Here’s what motivated you to write in 2020 (Part 1)

 In Monday Motivation, Richard Beynon's blog

For over seven years, Richard Beynon, co-founder of All About Writing and designer and facilitator of our Creative Writing Course, our screenwriting courses, and more, has motivated you with his Monday musings on writing, inspiration, and stories.

To date, Richard has written almost 400 Monday Motivations – which means that if you read one a day, it would take you over a year to get through them. Plus, you’d probably know almost everything there is to know about being a good writer.

We’ve rounded up the top 15 Monday Motivation blogs that you loved the most this year. Click here to read the full archive.

1. Write sentences that crackle, whirl, and lash

Let’s talk about writing at its most granular level, where the choice of words writers make affects our experience as readers on a second-by-second basis.

Take a passage like this, for instance:

David walks into the room. He goes to the window and looks out at the landscape beyond. Feeling a sneeze building somewhere in his sinuses, he puts his hand in his pocket and takes out his handkerchief. The sneeze doesn’t come. Feeling somewhat at a loss, he makes his way to the kitchen in search of Emily… [more]

2. “I got nicer everything” – D. Trump

Once, three or four years ago, I explored the possibility of creating a character like Donald Trump, then an unlikely candidate campaigning to become president of the United States.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, as Ted Kennedy might once have said.

Writers are happy to find inspiration wherever it pops up – and if that’s in a stadium in Tulsa, well, so be it. So here’s the prompt: Create a character inspired by the remarks that a politician makes to a highly partisan crowd… [more]

3. Beauty is clarity, clarity is beauty

One of the aspects of writing – and of teaching creative writing – that continually perplexes and frustrates me, is the difficulty, indeed the apparent impossibility, of teaching writers to write a good sentence.

The sentence, of course, is the basic building block of all narrative. However original your story, however striking your characters, however earth-shattering your ideas, if you can’t write a sentence then all these virtues are as naught. I often urge writers not to make beautiful writing their ambition… [more]

4. A character who enjoys arranging things in rows

Not everyone you encounter – or create – has a dome-like head, or eyebrows that bristle comically, or sports a distinctive portwine mark on her cheek, or is invariably accompanied, like Mr Krook from Bleak House, by a grey cat on his shoulder.

So how do you create distinctive characters? Well, first of all, you develop a habit of intense observation. In your next formal meeting, where you’re sitting with half a dozen people in a room listening to an interminable report on this or that, focus on the person opposite you. Find a distinct detail about their physical appearance… [more]

5. A little Latin to perk us up

A little Latin to perk us up: Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requires. Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

Of course you’ll all recognize this as one of Catullus’s most memorable epigrams. I did a couple of years of Latin at university, to service a law degree I ultimately decided to disdain, but I’m afraid that Catullus never appeared on my horizon. Virgil, yes; Cicero, yes; Horace, of course. But Catullus, not.

So I’ll forgive you if these lines don’t strike a bell… [more]

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monday writing motivation