Writing Engagement – A checklist of what you should be doing

In the previous week, I shared with you my checklist of things I try to avoid as a writer or be aware of in my words. It will most likely be of no surprise, to now expect a list of what you should include as a writer. This is of course just my opinion but you may find some use for it never the less. 

Feel free to print this off and use it as a guideline.

  • Dramatic Characters – Especially if there are many. e.g. a fat man could cause the room to shake as he slugs down the stairs. 
  • Good description – Weave it in. Choose the right detail. What makes them unique? Use the character’s viewpoint and personality. Minimum, relevant details allow the reader to use there imagination.   
  • Like a film – Tell the story like you’re watching a film or looking through a camera. All you’re doing is saying what you see. Good characters have the control. 
  • Work in reverse – A handy tool if you’re struggling to create your plot. If you know what the climax or end of your story is. Write that first and work in reverse order. 
  • Use yourself – Using your own fears, desires, passions etc is a great way to create depth in characters if you’re struggling. An overly descriptive person (me) who doesn’t understand the meaning of words but uses them to be important (not me), see how you can create from yourself.
  • To begin with – Try to use different ones such as, I imagine, I feel, I picture, I can picture, I think.  
  • Be precise and exact with words – Don’t waffle. Get rid of anything that doesn’t directly add to the story. If you love what you’ve written, save it for another story where it fits better. 
  • Be creative – Think outside of the box.  
  • The fourth wall – A handy technique in some stories, breaking that fourth wall and talking to the reader is a great way to keep them entertained and adds wonderful depth if done right. 
  • Italics – Use italics for someone’s exaggerated wording in speech. 
  • Set up expectations – Make the reader continue to read in order to find the answer. E.g. refer to something that happened in the past but don’t tell the reader what it is. Keep them guessing. 
  • Fitting naturally – Anything you write needs to fit naturally in the story in order for it to flow well for the reader. Don’t write random accounts of a past memory if nothing the character is doing would cause the recollection to appear. 
  • Foreshadowing – Foreshadowing focuses on dropping hints about certain things that the reader may or may not pick up on. If done well it can really bring the ending together nicely. 
  • Prologue – Prologues are sometimes a great way to begin a story. Whether it’s the beginning of a romance in which someone gets divorced or the beginning of a horror where someone wakes up on the floor, covered in blood. It can be a great way to engage the reader. 
  • A good plot – Character + Problem = your plot. Meet the requirements for a story. 
  • Twists and turns – This goes unsaid. You want an exciting story. Otherwise, you might as well be writing a dictionary.             
  • Character profiles – Create a profile of a character and stick to it. Write every little detail. The evilest of people make sense in their own head. 
  • Use the five sensesSight, sound, smell, taste, touch. 
  • Living to the scene – Live to the scene and character. An old lady, for example, might notice someone not wearing a coat if it’s raining out. Simple things like this can remind you of the character and connect to them more. 
  • Metaphors – Be clever with your words. 
  • Words saying more – Create hidden meanings with your words for example through attitude, beliefs and feelings. 
  • Fewer words – It’s better to have fewer words that are more relevant than to drone on.
  • Make it obvious when speaking – Don’t make readers have to use there brain too much. They will lose interest. Use hints, yes, but don’t make things difficult for your intended audience. 
  • Write like you’re having a good day -Try to write like you’re having a good day. Put 100% into your work to create good work. 
  • Something happens often – Something exciting needs to happen fairly often to keep the reader turning the pages. Every 250 pages minimum is a good guide to keep people interested in the story. 
  • Trends and fads – Try to avoid writing about specific trends and fads to avoid the story seeming outdated and not connecting with younger readers. Usually, there’s no need for such specifics anyway. 

I will continue to add to this checklist as I add more into my notes. Writing is indeed a learning curve and it never stops. If you think of something you feel like should be on the list or perhaps you disagree with something. Comment below and let me know. I’ll reply ASAP to your comments.

2 thoughts on “Writing Engagement – A checklist of what you should be doing

  1. Great additions Charlie! Have you ever thought of giving creative writing classes? As an ex-teacher (I taught high school French until I retired), I believe you would be outstanding! Just a thought. Have a great day. Cheers!

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