Writing is all about choices. What a character does. What a character says. Deciding what happens next in your story. Too often, though, writers go for what first pops into their minds, and although this first instinct can sometimes be a stroke of true genius, other times it can be plain ol’ lazy! It’s important to push yourself to stay on top of your game and come up with creative choices throughout the many stages of development and writing.
One trick I really like is to use the fingers on my own hand and push myself to come up with five different choices. For example, if my hero suddenly discovered that his best friend had set up an interview for the same job as him, I'd ask myself these questions:
1) What is the most practical thing he would do?
2) What is the most ridiculous thing he would do?
3) What is the most careless thing he would do?
4) What is the most unexpected and genius thing he would do?
5) What is the most deceitful thing he would do? And…
6) What is the most honourable thing he would do?
Oops! I've used too many fingers there, but I hope you get the point! You might still decide to go with your first instinct, but you may find that after asking yourself this set of quick questions, you’ve come up with something much better!