I posted this a few years ago and decided it was worth another shout out. The holiday season is hectic and full of fun, but it’s important to keep those writing skills up. Here are some suggestions I hope will inspire!
The 12 Elves of Christmas
- Elf 1 says- Find a holiday writing prompt and write a scene about 500 words. I borrowed this one from Writer’s Digest: Christmas Ghost
While hanging up your Christmas lights, you are flagged down by a neighborhood kid who offers to help. As he helps you, he tells you about the Christmas ghost that haunts his house. What’s odd is that you’ve noticed the same things happening around your house. Write this scene.
- Elf 2 says- What is your voice? Do you like to write in short staccato sentences or are you more flowing? Are you spontaneous? Or more methodical? Our voice is ultimately what comes out of us. Do you have a writer that you really admire? Do you like their voice? Take a few pages from your book and try to re-write it using their voice, their style. You might be surprised at what comes from this exercise.
- Elf 3 says- Take an emotion that is commonly written about- let’s say “gut wrenching”. Now dig deeper and create a list of different, deeper, ways of making this emotion tangible. (Thank you Donald Maas for this one.) Take a trip out of the surface emotions into unchartered waters. Your writing will be better!
- Elf 4 says- Create 5 new titles for your current WIP. What elements will you choose to highlight? How does it “color” your book differently?
- Elf 5 says- Write the top ten things that must happen in your book before you put in the final period. Even if you are a pantster like me, you should be able to make this list. Use it as a road map or a check off list. (Thank you Will Graham for this brilliant idea.)
- Elf 6 says- Read two chapters out of a new craft book. Write down 3 things you just learned. Post it by your computer, and try using those items the next time you write on your WIP.
- Elf 7 says- Get your writing buddies on board and do a page swap. No editing, no rewriting to prepare it for others to read. Just swap the last page you all wrote for FUN- only for FUN!!
- Elf 8 says- Take an experience your character will have and try to experience it yourself. If they are eating oatcakes from a medieval feast, then prepare some yourself. If they are in a rain forest, try going into a steam room fully clothed and do some kind of activity. If they are going to shoot a gun, go to a firing range and try it out. Use all of your senses!
- Elf 9 says- Use a timer (There are several free ones online or a simple kitchen timer will work!) and do a 5 minute brain storming session on finding a $1000 poker chip from the 1960s behind a loose board in a boarding house you just bought to remodel into a B and B. (Again- thanks Will Graham.)
- Elf 10 says- Take 5 chapters and search for comfort words. Start off with “just” and “that”. You can highlight all of them with the push of a button and try eliminating as many as possible. Easy way to improve your chapters!
- Elf 11 says- Read a book. That’s it- just read a good book.
- Elf 12 says- Press the power button on your computer, scoot your chair away from your desk and walk out of the room. Never, never forget this is a time for celebrating family and friends. Enjoy them. Revel in your time together. Find peace and contentment in this season. The book will still be there next week.