The best writing tips are always the ones that sound the least appealing. We all want to be the kind of writer who takes themselves off to a garret somewhere, brain dumps a masterpiece – probably on a typewriter for extra writerly points – then emerges blinking into the light, manuscript in hand, to accept their royalty cheques and general public adoration. Spoiler alert: those writers don’t, and have never, existed.

Nope, writing is a long game. You have to learn your craft and figure out your process. You have to draft and re-draft and throw it all out and start all over again.

One particularly groanworthy writing tip that is probably total genius and undoubtedly works, is this little gem from Taika Waititi that popped up on one of my social feeds the other day. Full disclosure, I’m mostly starting with this so as to make my own writing tip seem less arduous. Because my tip is comparatively quick.

Incidentally, if you haven’t seen JoJo Rabbit, where the intro clip to the above comes from, then you need to. It’s Nazi Germany through the eyes of a child and it’s brilliant, it’s beautiful, it’s heart breaking, and it’s hilarious. So if you haven’t seen it, stop whatever you’re doing and go watch it right now.

Actually, what you’re doing right now is reading this post. So, er, I guess give it five mins while you finish reading this, then go watch it?

Er, was there a point to this…?

Ah yes, sorry. This top tip was passed to me by one of the brilliant coaches at Script Angel and I use it all the time:

If in doubt, make a list.

Not sure how to resolve your plot? List all the possible options. Can’t decide which witty retort your antagonist should go with? Get out that pen and paper. Struggling to name one of your characters? Write. That. Shiz. Down.

Not exactly earth shattering, Debs.

I know, but here’s the genius bit.

Get your list to at least 30 options (I heard that groan and don’t worry, it makes me groan too). And I shall tell you for why.

1 – 10 will be perfectly solid, usable ideas. You may even end up going with one of these but push on anyway. Why? Because those first ten ideas are usually kind of obvious.

11 – 20 will probably be ridiculous. Of course The DeLorean shouldn’t rock up in the middle of your Edwardian drama, but write it down anyway. Have a little game to see how ludicrous you can get because…

21 – 30 is where you strike gold. Once you’ve dug through the layer of obvious stuff and got all the nonsense out of the way, you’ll find that your brain starts coming up with some really interesting ideas.

Works for me every time!

Written by : Debs Wardle

I'm a writer and voice artist based in Oxfordshire, UK. I love nothing more than helping creatives make their content sparkle, be that through collaborating on a script, providing them with a voice over for their marketing campaigns, or with a cheeky spot of copy editing or copy writing.

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