Friday, April 3, 2009

Writing From the Right Side of the Brain

Hello, writers—I'm thrilled to be the guest blogger on Adele's fabulous site! I'm the creator of The Writer's Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the "Write" Side of your Brain.

Writing from the right side of the brain means writing from that part of your brain that's intuitive and nonlinear, and maybe even a little illogical. When you write from the right side of your brain, you're willing to make unexpected leaps and transitions in the narrative that doesn't always make sense—not at first glance, anyway, but later down the road, it does make sense. But all this involves a leap of faith and a willingness to take creative risks.

Actually, it's very similar to the technique improvisational actors and musicians use to create original scenes and unexpected riffs. You've seen it on Who's Line is It Anyway?, where a character playing, say, the part of a new doctor will get a line from the audience, and even though it would seem very odd for someone playing a doctor to pronounce, "There's nothing I like better than a ripe banana!" the actor makes it work, and somehow makes it make sense. That's the challenge and that's the delight of the right brain—whether you're acting or painting or making music or writing.

But rather than talking about it, let me show you. Let's get started on a game. Here's your first sentence, taken directly from The Writer's Toolbox:

Dad gave me a wink, like we were pals or something.

Now, you've got one week to write the first 500 words for the beginning of a short story. No more. Just 500 words. Next week, you'll get a nonsequitur sentence. Week three, you'll get another and, finally, a last prompt to take you to the end of your story.Oh, and have fun!

Respond to the prompt by sending your entry to After the month-long contest closes, we'll judge the entries, and the winning entry will be announced and posted on the blog. The winner will receive The Writer's Toolbox.

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