In last Sunday’s writing prompt, I mentioned I use what I call “practice stories”; today, I’m going to elaborate on what I meant by that and how I do it, and maybe you could try it out the next time you are just lying in bed or sitting on the couch with nothing to do.
A practice story for me is a short story or scene in non-written (just going over it in my head) form that consists of a concept, characters, character backgrounds and events that lead from Point A to Point B, from Point B to Point C, and so on until the end; the difference between my “practice stories” and the ones I post online are that not all elements are present in each story and not all elements are stressed upon/delved into. With practice stories, I come up with the basics needed to go over one or two moments in details and work on flashing out these moments and them alone. I work on a scene making it as realistic or as surreal as it needs to be, then skip over to the next scene I want to practice with.
Let’s say I want to practice two scenes: Character A and Character B breaking up and getting back together.
- I first create the characters, how they met and how they got together, because I need those things to get to the breakup, but I don’t bother with details.
- I then think of their reason for breaking up and go over the break up scene in my head, this time with details. I would think of which POV is best for the scene; I would think if the scene would be better with the characters on their own or in public; I would repeat the dialogue lines in my head, testing if they feel better with Character A speaking in a quiet, broken voice or shouting in anger at Character B and so on. I’d go over these again and again, until I’m satisfied and then move on.
- The scenes where each character is trying to go on with their life without the other are not the ones I want to practice on so I’d go over them quickly and move on to the next scene I want to work on: A and B getting back together. Like with the breakup scene, I’d go over tone, POV and the other details.
You can write these down, but I personally don’t as it takes me a lot of time and it’s easier to edit in my head. Still, these in-my-mind-only scenes (and sometimes short stories) help me improve my descriptions and build up characters, which in turn improves the stories I do end up writing and posting on Wattpad. Scenes from my practice stories often make their way into my Wattpad ones and they are easier to write because I’ve already imagined them in my head at some point. They also tend to end up more vivid than if I just sit down and write them right away without going over them in my mind.