3 Writing Tips from the Season

Creative writing tips, courtesy of the season:

  • Peppermints! When you add sensory details to a story, the most common is visual details. The two most neglected are olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste). Flavors of the season are peppermint, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Gifts! Give your character something to hold in his/her hands. It’s one of the easiest and best ways to characterize someone, while providing you, the writer, with great verbs. Put an iron skillet in Grandma’s hands and watch her rustle up a meal for the 30-odd relatives coming by tomorrow.
  • Trees! The setting of a story can add to the mood, if you choose the right details. A pathetic, sad tree is aluminum, thin, sparse, leaning. A cheerful tree is straight, full, soft fir needles, well-lit, glowing, radiant. Be precise in the details you use and you’ll evoke a mood to support (or contrast) with your character’s inner life.
  • Worship! Just as the Wise Men, shepherds and angels worshiped the birth of the Christ, so we should remember to keep life in perspective. Writing is fun and consuming, but there’s more to life than just writing. Take time off to enjoy your family, attend a madrigal feast (I’m going Thursday night!), go caroling with friends, and ponder the Deep Magic of this special child.
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