There are certain authors that stick to a formula and have found themselves to be very successful. In formula fiction, the plots are so predictable the reader can easily guess what’s going to happen. How many romantic comedies have you read where the two main characters meet cute, lose each other and then reconnect by story’s end? Using the same stock plots and characters will likely make both you and your readers grow bored.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Experiment with different styles and genres of writing. If you’re a very technical type of writer, try your hand at poetry. Do you normally write young adult novels? Attempt to create a short story for adults or very young children. I find a lot of my favorite works are from authors who did something completely different than what we are used to from them. As an example, I love the sci-fi adult novel The Host from Stephenie Meyer much more so than the Twilight series.
Use Writing Exercises
As cheesy as some of my creative writing assignments were in college, they were actually super helpful. Being forced to write about a certain scenario or theme can really change up your writing and create new ideas for future works. Writing exercises may involve you creating a story based on a photograph or provide you with a paragraph and ask you to continue the story.
Do the Research
With anything you write, you need to do a lot of research. Reading is a great way to keep your writing different. It means you’re constantly exposing yourself to new things and gaining new inspiration. Read stories about someone with experiences similar to your characters to gain more insight. First hand experiences can also change your writing for the better. For example, if you’re writing about teens, interview young adults to become more in tune with current trends and slang. Since a detective is one of the main characters of First Visions, I interviewed officers to get an idea about how certain things would be handled in an abduction case.
Imagine Being Inside of the Character’s Head
Changing perspectives can help keep your writing different. Even if the character has a lifestyle so removed from your own, it can be helpful to picture everything from their eyes. Sure, it can be hard to get into the head of a prostitute with a crack addiction, but it will most definitely vary your writing style. Think about what challenges she has to face. How would she typically interact with others? Remove yourself and write in what you would imagine her voice would sound like.
These are a few ways I try to keep my writing different and improve with each story I create. Writing is something that requires practice and consistently trying new things will make you a better writer.
First Visions (Second Sight #1)
by Heather Topham Wood
Released: May 1st 2012
Heather Topham Wood graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a
bachelor’s degree in English. Working full-time as a freelance writer for publications such as
USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine, she writes fiction
novels in her spare time. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons.
First Visions is the first novel in the Second Sight Series.
Follow Heather on Twitter and her blog to keep posted on her upcoming works: