There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday's Writing Workout!

Nastia Liukin (USA)

On the weekends, prompts keep my creativity warmed up so I don’t “pull a muscle” on Monday morning. During the week, prompts jump-start my writing routine. Consider using your own characters and settings for these prompts. You might come up with dazzling new ideas for your WiP! All you’ll need for these exercises is your writing materials and an open mind. Remember to drink lots of water and stretch!
Start it up!
Exercise 1: from The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron
Mona Simpson begins her story “Lawns” with the sentence I steal. Begin a story, poem, or scene with the line “I ______.” Push forward from there. If you can think of one action that speaks to who you are, what would it be? Write at least a few paragraphs. Try this experiment a few times, using different actions.
Ramp it up! 
Exercise 2
People use symbols all the time, whether by arguing over who burned the toast or by giving someone flowers. Language itself is a complicated set of symbols. Construct a tense conversation about “nothing” between two characters who are having a problem in their relationship (may be any type of relationship: neighbors, lovers, parent/child, etc.). Put some thought into how the characters are arguing by using symbols.
Burn it up!
Exercise 3 
Write a short story on the back of an index card. Since you’ll have to manage a conflict, crisis, and resolution in such a small space, the conflict must be introduced immediately. (This is fun but challenging! It’s great to practice being concise in a scene and writing only what’s relevant to the overall story.)
Cool it down.
Exercise 4: from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Begin with “I remember.” Write lots of small memories or fall into one large memory. If stuck, just repeat “I remember” again and keep going. (This is great for generating new ideas. Consider having your character do this prompt and see what she/he remembers!)
Every Wednesday I post prompts and exercises for your “writing workout” so keep checking back! Happy writing!!!


Bluestocking said...

I really like the first two, Laura. That second one especially -- there's a lot you can do with subtext.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Exercise 1 is particularly interesting. Maybe because I never write in 1st person. Hmm. May have to give it a go!

SP Sipal said...

I really like #4. Sometimes writing anything is what you need to get going. Even comments. :-)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I like #4, too!

Southpaw said...

#4 is a good one, it might even generate a whole story.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Always a great place to come for great ideas. I'll probably be studying your blog again when I present at the Young Author Conference in the spring. :) Thanks for the great inspiration!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great writing challenges as always! i especially like #3 and 4, although #3 would be a SERIOUS! challenge for me :)

Maybe you'd like to try 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children using the words boo, candied apple and jack-o-lantern and enter it in the Halloweensie Contest on my blog :)

Talli Roland said...

I like the index card one! I do love writing short stories. No pressure.

Laura Marcella said...

Bluestocking- I agree, you can play around a lot with symbols.

Elizabeth- I hope you do and come up with something dazzling!

Susan- I think so, too. It gets the juices flowing!

Diane- That seems to be the favorite!

Southpaw- It sure could!

Roxane- Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoy them. :)

Susanna- I'll have to check it out! #3 is a challenge but it's definitely worth trying!

Talli- I love doing that one. It's challenging but that's part of the fun!