This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Saturday, February 08, 2014

What Two Things Must Writers Have?

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

#writing #fiction #plotting

New authors and many seasoned authors alike need to understand one concept:

Your stories need to be a tangible experience for YOU before it is possible to be a tangible experience to your readers.

We discuss plot twists, deep POV, 3D characterization, realistic dialogue, sensory, emotion and settings, but what it all boils down to is the reader's ability to experience the story as it unfolds. This is something that my graphic design and motion graphics experience has taught me about writing. I learned the individual elements in writing workshops, but it has really come to life for me in my motion graphics tutorials.

Are you the type of writer who sees, hears your characters as if you are watching them in a movie as you write the story? Or are you the type of writer who is sees, hears, feels and tastes what the characters are experiencing as you write the story?

I propose that you need to do both.

Plotters, as you write and plot the story, it isn't enough to know what is going to happen next, you need to imagine it. See it in your mind. Pansters, as it unfolds and you are surprised by what happens next, allow your imagination to see it. This will bring a deeper depth to your story. What are your characters wearing? What is the setting around them? What do they sound like? 

Reread what you have written and now experience it. What is an appropriate reaction to what just happened? What are they feeling? What is going through the character's mind? Think of the view as your character walks down a hall. What do they see? 

Let's be realistic. Writing is hard. Critiquers and reviewers are often harsh. When our books go through sales slumps, it seems like no one cares and the effort isn't worth it. Self-doubt attacks us and the negative thoughts challenge our creative spirit. A deadline is like a heavy noose around our neck and the light or spark of creativity seems extinguished. 

Yet, we write, and as we write, we wonder if everything we are writing will have to be rewritten. It seems as if we are going through the motions of writing. We keep telling ourselves to just get it on the screen. We can fix it later. On and on we struggle. 

But then, we are inspired by a good review, a happy reader, another writer who understands, or a new idea for a plot twist hits us in the middle of the night.  Then out of no where, the muse is back. The words are pouring out of us. 

Sometimes these inspirations do not come and nothing sparks the muse or re-inspires us. We can't seem to FEEL the story. What then?

When this happens. Stop. Take a break and think back to when you were first inspired to write this story. What was it that motivated you? Go back to that place in your mind and allow your heart to travel with you. Imagine it as a movie and then place yourself in the movie. 

Writers can't write without imagination and heart...these are God-given gifts...use these gifts to bring your words to life in a tangible experience...first to yourself as the author and then to your readers.