Writing Exercises to Try
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Week Two Hundred - Listening to Your World
This week you're going to take the information you gathered last week and write a scene between three friends. Place them in your setting whether a home preparing dinner together or in the park, mall, or grocery store. One of them has a problem and the other come up with ideas to help. They disagree on how to help.
Have fun and enjoy the natural dialogue and setting and adding the conflict.
Week One Hundred and Ninety-Nine – Listening to Your World
For this exercise, you will need a small pad of paper and pen. If you can, leave your home and go somewhere–a park, a mall, the grocery store, somewhere. The idea is to write down everything you hear. Snippets of people talking (not entire conversations–that’s eavesdropping and will cause you trouble–example of ’people talking’ is when you’re waiting in line and you overhear the clerk and the customer in front of you talking–write it down after you leave the store), the ocean, birds–describe the bird making the sound, frogs, the whir of a car passing, whatever it is. If you can’t leave your home today, turn off the tv and just listen to all the sounds your home makes–the puppy slurping water, the cat hissing when he gets too close, the hum of the computer, the whirling of the dishwasher, the house shaking as a truck passes.
This exercise will do two things. First, it will help make the environment of your characters more real. Second, you will see next week.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Eight - Dialogue Me Again
Let's add one more person to the scene. You've written the scene from last week. Now in the middle of the argument add someone both characters know. This new character is invited to join them. How does this new addition change the scene? Have fun. Be unpredictable.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Seven - Dialogue Me
Dialogue is a tricky matter. Let us begin simply. Write a dialogue between two people who are sitting, eating dinner in a restaurant, and they are discussing a problem. Use a name and the word said exactly once for each speaker. At intervals, add either before or after the character speaks an action.
Example: "It's hard to talk about." Joe wiped his mouth with his napkin. -- Now you try it. Write not more than a page. Do not add any adverbs onto "said." Now go forth and write dialogue.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Six - Descriptions of People
Description is difficult to write, however writing the description of a person while they are in action, makes it less narrative and more alive. Write descriptions of five different people while they are doing something. It could be the way the grandmother looked as she made a pie. It could be the runner in a roadrace as he's slowing and deciding whether or not to keep going. Capture their mannerisms, their quirks, what they physically look like and what their environment is doing to them. The grandmother might have flour on her nose. She rubs at it and it spreads to her silver hair. When she sprinzes the dough with water, the splash sprinkles tiny drops of light giving her a glow. Her eyes just as blue as when she was twenty twinkle. I think you have the idea. Now write.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Five - Get Gritty
This week we're going to focus on writing description within action. "He sped away, his tires cutting the asphalt with fire." What do think? Did it get your attention? Did it evoke an image in your mind? Write down ten actions and practice writing sentences that make that action a living thing.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Four - Human Nature
A lot of families are getting together this weekend. If you're going out instead, discreetly observe a nearby table or the waitstaff. It's time to watch how people interact with each other. Write a simple scene of conversation at the dinner table. Watch how it goes and what topics come up. This is great practice for writing realistic dialogue.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Three - Research
Research is vital to writing. Write down three topics you want to write about. Go to the library and take out a book on at least one of those topics. If you can't go to the library, go online and do some research on that topic. Read several websites on the subject. If you can buy a book, that's even better. Take that book and read for a hour before you go to bed. Then go to sleep. You may find out that you're dreaming your story. As soon as you wake up, write for at least 15 minutes on your story. Repeat this process every night and morning for the week. You're going to be surprised at what you've written come by next Sunday. Have fun. Be open to the adventure.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Two - The Tale of A Dog or A Cat or A Spider
Today is your chance to write a memory of a pet that you've had. Or you can write about the adventures of a current pet. If you've never had a pet, you can imagine what pet you might choose. Write a scene showing that first meeting. This is for your practice, for safe keeping, for exploring the emotional side of a character.
Week One Hundred Ninety - One - Transform Me
Let's play with our writing. I hope you've seen the movie "Transformers." If not, please, rent it and watch it with a large bowl of popcorn. It's fun. Next I want you to look around your home and choose one inanimate object (ex. toaster, microwave oven, etc.) and write a scene where it transforms into something else (not an alien robot. That's been done.) Have fun and stretch your writing skills.
Week One Hundred Ninety - Reflection
This week we're practicing writing descriptions. Look in the mirror and write a description of yourself. Do this three times with each time trying to bring in more details, emotions, and actions.
Week One Hundred Eighty - Nine - Goal Setting
This week set a daily writing goal for yourself--one page, two pages, or three. It's not my goal, it's yours. If you miss it one day, try again the next. If you don't have a story in your head, begin by writing descriptions of the people and places around you. Set a goal to make writing a part of your daily life.
Week One Hundred Eighty - Eight - The Snow Storm
Last week you took a natural setting and wrote a story. This week I'd like you to write about a person or creature lost in a snow storm. Explore the concept in your mind and write fast. Be detailed and make it a sensory experience.
Week One Hundred Eighty - Seven - Step Outside
Wherever you live, you have a natural setting for a story. Take a few minutes and step outside. Absorb the atmosphere of your surroundings, and open yourself up to wonder. Write a scene about a person moving into your area for the first time. Write details on what this person is seeing and how he or she feels about it. Step outside and really see the world around you. This is what make writing live.
Week One Hundred Eighty - Six - Valentines
It is often easier to write about something after the event. Write down one of your experiences that happened on Valentine's Day. It could be a childhood tale of exchanging cards or a later romance. Have fun with it.
Week One Hundred Eighty - Five - Dream
For one week, keep a journal of what you dream. If you do not dream at night, then write down your daydreams. The author of TWILIGHT announced in an interview that she dreamed her books. This is not unusual. I dream almost everything I write. So do a lot of other authors. Now it's your turn. Put that pen and pad of paper on the nightstand. Sweet Dreams!
Week One Hundred Eighty - Four - Appreciation
Write about something you love to do. This is just for you, for practice. You may want to start keeping a journal if you don't already do. Writers' lives are interesting.
Week One Hundred Eighty -Three - Kidnapped
This week your character walks out of their place of employment and two men grab him or her, pulling a sack over his or her head, and shoves him or her into a car. The rest is up to you. Be scary. Be wild. But most of all, get your character out of there. Save the day. Be inventive. Be unique. Stretch your creative abilities. Write fast. Your character only has twenty-four hours.
Week One Hundred Eighty - Two - The Theme Party
Write a story about going to a theme party and the strange incident that happens there. Show dialogue between deeply detailed characters. Make the strange incident a show stopper. Everything stops when it happens. Show action and surround your story with sounds and smells. Create an atmosphere for your party and be sure to show how it changes when the incident happens. ACTION!
Week One Hundred Eighty - One - The Storm
Write a story about your most exciting storm. In addition to your characters expressing their feelings through actions and words, make the storm a vibrant living part of every moment. Show the storm in action, light, sound, and scent--unrelenting. Oooh!
Here are some of the exercises from past weeks. Enjoy! (The exercises for Weeks 1-99 are available by sending an email requesting those exercises. If you have any questions or would like to share your writing experience with this exercise, feel free to email Susan at [email protected] The mailing list is not sold, shared, or given to anyone and the information on it is kept strictly confidential.
Week One Hundred Eighty - A New Day
Write a story about a birthday wish. Explore with words the wish and the person making it. Happy Birthday!
Week One Hundred Seventy - Nine - Dialogue, Part 3
Write a scene between two people who meet at a New Year's Celebration. Make the celebration around them come alive with details--music, food, dancing, laughter, and their reactions to everything including each other. Make it riveting. So the reader wants to read the next word. Make each work vital. Make it alive with action and reaction.
Week One Hundred Seventy - Eight - Dialogue, Part 2
Write a scene between a man and a woman who are attracted to each other, who meet at a wedding. The man is the bride's ex-husband, and the woman is the groom's ex-wife. Have fun with it.
Week One Hundred Seventy - Seven - Dialogue, Part 1
Writers who have had experience in writing plays have a distinct advantage in writing strong dialogue. When writing a play, the words of each character are chosen to portray emotion and inspire action. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" has an especially great scene of dialogue showing how one character leads the other character into doing what he wants. It's the scene between Ben Gates and the President in the tunnels beneath Mount Vernon. Watch the movie, but especially listen to the words and how they evoke emotion, action, response, and results. Then take any story you've written and work on writing dialogue between the characters.
Week One Hundred Seventy - Six - Scenes from Life
For each day, write one scene. Make it an everyday experience but filled with details--an event at work, going to the supermarket, waiting at the doctor's office. Practice integrating dialogue with characterization and scenery.
Week One Hundred Seventy - Five - Dance
For this exercise simply dance. Then write a description of your dancing. Write it again from another person's point of view.
Week One Hundred Seventy - Four - Footprints
This exercise is as simple or complex as you make it. Your main character finds a set of footprints next to a dead body or next to a bag of gold coins. Choose one or combine? What happens when you character follows the footprints?
Week One Hundred Seventy - One through Seventy Three - 3 Part Ultimate Challenge
This is a three part exercise to be done over three weeks with days in between for reflection.
Part One - Make a list of the kinds of problems an individual might have. Make another list about occupations you are interested in, that you wouldn't mind researching to create a credible main character. Spend days adding to these two lists.
Part Two - Make a list of things you fear--be specific. Create a villain using qualities you find personally frightening. Spend at least a week writing down everything imaginable about your villain, including his or his childhood, strengths, weaknesses, loves, hates, favorite breakfast, etc.
Part Three - Start with the hero or heroine having a huge problem, throw the villain in there to take advantage and make everything worse, leave no quarter to your hero or heroine. He or she must get out of the growing problem or problem upon bigger problem using their own ingenuity. No rescues from another character. Make a memorable ending showing brilliance of intellect and unconditional bravery. The hero or heroine has to win at all costs and still not sacrifice their integrity or anyone else. I'm sure you're up to the challenge. :-)
Week One Hundred Seventy - Golden Trees
In the northeastern United States, the trees change color in anticipation of winter. The hills are ablaze with red, orange, and gold. I love the golden trees--laying on a blanket on the grass and gazing up at the golden trees. Try it. Write about it. If you don't have a golden tree available, go to a place that inspires you. Spend time there and write.
Week One Hundred Sixty-Nine - A Walk
Take a walk and write about it. This exercise is that easy. Write what you saw, felt, inhaled, experienced. Write what you thought about. This is for you to practice, unless of course, it turns out so well, you want to use it in a story. So go walk and enjoy yourself.
Week One Hundred Sixty-Eight - Autumn Sounds
Where I live, autumn is in full swing. Their leaves are in glorious colors of red, orange, and gold. But what about the sounds of the seasons? Spend some time walking around and listening, really listening to the sounds of nature, the people around you, and the machines that comprise our lives. Write down what you hear? You may write description. A poem may dance from your fingers. Or you may find a story in the sound. Are you listening?
Week One Hundred Sixty-Seven - Play Day
Sometimes we get very serious about our writing, so serious that we forget to play. Today is a play day. Go do something you consider fun. Tomorrow write about it in detail. Include the fun parts. If there were jokes, add them too. Part of being a writer is to participate in life. So go and leave the pen at home.
Week One Hundred Sixty-Six - Route 66
This week is an adventure into the unknown. Your character is fleeing for his or her life. They turn onto Route 66. What happens to him or her along the way? If you are unfamiliar with Route 66, Google it and discover this alternate highway across America. This exercise will enhance your research abilities and your sense of adventure. Yeah! Road trip! Remember write fast and save your character's life.
Week One Hundred Sixty-Five - Warm Fuzzies
Choose an animal and write a children's adventure story featuring that animal as the main character. Be wild and free. Squeak. Roar. Soar. This is your opportunity to have the maximum fun.
Week One Hundred Sixty-Four - Photography
Take any photo and write the story behind it. Write fast, don't edit, and be detailed.
Week One Hundred Sixty-Three - Escape
This week is short and simple. Write an escape scene. Your character is either in danger or imprisoned. He or she must escape or die. Write fast. Time is of the essence.
Week One Hundred Sixty-Two - Tea Time or Coffee Break
We have rituals in our society where friends and/or co-workers gather to hang out and just chat. I do tea, but I'm aware that lots of people love coffee, so I've given you a choice. Write a scene about your tea time or coffee break. Pour yourself a cuppa or a cup of Joe and write in a wild, free, and let-it-all-hang-out fashion. It's not often we get to be productive while taking a break. :-)
Week One Hundred Sixty-One - Freedom for You
If you've been doing the exercises from previous weeks, it time to recharge and go out and experience life. Some people are gifted and can be shut away their whole lives and write great stuff. The rest of us find inspiration by interacting with nature and other people. Jobs are wonderful for real-life story references. But an occasional change of pace awakens us at a new level. Change refreshers us and give us new eyes on old matters and opens us up to learning and growing. So go out and have an experience. Then in the peace of your home or hotel room, write about it. Don't edit. Use all your words. This is your freedom.
Week One Hundred Sixty - Freedom, Part 4
Look at your scenes from the previous weeks and write a great ending. Making it moving and memorable. What happens to your main character and the strange creature. What sacrifice is made? What is accomplished? Have no preconceived notions. Have fun with
Week One Hundred Fifty-Nine - Freedom, Part 3
Write a scene where your main character and the strange creature confront each other. How do they communicate? What would your main character do if he or she could keep the creature? What would she or he do with the creature? What does the creature want? Explore.
Think outside the box. Kick the box and create your own world. To invite others into a world, describe it well and define its rules. Read Dragonriders of Pern for an example of a create world.
Week One Hundred Fifty-Eight - Freedom, Part 2
Have a strange creature capture your main character. Show the details of the experience. Show the loss of freedom and the struggle between them. Be expressive with feelings and actions. Next week: Part 3.
Week One Hundred Fifty-Seven - Freedom, Part 1
Have your main character capture a strange creature. Show the details of the experience. Show the loss of freedom and the struggle between them.
Here are some of the exercises from past weeks. Enjoy! (The exercises for Weeks 1-99 re available by sending an email requesting those exercises. If you have any questions or would like to share your writing experience with this exercise, feel free to email Susan at [email protected]. The mailing list is not sold, shared, or given to anyone and the information on it is kept strictly confidential.
Week One Hundred Fifty-Six - Around the Corner
The scene goes like this. A teenager, who has stolen something from a store, gets out the door and hurries down the street and then turns the corner. Write the scene filling in the details. Have this character go around three corners--make what happens each time--strange and unusual. Make each corner worse than the last. Be as creative and wild as you can be. Have fun.
Week One Hundred Fifty-Five - One Moment of Delight
Think about a single moment of delight in your life and write about it in vivid detail. Make it live on paper. That's your challenge.
Week One Hundred Fifty-Four - The Quote 1
Read the following quote and then write. Write the first images or words that pop into your mind. Write fast and remember to dance. Bring joy to your life!
"Dance until you shatter." -- Rumi (1207-1273)
Week One Hundred Fifty-Three - A Coin
This is a simple exercise. Reach into your pocket, purse, or piggy bank and take out a coin at random. In your story, someone finds or is given that coin. Write what happens next. Remember to include your coin in the ending. Be clever! Have fun!
Week One Hundred Fifty-Two - Welcome the Sunrise
For this week you will do a few new things for yourself. At least for one night, sleep where you will be awakened by sunlight. That might mean sleeping on the floor in another room, rearranging furniture, and/or leaving the window shade up. Have a notepad and pen next to you when you go to sleep. As soon as you wake the next day, sit up and reach for your notepad. Begin writing whatever comes to you even if it is nonsense at first. It's important that you do this on a day you do not have to go in for work. In that moment of sunrise, you don't want alarms going off, the TV on, or a radio blaring. Let waking up occur naturally--with an increase of light. Enjoy the serenity of sunrise. Write as fast as the wind. When you're done writing--whenever that is, go on with your morning routine.
Week One Hundred Fifty-One - Final Dead Body
For your final writing prompt on this subject, take the piece you've written last week and add a funeral service scene. During this event anything can happen. Let your imagination run wild. Often social ceremonies such as a funeral provides closure to the events and to the story.
Week One Hundred Fifty - Dead Body 2
You have your scene from last week. For the next scene, choose to write from one of the following concepts:
1) The body is holding evidence that would incriminate you.
2) Someone you don't know drives up, puts the body in the car, and drives away.
3) Written in blood beside the body are these words: You are next!
Chose only one. Write fast and furiously. Write as if your life depended on it. It does. Isn't it grand to be a writer?
Week One Hundred Forty-Nine - Dead Body
Starting a story in the middle of a crisis is an excellent way to throw your reader into the tale. Tonight begin your story with your main character finding a dead body. Describe the moment, environment, circumstances, the body and the people in the proximity in extreme detail. Write only the moment of discovery. Observe everything. Show everything. This moment is so crucial to the story that everything hinges on your complete description. Next week we move into the next step. Have fun and write fast.
Week One Hundred Forty-Eight - One Point in Time
This is a simple exercise to improve your focus. Choose one point in time and write about it. It could be lunch with a friend or getting on the city bus. Keep it simple, brief, but very detailed. Before you write, close your eyes and picture it with all the sounds, sights, smells, texture, etc. Make this small moment a living experience. When you're done writing, go out and do something fun.
Week One Hundred Forty-Seven - A Thank You Letter
This exercise will take guts. Write a letter to someone you loved who has passed on. Wait a day and change the names in the letter to those of characters you are writing. This will give a stark realism to your characters that you have not realized before. Be truthful. Be passionate. Most of all, let yourself cry. You're going to write a great letter.
Week One Hundred Forty-Six - A Change of Scenery
It's been my experience that there are two types of lifestyles among writers, those that are always traveling and the rooted. I happen to be among the latter. It usually takes a bit to get me to move beyond my desk. Walking along the ocean will usually do it. I find whenever I'm there, it refreshes my spirit and gives me great dreams. I do a great deal of writing in my dreams before I awake and begin writing. This week I recommend you take a notebook and change your scenery--something away from the everyday. Just enough to refresh you and revitalize that writing muse within. Remember you're on assignment. Now go somewhere else and enjoy it.
Week One Hundred Forty-Five - Weeping
This week your main character finds a woman who is weeping. Discover out why she is weeping and what your character will do about it. This is a writing adventure. Have no preconceived notions. Open yourself to what comes and write.
Week One Hundred Forty-Four - The Thief
This is a writing prompt to get the juices flowing. A thief steals a briefcase of a man he believes to be a diamond courier. When he feels he's in a safe place, he manages to get the case open and finds . . . Run with it. Open your mind and your pen to new possibilities.
Week One Hundred Forty-Three - A Song
Find a song that you enjoy and write a story about the theme of that song. If you choose a song with lyrics, choose one that evokes an emotion. But be careful not to copy the song's story. If you can find music you enjoy that doesn't have lyrics, it's better. I personally love the CD "Rubicon" by Tangerine Dream. In that way the story is entirely mine. You may find that you'll listen to several songs before you get an inspiration. Words are like notes. They float. It is up to us to inhale them and then exhale the story. So put on your headphones and enjoy your musical voyage. Breathe deeply.
Week One Hundred Forty-Two - The Wish
This week have your character make a wish and write what happens from that moment on. Have fun!
Week One Hundred Forty-One - One Wish
This week make a wish for yourself. Write it out as a sentence on a piece of paper. Post it near your writing work area. Every day look at it, think about it, and say it. On the day it comes true, date it and put a star on it. Then make another wish. Now you might ask what does this have to do with writing. Writing in itself is a wish we make for ourselves deep down. When we edit our work and send it out to sell, we are sending our wish out into the world. We are creating our world one wish at a time. So be a very brave writer and make a wish. Wait until you see what I ask you to do next week!
Week One Hundred Forty - Weather and Natural Disasters,
Take your work from last week and write about a character who is trapped by the disaster. Write the storm or disaster through their eyes. How frightening is it? Why are they trapped now? How will they escape or survive? Write fast. Your character has only one hour before everything gets worse.
Week One Hundred Thirty-Nine - Weather and Natural Disasters, Part 1
Weather and natural disasters have an effect on many aspects of many stories. Sometimes a story is one of survival during extreme conditions. This week I want you to go back in your memory and think about a storm, earthquake, flood, blizzard, tsunami, etc. Choose one that you have personally experienced and write 200 words just describing it. Then I'll see you again next week for the second part of this exercise.
Week One Hundred Thirty-Eight - Rivers
Rivers can be a soothing experience. They can also be scary when they flow into your house. Mark Twain used the Mississippi River in his books as a learning experience for his characters. Even if you get on a boat or raft to escape trouble in one place, trouble will find you at the next port. Write a story about a character that uses a river to escape. Everything else is up to you. Now go float and write.
Week One Hundred Thirty-Seven - Lost Again
Take that list from last week and throw the die again. If you chose the same number as last week, throw the die again. This time write the story from the prospective of the person who is lost or from the person who found your lost item. This is a stretch to get beyond yourself and grow as a writer. Get going.
Week One Hundred Thirty-Six - Lost
Today write six things you are afraid of losing and write down why Number each thing from one to six. Take some dice and throw one die. What number came up? Look at your list and write a story about losing that item. Start with the item being lost. Now go have a writing adventure!
Week One Hundred Thirty-Five - Rainy Day
It is raining. One of my favorite books is THE CAT IN THE HAT by Dr. Seuss. It starts out with two children stuck inside on a rainy day and there's a knock at the door. Today create an adventure for your main character. They can stay inside and the adventure comes to them, or they can venture into the storm. It's your time to get that ink flowing. Close your eyes and imagine the rain and . . .
Week One Hundred Thirty-Four - OFFLINE
A funny thing happened to me on the way to the computer. The modem died. I was offline, and the world around me grew quiet. I had to do things differently. Then I went to my non-writer job, and the entire system was down. Offices could email other internal offices, but as far as the world was concerned, we were shut down. How daring are you? Will you do this exercise? I was offline for three days. Will you shut off your computer for three days and write about the experience. I dare you! Ah!
Week One Hundred Thirty-Three - A Different View
This weekend go someplace that you've never been before. It doesn't have to be a grand trip but just someplace new. While you're there take out a notepad and write down a vivid, very sensory description of the place. You will want to save this to use later in a story, so write every detail. Immerse yourself in this new place. Part of writing is the exploring of life. Go explore!
Week One Hundred Thirty-Two - Two Birthdays
Do not look at what you wrote last week yet. But choosing the same birthday experience, write out the story using more action words than you feel comfortable doing. Really get into the actions and what you were thinking and feeling. Then write down what you wished for. When you are completely finished, take out last week's version and compare the two, then write a finished story of that birthday. It will be a richer, stronger, more powerful work. Congratulations!
Week One Hundred Thirty-One - The Birthday
Dig down deep into your memories, and write about either the most amazing or terrible birthday you ever had. Remember the details are golden. The sounds are sweet and pull us back into that time. Don't forget to make a wish and blow out the candles. Include what you wished for. Write fast and then put it aside until Friday.
Week One Hundred Thirty - Part 2, The Answer
Review what you wrote. Then sit down and write 5 possible answers to the terrible question of last week on five slips of paper. Next, put the folded slips in a bowl and with your eyes closed, choose one. If you have someone else available, have them choose for you. Write the scene where your character gives that answer. Write the details of how the other character reacted to the question. This exercise will stretch your talent. Expect the unexpected.
Week One Hundred Twenty-Nine - Part 1, The Question
This week the exercise is to have one character ask another character a terrible question. It is important that the other character only react but not answer. Write the details of the setting, the dress, mood, and tones of the characters. Make the question vital--something that will test them both in matters of honor, courage, or honesty. Write and then put it aside until this time next week.
Week One Hundred Twenty-Eight - A Game of Chance
An ordinary deck of cards, paper, and a pen are all you will need for this week's writing exercises.
First shuffle the deck. Put the deck face down and choose the first card.
First Card = Setting: Ace - by the ocean, Spades - in the desert, Hearts - in the mountains, Diamonds - in a city
Second Card = Main Character: Black suite - Male, Red suite - Female. If the card is 2 to 9, the person is poor.
If the card is an Ace, the person is a thief. If the card is a 10, the person has an amazing talent. If the card is a Royal, the character is also royal.
Third Card = Plot Cards
Spades -- Being pursued by a killer
Hearts -- Being deceived by a lover
Diamonds -- Will do anything for money
Clubs - Is kidnapped
Now cut the deck and by turning up that card, you will find the one person who can help you. But will they help you? Use the criteria set for the second card to determine what type of person that is.
Cut the deck one last time. The card will determine your weapon of choice.
Spades -- Time
Hearts -- Love
Diamonds -- Lies
Clubs -- Strength
Now is the time to play the game. Be adventurous. Be bold. Be a writer.
Week One Hundred Twenty-Seven - Five Coins
Your main character helps an old man, and the man gives him or her five coins. In your story tell how your character helped the old man and what happens after your character receives the coins. Let your imagination be your guide. I will tell you nothing more.
Week One Hundred Twenty-Six - A Winter's Ghost Tale
In the northern USA, winter is finally upon us. The days are shorter and night leaps like a leopard in the dark. People rush home to warm families, good spirits, and they bar the door against a harsh frozen world. Centuries ago, people feared the dark and hurried home least some evil should befall them on the night road. Tonight wait until midnight and then by candlelight, write the story of the traveler who is hurrying to town before the sun goes down. Good luck. I hope your character makes it in time.
Week One Hundred Twenty-Five - Freedom
For this week I'm posting early and giving you the opportunity to write a character study, scene, and possible short story. I say short story because that format is generally limited in the amount of time surrounding one event in a character's life. The theme is freedom. Today your character is free. Write the story of last night and this morning. Put in very detail of physical and emotional description. Show the moment of freedom and what he or she did. Show what it means to your character. Become the writer you want to be.
Week One Hundred Twenty-Four - Stranded
I was walking along my favorite beach this morning and came across this poor sailboat washed ashore by the wind. I've put this photo here as a writing prompt. The writing challenge this week is to write the story of this boat. What happened? How did it find its way here? What happened to the person or persons aboard? This is your adventure to tell. Yo ho, my hearties, and have a great time writing. I can hear the wind blow.
Week One Hundred Twenty-Three - Celebration
For this week, the exercise is to write about an actual celebration you attended. Use details and feelings in describing it. Try to remember what people said and did. Include why this celebration was important to you. This exercise will help you with realistic portrayals of events and characters. Remember, celebrate!
Week One Hundred Twenty-Two - Which Way?
Write a story about a man lost in the forest. The next day write the story over but with a different ending. On the third day, add another character to the story and change the ending again. Now sit down and read all three stories. Ask yourself, which story is the most exciting? This exercise will help you broaden your abilities to think outside the box. Have fun!
Week One Hundred Twenty-One - That Last Part
Halloween is upon us. We are almost out of time. Someone you love went to a deserted town and didn't come back. You've called and their cell phone only plays an eerie song. It doesn't ring at all.
From your list of five friends, choose the one with the shortest first name and the one with the longest last name to go with you. Then cut up the 13 things that frighten you into strips and put them into a hat. Choose 6. Throw the rest away. Then do the same with the list of 13 items you will need for the rescue and throw them into the hat. Choose 5 items. It is almost midnight. Begin by planning the rescue with your two friends. Be aware that if you do not find your loved one by sunrise, it will be too late. Now write. Write fast! Hurry!
Week One Hundred Twenty - The Three Part Challenge Continues
Halloween is creeping closer.
Part 2: Make a list of 13 things that frighten you the most and next to each one say why. Rate them from the least frightening to the most. Now be honest. Then write down the first names of five friends you would take with you and why. Write quickly.
Week One Hundred Nineteen - A Three Part Challenge
Halloween is fast approaching. Now is the time to begin to write your scariest story. Here's what you must do?
Part 1: Make a list of 13 items you would bring with you if you had to rescue someone you cared about from a haunted town. Next to each item, write your reason for bringing it, and what you would do if your lost it. Now get busy and choose carefully.
Week One Hundred Eighteen - Characterization Game
Get a copy of the National Geographic. Every day for one week choose the photo of one unknown person in that magazine and write a scene for them, imagining who they are as a person, what they do, how they express themselves, what do they love, what are they afraid of. By the end of the week, you'll have seven unique characters you probably wouldn't have made up on your own. Have fun with this. Writing is a game.
Week One Hundred Seventeen - Fighting Mode
Your main character is being chased by someone who intends on killing him or her. Now write what your character does. Write fast! Your character's life depends on you.
Week One Hundred Sixteen - Scenario #2
This exercise asks you to take last week's scene and write it from the point of view of a child. One more thing to note: pay attention to reflections! Ah, what youth spies, adults often ignore.
Week One Hundred Fifteen - Scenario #1
The exercise for this week is a writing prompt. I start you off with an idea and you finish the story. Lisa walks into a fast food restaurant at quarter to eleven. No one is in the place, except for one woman behind the counter. Lisa asks the woman for a breakfast item and is refused. They have stopped serving breakfast. The sign says that they stop serving breakfast at 11. The woman has a strange look on her face. With wide eyes and her arms crossed, she is not at all friendly. She recommends that Lisa go down the street to the diner. Now you write the story. In this story, the body language of your characters is important. Pay attention to details.
Week One Hundred Fourteen - The Inheritance
This week your main character has inherited a house. He or she saw the house once as a child. Write the scene where your main character drives up to the house and is given the keys by the lawyer, who quickly departs. What happens next is up to you. Revel in the exploration.
Week One Hundred Thirteen - An Adventure in Plotting
Are you up for an adventure? Think up an ending and going back one step at a time, write you story. It's a different way of looking at things. How did your main character end up and what happened that got him or her to that point? It will get you really thinking about actions and consequences. After you've written it, write it again from the beginning. Have fun!
Week One Hundred Twelve - Get Serious about Plotting
Plotting is the backbone of your story. Being able to move your character through a crucial event in his or her life in an exciting and meaningful way is vital to telling a strong story. This week you're going to examine an established plot. You're going to see a movie and write a list of everything the main character does and reacts to in a chronological sequence of events (as they take place in the movie). Make this list like a shopping list.
1. She went to work.
2. She did a cooking demonstration in Housewares.
Continue like this throughout the movie, until you have followed the main character from the beginning to the end of his or her adventure. This exercise is to help you strengthen your own plotting skills. I'm going to give you a short list of movies that I feel have strong, well-developed plots.
"The Last Holiday"
"The Lives of Others"
I've chosen these movies because of their intriguing plots. My personal favorite is "The Illusionist". I've seen it a dozen times, and each time I am amazed by its brilliant plot. So rent a movie, get a pad of paper and pen, pop some popcorn, and sit back and enjoy!
Week One Hundred Eleven - Take a Bite
This week you're going to practice abandoning preconceived notions. Write this scene: Your main character is out having dinner with friends. He or she takes a bite of food, and suddenly finds themself somewhere else. You write the story. No holds barred, as they say. Have fun!
Week One Hundred Ten - Flip a Coin
Beginning a story is usually achieved when the main character is in the middle of a life changing event. I would like you to begin you story challenge this week by writing either a wedding or funeral scene. Both events plunge your main character into highly emotionally charged interactions with others. Remember, anything could happen. Flip a coin to see which you will write. Heads: a wedding. Tails: a funeral. Now go get a coin.
Week One Hundred Nine - One Word
This week you have a one word challenge. Take the word and write a story around it. The word is "bear". Write with abandon.
Week One Hundred Eight - Hit the Ground Running
This exercise throws you into the story. Begin by writing that your main character is running. You start simply like this--"Jane Wender ran ..." The rest you fill in. You say where she is running, what she is running toward, why she is running. Those are the details that describe, motivate, and move the story forward. So begin. Hit the paper writing. Write fast and let it take you into the story.
Week One Hundred Seven - Doorways
In literature, doorways often are significant. Take Alice. She fell into a rabbit hole and went through a looking glass. Lucy found Narnia through the wardrobe. The exercise this week is to think of at least 3 possible doorways to other worlds--ones that no one has ever used before. Then write the story that unravels when your main character walks though that doorway. Become a great explorer of worlds. Open the writer's door.
Week One Hundred Six - A Little Bit of Horror
This exercise is simple. It has only two conditions. Stay up to midnight, if there's a howling storm outside all the better, but it is important that the radio, TV, and ipod are all turned off. You must have complete silence. The second condition: Finish this sentence and the story that follows. Write very fast. She screamed and fell ...
The rest is up to you. Today is Friday the 13th, a good night for writing horror. Have ghoulish fun.
Week One Hundred Five - Move Me, Part Two
This exercise is radical. First choose one of your "actions that inspire" from your list. Put it as the temporary title at the top of the page. Now close your eyes and think lightly about the "title". Then ask whatever power or being you believe moves the universe to give you a story. Sincerely ask, voice it if you have too, and then with an open mind and heart, write the story as fast as you get it. This will be a rough draft but don't stop to edit. Type as fast as you can on the keyboard. If you're using pencil or pen, write as fast as you can. Try not to stop until it's all down. Tomorrow is the time to expand some sections and edit others.
The more you do this exercise, the more stories will come to you. Be open to the stories that come. Because you've chosen to write, you've chosen to see the bigger picture of life. It's a gift and a responsibility. Revel in your time, and let the stories flow through your fingertips.
Week One Hundred Four - Move Me, Part One
This exercise will help with plotting. Write down a list of 20 actions that inspire or move you. Here's an example of an inspiring action: A woman running into a burning building to rescue a child calling for help. What happens next? Sit down and write 20 of these inspiring actions. Make each one a simple one line like the example given. Be creative and have fun with this. Remember! It has to be inspiring or move you. It has be make you want to know what happens next.
Week One Hundred Three - The Ring
The ring is a symbol that can be found in all cultures. The most famous story about a ring is THE LORD OF THE RINGS. This week's exercise is to write a story about a ring you own. It can be fictional or non-fictional. That doesn't matter, but make it real. Make it your story!
Week One Hundred Two - One Afternoon
This exercise is to help you focus. Think about one afternoon in your childhood and write about it as vividly as you can. Describe the people, what they're wearing, what they're saying. Describe the food. Describe the places. Tell the reader why you chose to write about this one afternoon. What did that moment in time mean to you. When you have finished, you're ability to focus in on one point in time will have improved.
Week One Hundred One - Run Away
This is an odd little exercise. It requires imagination, a road map of your country, and the ability to drop preconceived thoughts. Most of us enjoy planning out trips. On this road trip, you lay flat the map on a table and flip a coin so that it lands somewhere on the map. Now have your character jump in his or her car and go there. You are allowed to do some research on the destination but otherwise let the story unfold in an unexpected way. When you're almost there, flip the coin again and go in that direction. When you're almost to the 2nd place, once again flip the coin for your final destination. There are a million possible outcomes. Your story is the adventure along the way--the waitress in the diner, the flat tire on the lonely road, the little town you pass through with the unusual festival. This writing exercise allows your imagination to run away. Write the journey and see what happens.
Week One Hundred - Going Places
Go one place that you've never been to before and write about it. This doesn't have to be a major vacation, unless that's what you want to do. It could be as simple as going to a new restaurant or a local attraction you've never been to before. When you write about it bring your narrative alive with action words and fun details. Now go enjoy yourself.
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