participating from the bathroom).

So it’s not just for Irish writers, it’s for writers everywhere. You can even buy their workshops to access at a more convenient time for you.

Taking part in ‘real time’ though gives you some excellent benefits, like access to feedback from experts, and when you enrol you get a heap of pre-workshop material to set you up and prepare properly for the learning experience.

The workshops are free if you participate live, though can also be bought to be viewed at your convenience. So far there have been workshops covering writing for children, writing for women, and writing crime fiction. Definitely worth taking a look.

I’ve long thought that interactive education is the way forward. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and tailored to an individual’s needs. Don’t be surprised if this ends up being a ground breaking service that paves the way for others. (and if you’re quick, you can sign up for tomorrow’s workshop on getting published).

(At this point I’d like to say that WordPLay has no affiliation to WritersWebTV, nor are we advertising their services for any financial gain.)

7 Ways to For Writers to Stay Mentally Fit

No writer’s block, no lack of inspiration

writers blockI don’t suffer writer’s block. I don’t believe in it, never have, and never will. There is inspiration all around us; you just have to open your senses to it. What I do suffer from is temporary creative exhaustion. Being sat in front of a screen, tapping away for 5, 6, or 7 hours a day, takes its toll mentally. The problem is that if I take a complete break it’s then easy to let that slip into a second or third day, and suddenly I find myself having to put in longer days to catch up with my work. Let’s face it, the reason I write is to be able to more easily choose when I work.

How writers can tackle mental exhaustion

Even when you aren’t a jobbing writer, trying to complete that first draft of your latest novel can leave you stressed and unfit for purpose. You’ll feel unable to face the task at hand, and that manuscript might end up sitting in its drawer for years before you pluck up the courage to finish it.

The writer’s initial mental exhaustion quickly rolls over to mental inertia.

The trick is to find a way to keep your creativity flowing while breaking away from the rigours of writing.

A writer’s tip to keep your eyes fresh

Before we talk about a few things we writers can do to reduce mental exhaustion, let’s tackle two of those most important faculties you’ve got: your eyes. Staring at a computer screen will damage your eyesight if you let it. So I observe the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes I look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Fresh eyes help a writer to remain stimulated.

You don’t have to write constantly to stay in the game

Think about a star footballer, a world class talent that any team would pay huge money for. You might have to look beyond England’s finest for this, though Chelsea’s Frank Lampard has found a new career (remarkably becoming a published children’s author – the reward of celebrity, anyone?). Great players are not on the ball for all 90 minutes of a match. In fact, now and again they’ll ‘so missing’. They are on the pitch, but merely a periphery player. Then, out of the blue, they pop up and score a cracker of a goal. The trick the player has performed is to remain in the game, staying enthusiastic, but saving his energy for just the right time.

7 things to do if you want to stay creative and enthusiastic

So how do you take a break while remaining ‘in the game’: I mean, a footballer can’t just swan off the pitch and then come back when he wants can he? How do we, as writers, stay on the pitch and ready to strike? Here are ten things to do to remain ready to write when the mood takes you:

  • Write that blog post

Stay in touch with your growing number of fans, and write that blog you’ve promised them. Just speak to them, like they were sitting there with you.

  • Befriend Facebook for five minutes

Okay, I actually think that FB is a big time waster, but it’s actually fun to stay up to date with what your online community is doing. Make a coffee, log on, answer a couple of your FB friends, and then log off when your coffee cup is drained.

  • Do those office essentials

Organise your inbox, clear out your drawer. Review your diary, do your online banking. It’s all got to be done, so why not make it part of your break time (it’s great time-management skills, too).

  • Go for a walk

Take twenty minutes to walk, clear your head, stretch those limbs.

  • Do the house chores

Put the washing in the washing machine. Clear the dishes away. Hoover the living room. It’s all got to be done, so do it now!

  • Update your project management page

I use Trello to keep a track of my work, and also use it to break away from writing. It takes five minutes to update, and that is just the right amount of time to refresh my enthusiasm.

  • See what other people are doing

You played on Facebook earlier, no need to go there again, but what about the blogs of your blog followers? Go see what they are up to, and let them know that you think they’re doing great.

You know, there is no way that any of us can remain at the top of our game every minute of the day. We need that little break away from the action, so when the action comes to us we’re ready to go. These 7 tips are my ways to step back into the shadows before finding myself in the spotlight again. How do you stay fresh? Why not share your best ways with us?

 

No Room to be Sexist in Writing

how to write non gender specificFirst try this writing exercise

Here’s a little exercise for you – write a short story, or a paragraph, or poem, about a convict doing exercise in a yard. Go on, pick up your pen and do it, before you read on.

Finished? Now read this little conundrum:

Now here’s a writing problem for us all

In a recent job I had been tasked with, I had to write about certain industry changes that affect financial advisors in the UK. I started the article with a little preamble – how the new changes had come about, why they had been initiated, and when they came into force – and then continued with the main body. I had to describe how Financial Advisors are now paid and in what capacity they work. Simple, or so I thought.

The client sent the article back to me, and asked me to make it ‘non-gender specific’: fair comment, in a way, as I had used the male pronoun (he) throughout. You know the sort of thing: “the advisor now gets paid by the client, for work done, and he must set out the details of any payments upon their first meeting.”

So, now I have a problem. How do you make a piece of writing non-gender specific to then be politically correct?

How to write sex indecisively

I offered two solutions. The first, which was the one preferred by the client’s compliance department, involved using the plural form ‘they’ and ‘their’ as a singular. So now I write ‘the advisor lays down their charging scale when they first meet the client’.  When I read that back, I think that sounds a bit clunky and, well, poorly written (just an opinion).

The second method, which, by the way, my contact at the client absolutely adored, was to place this paragraph at the head of the article:

“Note on gender: some of the best financial advisors around are women, but the overwhelming majority is men. So, this article refers to ‘him’ and ‘he’ when it could easily refer to ‘her’ and ‘she’.”

A neat paragraph, I think, explaining the use of male gender instead of female gender, and enforcing the female in a very positive way.

Now back to that writing exercise…

Oh, by the way: that story about the convict: did you use ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘they’? I’d put money on it that most of you used ‘he’, even though some of the best convicts behind bars are women!

Writing Well and Fast is all about Practice

coffee writer

There’s no Mystery When it comes to Painless Penmanship

Living in Spain, I’m lucky to have the weather to get outside and walk. After years of not walking (“I didn’t learn to drive so I could walk everywhere”) I started strolling along the local canal every day, and soon was up to ten miles in less than three hours.

I didn’t start walking to get in shape, though my fitness did improve, but because I enjoyed it. I wasn’t even noticing how far I was walking. I’m now walking more than I have ever done, yet feeling it less. The mystery behind this improvement isn’t a mystery at all. Practice.

And it’s the same with my writing.

When I first started out as a freelancer, I could write around 300 words per hour, 400 at a pinch. Now 1200 words an hour is about my going rate, if I am writing about a subject that I’m familiar with. It’s the same when I’m writing fiction: once I’ve got into the story, then 1000 words plus each hour is no problem.

Wake up with a coffee and a pen

I swing my legs out of bed every day, and get straight to my desk with a coffee. Then I start writing. Of course, I have good days and bad days, but the point is that every time I write, I write that little bit quicker, that little bit more accurately, and that little bit more readable.

Whatever it is you want to do – play the piano, learn to speak a foreign language, grow world record onions – if you practice regularly and often you’ll get better. Finally you’ll get to where you want to be. As a writer, writing becomes a reflex reaction.

Smile as you write

Then, just when you think you’ve cracked it, someone else comes along and cultivates an onion bigger than any you’ve ever given the world. Do you worry about that? Do you give up? No, because by that time it’s in your bones.

Writing is a part of you. It’s your passion. It’s what makes you tick. And that is when it really becomes easy. And you’ll be writing every day with a smile on your face.

Practice will improve everything you do. It may not make it quite perfect, but it will make it a painless pleasure.

“Please Sir, Can I Read Some More?”

writing can I have some more cliffhangersYesterday we looked at simple ways to create a great opening, and getting your readers wanting to read more. Today, we tackle how to stop your readers from putting your book down. You know, that end of soap episode moment, when Jack and Louise, the local gangster and the pub landlady, are about to embrace and the drum roll begins and the credits start rolling – you have to watch next time.

It’s the same with reading. You want to create little cliffhangers throughout, particularly at the end of chapters, which force the reader to turn the page. Or, if you are writing a series of articles for a magazine, or short stories, perhaps, you need to also end your story with a cliffhanger.

3 ways to end an article and tempt the reader into the next one

So you want your reader to follow through and read your next article? Try one of these three methods:

1        Challenge your reader to do something. It’s got to be relevant to the article, of course, but can be anything you choose it to be.

2        Close with an opening for future articles.

3        Ask the reader a question that he feels compelled to answer.

3 examples of how to write a page-turning chapter end

We’ve all had that book open late at night, perhaps in bed, get to the end of a chapter and feel we just have to read on. That’s not an accidental close created by the writer, he’s done it on purpose. As a writer, one of our jobs is to deprive readers of sleep! Here are three ways to do that, and your readers will love you for it – really.

Describe something that leaves an opening for immediate action

The chapter has clearly drawn to an end. The action is pretty much over, and that scene, or episode, is finished. But you want to move the story forward and propel your reader into a new scene. So why not write an end that changes time or place, and clearly promises more action? Here’s an example, from my novel The Cardinals of Schengen:

“His cell phone chirruped on the desk in front of him, and he lifted it off Judy’s notebook. It was Chatfield.

Time to move.”

Let your characters tell the reader to turn the page

Dialogue is an integral part of any story, so why not use it to move the story on and create pace and tension? How about this from Nikki Dee’s Losing Hope:

“Grab your hammer, Dad, you’ve got work to do, by the sound of it.”

Ask your reader to turn the page. Literally

Questions can also be asked at the end of a chapter which leaves the reader with some doubt or the need to resolve a problem for the protagonist. In the first of her children’s fantasy trilogy, Fallyn and the Dragons, KJ Rollinson uses this technique to great effect:

“Eileen, who had returned to her bed, shot up with a start! Carla had definitely said ‘Eila’, hadn’t she, and not Eileen?”

Vary your chapter endings to create a page turning reader experience

With these three simple cliffhanger techniques, you’ll be able to ‘force’ your reader to keep turning those pages. But don’t overplay a single one: mix and match them, finishing your chapter at a natural end that will lead to the next. Make some endings action packed, and others a little gentler. Give your readers variety, coursing the natural undulations of life. They will love you for it.

Write a Good Paragraph in Four Parts

fieldsParagraphs are essential in writing, whether you’re writing essays, letters, whitepapers, or short stories or novels. They help break up a reader’s need for concentration, keeping her engaged and allowing a split second or two to digest information before moving on. They have been proven to also help with reading speed.

For me, there is almost nothing worse than being confronted by a page of never ending writing. Give me paragraphs!

The question is this: what makes a good paragraph?

The four elements of a paragraph

Okay, so we know that a paragraph is made up of sentences, but how are those sentences related to each other, and what makes a sentence have a beginning and an end? In short, a paragraph should be weaved around a central theme – a single idea, if you like – and take the reader to a conclusion. Keeping this in mind, it’s then easy to use five elements to structure a paragraph correctly.

Choose a theme to structure your paragraph

Typically, particularly with non-fiction writing, the paragraph will begin with a statement of the theme of the paragraph. You immediately set the reader up with an expectation by doing this. Other sentences will support this theme and provide further detail. Think about what the theme is and its driving point. Use this as the opening sentence, and it will naturally drive the remainder of the paragraph.

Order sentences to structure your paragraph

The supporting sentences will need to be ordered around the theme. Don’t just put them down willy-nilly, but rather give them some structure. His might be by perceived order of importance, or perhaps in chronological order, or other logical progression. If you have difficulty with this, then try splitting your sentences out into bullet points and then reconstruct the whole.

Keep rationality in each paragraph

You’ll need to keep your writing logical and rational. Doing so will enable the reader to understand what you are writing. Each sentence should connect with the others and create a whole story or argument. Make sure your verb tense is consistent, as well as the point of view from which you are writing. You could also use transition words from sentence to sentence, such as firstly, secondly, furthermore, in addition to. In fact, there are plenty of words and phrases that can be used to link sentences in a paragraph to draw through to its conclusion.

Make your paragraph complete.

Ensure that each sentence sup[ports the main theme. Make certain that they are lucid and read easily. If there isn’t enough information in the paragraph to bring a successful conclusion, then it’s probably incomplete.

How many sentences should there be in a paragraph?

Some paragraphs are very short, others require a longer length. Asking how long a paragraph should be is almost like asking how long should be a piece of string. However, in general a good paragraph can certainly be achieved in four or five sentences: the first to set the theme, then two or three supporting sentences, by one to summarise. Try it. Here are a couple of ideas about which to write a paragraph:

  • Explain why …. is your favourite activity.
  • Describe your favourite room.
  • What makes classical music so enjoyable/ disagreeable

Go on, give one of these a try. You could even post it to this blog as a comment.

How to Write a Novel in a Month

write a novel in a monthNovember is ‘National Write a Novel in a Month’ month. That’s a challenge to write a 50,000 story, start to finish, in 30 days. ‘Can’t be done,’ I hear you screaming at the screen. Well, let me tell you that in the 2011 event, 256,618 authors attempted the feat with nearly 37,000 achieving the target. My betting is that of the ‘losing’ 220,000 participants, the vast majority would have completed their proposed novel if they had drawn up and then stuck to a game plan.

4 steps to write a novel in a month

Plan

Okay, so you can cheat a little. The writing begins on November 1st, but you can plan your novel out in advance. You’ve probably already got a storyline, so let’s make it easy and plan that story start to finish with a chapter by chapter outline. Note down the key events, characters involved in each chapter, where the action takes place, and work it all out in comparison to a story timeline. Make sure your novel is 25 chapters in length.

Don’t forget to write a character profile for the main players in your story.

This will probably take a morning to do properly, perhaps a little longer. As you work your way through this writing timetable, you’ll see that you could actually do this as your day one writing.

Star tip:

Write what you know. For this story you don’t want to undertake too much research. Make settings places you know, and jobs of characters the kind of job you’ve done. If you’re writing a crime thriller and don’t know about police procedural, then make the hero someone other than a police detective; if you’re writing erotica set in a brothel and know nothing about them, well, either get in your research quick or move the action somewhere else.

Calculate a daily word count

Okay, 50,000 words… that’s around 1700 words a day. But we’re going to say 2,000.

So, how long will it take to write 2000 words? For me, I can write head to page with a storyline I know (I’ve already planned it, right?), and with no research to be done, at about 1,000 to 1,200 words per hour. But I’m going to err on the side of caution, be conservative, and say two and a half hours. Calculate your writing speed, and how long you need to commit to write.

Now add on a half hour, because the first thing you’re going to do each day is to read what you written the day before and correct spelling and grammar. This one task is going to make your writing better, and keep you fully in touch with storyline and voice.

So, 25 chapters of 2,000 words is 25 days straight of writing.

Plan again

So, you know your story and how many words you will write each day. You also know how long you will have to commit each day to your writing. Let’s say three hours. ‘Can’t be done,’ I hear you moan. Well, let’s see about that, shall we? Here’s an example of how to make the time:

  • Get up an hour early – that’s one full hour.
  • Write through your lunch break – let’s say a half hour.
  • If you commute by train, that’s another hour a day at least.
  • When you get home from work, leave the kids with the child minder an extra hour, or let your partner take over. That’s another hour.
  • Forget watching an hour of soap. That’s another hour.

Wow, I’ve just discovered 5 hours each day that you never knew you had!

You’ve planned your story, you’ve planned your time. What nest?

Small steps to write a big novel

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to commit an entire morning every day to your novel writing. But that’s not a bad thing. Break your time down into smaller chunks, work where you work best as far as possible, and create mini-targets for each chunk of time. Reaching each gola will be another little battle won on the way to your final victory.

If you’ve got a blog, then why not put a short post highlighting your progress each day?

If you’re a member of a writing group, then team up with another writer and make a small slot each day to chat about your respective projects. Encourage your partner, and don’t be afraid to talk about any difficulties you have.

Cross the finishing line

If you plan well, avoid unnecessary distractions, stick to the task, and follow this simple plan, then you’ll hit your target. Not on 30th November, but on the 25th. Time for that well deserved break from writing, a glass of champagne, and a morning to plan your next novel in a month.

Oh, and don’t forget that you’ve now got a novel ready for editing and publishing.

We’ll keep you posted how we get on at WordPlay.

PS. If you really don’t think you could stretch to 50,000 words, then why not halve the word count and try for a Kindle Single, instead?

Help your kids to learn to write

leaning to writeIt seems that no one wants to get children to learn to write nowadays. Even the American education system has given up on teaching cursive writing. It’s not just the ability to physically write that is being given away, but the ability to use imagination, too. Even for those children (whatever age they happen to be) who want to write, there are automatic online plot and story line generators.

I don’t know about you, but my favourite lesson when I was a kid was English, especially the lessons when we were told to ‘write a story about …’: a fantastic way to learn spelling, grammar, how to form sentences, storylines, why paragraphs are paragraphs, etc, etc. Now, it appears, and like so many other educative needs, it is left to parents to teach the basics and beyond in a world that is moving toward predictive text and interactive video games. With so many parents time-stretched, here are a couple of ideas to help them get to grips with helping their kids learn to write;

Set up a daily diary

Often now, Mum or Dad arrive home after the kids have gone to bed. There is no time for little Jonny to tell his father excitedly about how he scored that great goal during the PE lesson. So set up a daily diary, where your child has to write about the one brilliant thing he or she has done that day, and stick it on the fridge (perhaps even with a picture). Dad, when you get in, you get to read and reply. Tell your child how great whatever it is they have done actually is, and tell them something about your day. This isn‘t just a great way to teach your child to write (and draw), but can be fun, and in years to come will be a history to look back on. And it also reinforces the positive things in a child’s life, helping to create a far more positive attitude.

Writing games

Why not, instead of allowing them to play video games in the bedroom, play a writing game with your children? This one is better with a few of you, and similar to the old game called ’Consequences’ (if you are old enough to remember).

You start with a sentence, and write it down. You pass the piece of paper to the person on your left, and they have to read the sentence out, and then carry on the story. The first sentence might be, for example:

“The King was very angry with the little Prince, who had broken a window with his football.”

The idea is that as you go around the table, the story is built and you probably fall about laughing. It also helps your children with their imagination and story forming skills, as well as reading and writing, and speaking in public.

Support and encourage

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to continually support and encourage your children in their efforts. Some children struggle, others breeze through the rigours of storytelling, and putting pen to paper. Give them plenty of praise for their efforts, and their confidence will grow. Make sure you always find plenty to praise, because you can then throw in one or two ‘small tips to get even better, if that were possible’. In no time at all, they’ll be writing stories like JK Rowling. And when that happens, you’ll be able to retire!

Of course, reading with your children is a great thing to do, too. Why not try KJ Rollinson’s Fallyn and the Dragons? Though don’t be surprised if your fridge has a story of the Dragon battled today, together with a picture of a flight into the unknown.

Fallyn and the Dragons

Writing about pain doesn’t have to be painful

writing about painI was recently asked by a friend how I approach writing about pain. I told her that I try to put myself in the position of the character I’m writing about, the event that caused the pain and relate that with personal experience.

“Give me an example,” she said.

Using experience to add authenticity to your writing

So I told her about a storyline I’m developing at the moment, in which the protagonist suffers the loss of his wife in tragic circumstances. I’ve lost two real good friends – though not my wife, thankfully – so I explained how I was using that experience in the telling of the story. How there’s a lump form in my throat every time I think of that person. How certain phrases or films, or even smells, bring back the memories. How there seems to be this dull ache in the centre of my chest that never goes away, though it does get easier to bear over time.

She looked a little quizzical when I’d finished explaining.

“I’m not sure that helps me. I don’t have any real experience to relate to.”

“What is it you’re writing?” I asked.

“A fight scene, and my hero gets viciously kicked in the groin, goes down, and takes a beating. No matter what I write, it doesn’t sound right. I’ve never been kicked there,” she said, pointing at her crotch, in final defence of her situation.

I pondered, rubbed my chin, and then realised exactly how best to explain the emotion she needed to feel in order to write the scene effectively.

No pregnant pauses when writing about pain

“You’ve got kids, right?”

“Yes.”

“What was childbirth like?”

“Oh, it was wonderful. Being handed my baby – both my babies – was just such a joyous experience. Seeing their eyes, feeling those little fingers and toes, their soft skin against mine…” Her eyes seemed to cloud at this point. Then she snapped out of her trance. “It made all the pain worth it,” she confided excitedly.

“Tell me about that pain.”

She took a couple of moments, thinking back long and hard, before she spoke. “Oh, my god! The pain: it’s like there’s a bowling ball trying to rip you apart from the inside. It stabs like a kitchen knife…  in, out, in out… and yet there’s this constant ache… no not an ache… more of an earthquake deep within you, rumbling away all the time… and then there’s this volcano erupting… oh, my god, I’d forgotten about all that!”

“Well, that pain of childbirth you just remembered: that’s what it’s like to get kicked in the nuts. Only having a knee in the groin is ten times worse. And there’s never any pleasurable experience at the end of it to take away that pain. That’s what it’s like.”

Remember your emotions, so your writing doesn’t kick where it hurts

The point is this, I suppose: we all tend to forget pain, anger, sorrow, and heartache. Part of the brain works like that. That’s why time is such a good healer. So if you’re having trouble writing about pain, rack your memory and relate to a real life experience. Or ask a man about the pain of being kicked where it hurts – that’s a feeling that never goes away.

Never let it be said that us fellas haven’t got a clue about how painful childbirth is. click to tweet

How do you write about pain or painful situations? Do you find it hard to maintain pain through a storyline? Let us know how you deal with pain and heartache in your stories.