Friday, June 26, 2009


Have you ever heard the writing advice, “Start with the day that’s different?” Accidents, arguments, mishaps, and other assorted life incidents can give a writer a foothold into that different day.

For instance, what makes a person snap? Have you ever written a scene (or story) in which the character looses control of his actions, words, and/or emotions? What motivates him, and how can you show it to the reader? Readers want characters who are interesting and complex. Real people lose their tempers and do rash things; the consequences can make an interesting story.

The “day that’s different” strategy also works in non-fiction. True crime stories depend upon a steady stream of logic-defying murders, thefts, and assaults. If we ask the question, “What were they thinking?”, it’s rhetorical. We know they weren’t thinking at all.

Are your characters always calm, or do readers also see them become impatient or angry? Do their actions cause them grief--or relief? What happens on that day, that different day?
Picture courtesy of David Ritter at

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