How Channel-hopping Can Help Your Writing


If you’re like me, you’re always thinking about your next writing project.

But getting started isn’t always that easy, is it? Or maybe getting started is easy, but you find yourself getting stuck after a few paragraphs or pages?

I may have a solution for you.


Are there any channel-hoppers among you? That is, with TV remote in hand, you scan the TV channels one way, and then the other, not quite settling on one programme to watch. I have to confess, I do that on occasion, especially if there is nothing I particularly want to watch that night.

Speaking to my female fiction colleagues, it seems to be a common trait among their menfolk — sorry, guys. In our defence, it’s a way of filling our minds with as much “knowledge” as possible, and has nothing to do with our short concentration spans . . .

This made me think of how similar a “story scene hopping” practice could help your writing.

I often hear from my writers that they have an idea for a story, but when it comes for them to expand on the idea, they falter, not knowing where to start.

Where to begin

Do you always need to start at the beginning when writing a story? Not necessarily.

The ending might be clear in your mind, or there will be a piece of dialogue which you know will work to good effect, though you are unsure in which scene it will occur.

If it were me, I’d suggest writing out the scenes that do work for you, and placing them to the side for now.

And then, in a channel-hopping sense, let your mind wander and see what other scenes naturally form around them.

Generally, and without much effort, your imagination will often begin to take hold.

Then you’ll eventually find yourself at the beginning of the story, with characters waiting to take you on new and exciting adventures.

You can find more tips in our Writing tools section.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.