Recently I attended a half-day workshop by Charles Euchner on using his Writing Code system. Charlie is charming, funny, Ã¼ber-intelligent and his list of achievements will knock your socks off. I know I was intimidated, but only a little because he is so easy to talk to. Anyway, I really liked his approach.
He utilizes the latest research on the brain and how we learn to make writing more intuitive. His book, which I am currently reading, explains everything fully. The Writing Code covers Storytelling, Construction and Analysis and is applicable to every kind of writing – from an email to a blog to an article to a novel. And though I will do my best here to give you a brief idea of what his system is about, he says it far better than me on his website (listed at bottom).
One of his techniques is to write everything in landscape mode versus portrait, to put only one sentence per line and to do it single space with a double space between paragraphs. Okay – I wanted to show you how I wrote this post this way but it doesn’t display correctly, so you’ll have to take my word for it…I wrote it landscape, one sentence per line. I do not, however, attest to my ability to write great sentences.
You should start every piece (sentences, paragraphs, sections or chapters, and novels) strong and end every piece strong. The technique gives you an opportunity to easily see if you are starting and ending strong. It has other editing advantages as well. It takes some getting used to, but I’m getting better.
Another thing Euchner has you do is a Character Dossier. And, this is not just the standard name, physical description and surface background. It asks you to go in depth and answer questions with some real thought. One might be who is that character’s foe in their youth. You don’t just say, “Bob.” You’d answer, “Bob used to torment Hero when they were in 5th grade because Hero had a slight lisp.” Or something like it.
In this way, you really begin to see the motivations that drive our characters. Not just in the ways immediately apparent to the current plot, but in ways that could subtly effect the way they react to minor things you hadn’t planned for in the story.
As I said, I’m reading the book now and trying the techniques he advocates. I’ve already learned things about my characters I didn’t know. That was cool.
I found a lot of merit in his methods which is why I’m not only trying his approach, but also blogging about it. Check it out if you need some fresh ideas or a new method to bolster your writing.
Here’s Charles Euchner’s website: http://www.thewritingcodesystem.com
Let me know what you think.