Writing tips: story sprinklings

Hey y’all! So, I haven’t done a true writing tips kind of post in a long while… and, to keep myself from feeling guilty about it, I’m coming at ya with a fresh one today.

Now, today I’m talking about story sprinklings, which is a term I literally just made up. But it has a purpose.

Think of a vanilla cake. Yes, it has to be vanilla for this example. But, think of how good it can potentially taste… the creamy buttercream frosting, the fluffy, whipped layers of sponge, the strong essence of vanilla bean seeping through every bite…

Okay, yes, I have been watching an excessive amount of baking shows lately, but bear with me, guys.

Now, imagine a bite of that vanilla cake in your mouth, and imagine its the bomb dot com on your tongue. But, then you remember… it’s just vanilla, so is it really that exciting?

Back up to when we made that cake batter. We’re beating eggs, sifting flour, and stirring it all together. But, now we realize… it needs just a pinch of something else. So… we reach for the can of sprinkles.

We add those sprinkles into the batter and shake them out on top of the icing, and then–BOOM–we’ve got confetti cake!

(Or Funfetti for Pillsbury lovers.)

Now, imagine that confetti cake setting off actual bombs of candy shells in your mouth, and it’s suddenly no longer vanilla.

And now… imagine this scenario as your book.

Sometimes, the books we’re writing can start to feel a little bland after a while of mixing ’em up. They’re vanilla, which is still delicious when done right, but they can also benefit from adding a little something else.

So, what are the sprinkles in this version of reality?

I like to call book sprinklings the extra characteristics of life–the everyday occurrences that we often skip over. More simply put… book sprinklings are those short and sweet, but extra, events in any given chapter.

Sprinkle these babies all over throughout your pages, and howdy ho, you got yourself a confetti cake of a book, partner.

Of course, though, you may need some good examples of book sprinklings to get you started on really figuring them out for yourself. So, below I’ve listed a bunch that I came up with that you are absolutely free to use in your own writing or take inspiration from as you please.

Now, let’s get writing tip-sy!

Add these sprinkles to your chapters

  • A character just got pregnant!
  • A character just had a miscarriage…
  • A character got a new job!
  • A character lost a job…
  • A character got a new dog!
  • (You guessed it) A character lost a dog…
  • A character picked up a new hobby (piano, origami, baking maybe?)
  • A character took a fishing trip
  • A character planned a social event that didn’t exactly work out
  • A character’s kid got arrested at school
  • A character took an online class
  • A character got a call from a politician
  • A character got a haircut
  • A character vomited in the wrong situation
  • A character got braces
  • A character… lost a tooth
  • A character got a rash from a new soap
  • A character received someone else’s mail
  • A character’s friend moved away
  • A character spilled water on his/her expensive laptop
  • A character got catfished
  • A character got a tattoo

You can add these lil’ sprinkles throughout your work, and you can make them appear in just one sentence, or maybe through a couple of pages. The main goal is just to add interest and relatability for readers!

I like to come up with a small sprinkle every time I feel a sense of boredom while writing. I mean, just the other week during my writing session, I got bored and tried out the pregnancy thing on a character… who also happened to be a teen.

Let me know what you thought/think of book sprinklings and if you decide to use them yourself!

–Kari

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