Sorry that Part 2 is so late. It has been a difficult week. I might even post about it, but who knows…
Listen to your subconscious mind
Your subconscious mind is very powerful. Relax and write the raw words that form in your head as fast as you can. Within the subconscious mind are stored the memories of every sight, smell, sound, sensation, and every thought and feeling you have ever had. You already have the story stored in your head. Listen to it. You have to allow the thoughts and images of your subconscious mind bubble forth and write!
I like using random topics because they encourage your mind to look at images and focus on thoughts and words with no planning or preconceived objectives. This allows the story to flow.
Use the most visual and concrete language available. When I ask a class of writing students what image pops into their head when I say the word “dog.” Twenty different students give me twenty different pictures: a yellow-lab, my beagle-border-collie mixed breed that I had as a child, a German Shepard, a labra doodle, Marmaduke… you get the idea. Each person has a specific image in their mind when you write the world “dog.”
A lot of times even the writer is not aware of the vagueness of the word that has been transcribed upon the page. And these differences can contaminate the atmosphere you are creating for the reader. Get in the habit of using language that is as close to the thoughts in your head. Watch out for vague words that can be specific.
Don’t write “store” when you mean Kroger, Walmart, Macys or Packard’s General Store. Each word creates a very different setting and expectation. Don’t write “snack” when you mean a huge-bowl of buttered popcorn, carrot and celery sticks, a slice of homemade apple pie or a Hostess Twinkie. This takes practice, so don’t worry if you don’t do this right away, just try to be aware of it.
Face your dark side
Flash writing can make you uncomfortable. You may find yourself writing things on paper that you never dared to say out loud. You may be afraid of your words and what others might think about you if they knew that you wrote this.
- Any strong or passionate emotion
Fear is a powerful weapon of the Inner Critic. Confront these fears and write about those things that you are uncomfortable expressing. Acknowledge the fear, but write anyway.
The dark side is all of those feelings that you repress, all the harsh words left unspoken, all the destruction kept in check. It is our bad temper, selfish tears, and outlandish behavior. It is also essential for creating conflict and dramatic tension in your work. If you repress your dark side relentlessly, writing may be impossible. How are you going to get into the head of a villain, or a character about to make a disastrous mistake?
Strengthen your writing by tapping into the incredible creative energy possessed by your dark side.
Understand your first draft might suck
The Inner Critic tries to convince you that your writing is crap, that the story is a waste of time, an embarrassment to you, your family, and the entire town in which you live. Ignore it. Get the words down on paper now. You can refine them later. Resist the urge to shred the paper and burn it in your trash can. These feelings pass with time and practice. Most writers hate their first drafts.
And those are the guidelines for using the Flash Writing Technique. Try them out and let me know what you think.
If you missed the Flash Writing Technique for Creative Writing (Part 1), just click on this link.