This week I will send my eldest off to summer camp for the first time. I remember going to camp many times as a kid and I loved almost every bit of it. But I’ve never done this before as a parent. For every experience, however, there must be a first time. Summer camp is almost a rite of passage, and there’s no time quite like the first time.
Your writing prompt for this week is:
Assign yourself a certain amount of words to write each day. Hit your target.
If you’ve ever participated in a NaNoWriMo event, you may have experienced the near-debilitating aftermath. For an entire month, writing is the central focus of your life and daily word counts are pursued obsessively. In the days following the event, the sudden release from the word count demand can have a negative impact on your writing progress. This week, give yourself that daily word count goal again and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be to the same level as a NaNaWriMo event. The important thing is to stay consistent, and to keep moving forward.
I haven’t started reading a new writing craft book yet, so I went searching for writing tips on the Internet. Given the theme of the opening paragraph of this week’s post, I decided to see what I could learn about writing beginnings.
Beginnings are crucial to any written work, but I think even more so for a longer work such as a novel. A reader wants to know right away that they are investing their time in something worthwhile. One blogger suggests these three tips for writing great beginnings:
- Have a fantastic first line.
- Introduce your main character as soon as possible.
- Hint at what’s to come.
It’s great, simple advice. You can read the full article here at thewritepractice.com.
Since we’re talking about beginnings, one thing beginning writers struggle with is style. Everyone wants to have a unique writing style, not one that feels like a copy of someone else. Some advice from Strunk and White’s Elements of Style:
Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than the mood and temper of the author. If the writing is solid and good, the mood and temper of the writer will eventually be revealed and not at the expense of the work. Therefore, the first piece of advice is this: to achieve style, begin by affecting none—that is, place yourself in the background. … As you become proficient in the use of language, your style will emerge, and when this happens you will find it increasingly easy to break through the barriers that separate you from other minds, other hearts—which is, of course, the purpose of writing, as well as its principal reward.
Please consider sharing your response to the writing exercise. Got a question? Just ask!