Homework – a little fun to spark the imagination


I can hear the groans now. Even writers need to do a little work to keep their craft and skill set fresh. I don’t think of it as “homework” per-say, maybe little writing prompts to spark the imagination. Sometimes I hear ‘oh, that’s good, I could expand on that!’ and then all of a sudden there is a scene on the page that I don’t even remember writing.


Writing exercises, like physical ones, keep you limber and burn away the flab. Writing burns away the ego and keeps us on our toes.


Marcia Golub uses a few of the following exercises in some of her workshops.

  1. Meet a character from your novel, story, or book. Have him or her tell you a secret.
  2. Write a third-person scene in which a character is lying. Make it clear through gesture and other action that he or she is not speaking the truth.
  3. Take a snatch of over heard dialogue and go with it. Who are the speakers? What happens to them? Make a story out of eavesdropping.
  4. You see someone on the street or on the bus who intrigues you. Give him or her a voice. Have him tell his story in an internal monologue. Listen in to her thoughts.
  5. You are walking down the street. A child comes up to you and says, “Come quick.” You go and find – what?
  6. Write a recipe for love. If you like it, give it to a character. Have that character give it to someone else.
  7. Something is lost, not long ago but now. What is lost? What does that character do?
  8. You go into your room and discover a cupboard you never noticed before, although you realize it has been there all along. Open the door. What do you find? What happens?
  9. The woman next door is planning to murder you. What do you do about it?
  10. Did you ever disappoint someone you loved? Write the story of what happened, using the third person. If possible, write this in the voice of the person you disappointed.

I get excited about each of these writing prompts. Really, my neighbor is planning to murder me? My imagination is running wild. Sometimes we need a gentle nudge to get the imagination going and that’s okay.

Until Next time, keep on typing. . . .

Germany --- This is Marguerite Higgins while in Germany in 1945. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Germany — This is Marguerite Higgins while in Germany in 1945. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS




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