I feel that I'm failing a bit on the title of this blog.
Firstly, I haven't done any novel writing to speak of. I have started this year's Nanowrimo, but really, it's a half-hearted effort. I'm far more interested in writing poetry these days.
Also "jutsu" is borrowed from "Jujutsu" or "Karate-jutsu".
"Jujutsu" is 2 pieces, "Ju" meaning "soft" or "softness", and "jutsu" meaning "art" or "technique". This is different from "Judo", which means the "way of softness", which is far more spiritual in meaning. I won't bore you with my martial arts history background, but the "jutsu" is about techniques, and the art of things. It can be applied to almost anything, including poetry, sculpting, fighting, driving a car etc...
Essentially, it is everything that goes into making something effective, not just a collection of techniques, but how to use them, drills for practicing and any way that can be used to make X effective for Xjutsu.
So, I have been lax in not having the blog live up to its name, i.e. what are some exercises, techniques and so on that will help you write.
I have to say, the most useful of all the tools I've used to help with poetry is free writing. That is, just block off a portion of time, ten minutes works well, set your alarm and just write, write, write until the alarm goes off. I like to do this a few times with a break in-between.
This switches off your internal editor and lets your brain loose and your subconscious out a little more than usual. You'd be amazed what can come of free writing. Most of it is just random junk, but some of the best lines from my poems come from there. I don't get entire poems out of it very often, but usually the seed of something more.
And, if you are suffering from writer's block, this is a great way to unblock yourself. Just get something moving and it's a step in right direction.
If nothing is coming to mind, just start saying, "Nothing is coming to mind. I can see the tv in the corner, a stain on the rug... etc..." and you'll gradually come unstuck. Some books I've read on the topic say you should just keep writing, "Nothing is coming to mind. Nothing is coming to mind. Nothing is coming to mind..." until something does. There's something to be said for the fingers doing writing.
I prefer typing, since it goes even faster than writing on paper, but there's a tactile aspect to using a pen and paper, so I will use both at different times.
I will try and throw a few other exercises in future posts. I've started with what I consider most useful.
In essence, all writing exercises have one thing in common, i.e. start with SOMETHING rather than nothing. Common in writing exercises that I've seen is starting in a different place from where you usually start, so a specific word you wouldn't normally use, "crackerjack" or "root" or "shiv" and away you go in a different direction.