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.
- Meet a character from your novel, story, or book. Have him or her tell you a secret.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- You are walking down the street. A child comes up to you and says, “Come quick.” You go and find – what?
- Write a recipe for love. If you like it, give it to a character. Have that character give it to someone else.
- Something is lost, not long ago but now. What is lost? What does that character do?
- 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?
- The woman next door is planning to murder you. What do you do about it?
- 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. . . .