Monday, October 14, 2013

CRAFT CORNER: Playing With Your Words

by Isabo Kelly

It's very easy to get so caught up with what you're supposed to do when you're writing, you forget the reasons you started writing in the first place. Love of story, joy in creation, and unadulterated fun at seeing those movies in your head come to life on the page. Since it's summer time, a time to sit back and enjoy--and play--let's talk a little about having fun with your fiction.

Playing with your WIP can happen in many ways. That play may never end up in the final manuscript, but it actually can prove invaluable to your ultimate final product. You have to remember that not everything you write needs to end up in the novel, but none of the work is wasted time. All writing helps you in some way.

So go ahead and explore that tangential scene that just sounds like fun. You know it doesn't fit in the book. In fact, it won't even make sense in the progression of the plot. There is no way it can be included. But what the hell? There's absolutely nothing to lose by exploring.

Curious how other characters view your MCs but not writing the kind of book that can support a host of point-of-views? Write scenes from those alternate POVs anyway. See the scenes from a different perspective. Hey, you might gain insights that help solve problems you've been having with the characters or plot.

Never written in first person? Present tense? Dialect? Third person? Second Person? A foreign language? Erotic? Sweet? Give it a go, just for fun. Leave out all the punctuation for a scene. Skip the dialogue tags and write the conversation like you're writing a script. Do this without the character names included and it can even help you see if your characters have distinct voices. See, no wasted time. There's always some little bit of added benefit that will come out of the exercise.

Try writing a short story for your main characters that no one will ever see, something that is maybe even "out of character" for them, but so much fun it makes you giggle as you type. And if your giggle is maybe a tad wicked or sadistic, you don't ever have to admit to it! That's the great part of all this play.

Write fan fiction based on your book. Take characters that in the actual story can't or shouldn't do certain things because it just won't work and isn't part of the plot, then give them the chance to explore those things. No one has to know.

Too often we forget that the writing is the fun part of this job, or at least it should be. We get hung up on business, deadlines, contracts, promotion, submissions, rejections, an ever-changing industry, awards, bad reviews, and strict craft expectations. But remember before all that was a thing in your life? When it was all about the excitement of telling yourself a story on the page? Those things are important, to your mental health as a writer as well as to your long term career.

Remembering to play will help you fight frustration, a sense of being overwhelmed, and burned out. But it will also help you develop your skills as a writer and discover things about your world you might not have otherwise known. Play is never time wasted. In fact, many would argue it's vital. So go for it. Play with your words. I promise, I won't tell if you don't.♥

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:    Isabo Kelly plays both on the page and out loud to keep herself entertained and make sure the writing stays fun. She does, however, do the aloud play in the privacy of her own home because it makes her look a little nuts. But she encourages others to do whatever they're comfortable with! Isabo's latest science fiction romance, THE SECRET OF NARAVA, benefited from a great deal of play. For more on Isabo and her books, visit her at, follow her on Twitter @IsaboKelly or friend her on Facebook

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