What Did You Learn?

June 23, 2011

Writing Exercise #15: Character Hooks

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , , — ax20 @ 2:39 pm

This is more of an exercise to help you with something you are already writing. I posted a link about a way to help differentiate characters when you have a lot of them. That article talked about creating hooks for your character, a small detail or trait that makes them memorable.

Your assignment is to write a list of twenty-five traits. Some should be looks based, others should be about personality, while others can be about their status or any other element you can think of. It’s no fun to come up with in the first place, but you will be happy to have it in the future.

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March 23, 2011

Writing Exercise #14- If You Could Meet One Person…

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 5:34 pm

One of the typical college essay questions is “if you could meet one person, who would it be and why?” Taking that question one step further, write what you imagine would take place if were to meet that person.

Things to consider:
-Where/When is this person from?
-How would they speak?
-Is this a planned encounter or a surprise one?

Writing Exercise #13- An Object’s POV

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 5:30 pm

Think about Toy Story, an entire movie where something inanimate comes to life to create an entire story. Pick an object and write a scene from that inanimate object’s perspective. (You can either write the scene so that the object is an observer or you can write it so that the object comes to life.)

One of the most creative stories i’ve ever heard was a story a kid in my writing class wrote from the perspective of a Cheerio in the box as they deal with the coming apocalypse (specifically, being poured into a bowl and eaten).

Writing Exercise #12- Writing with a Friend 3

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 5:26 pm

Come up with a short story idea together (general plot and some important plot points). Then both of you write the story from the first person perspective of a different character. When you’re done, compare!

You can learn a lot by seeing what choices you each make and what does or doesn’t work. You can also see how the choice of main character impacts the way a story develops.

Writing Exercise #11- Reimagining Someone Else’s Work

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 5:21 pm

Find a scene in a book and rewrite it from a different genre (if it is horror you can turn it into romance, a children’s book into a thriller…etc). This is a fun exercise to test your creativity.

Writing Exercise #10- From the Headlines

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 5:13 pm

Story inspiration can come from anywhere, but sometimes you find yourself stuck and uninspired. One good place to look for an idea is in the newspaper. Scan the paper until you find a story that interests you to use as the basis for either an entire story or just a scene.

You can also simply find a newspaper headline for inspiration. The headlines are often creative and give you freedom that the actual story may not.

June 3, 2010

Writing Exercise #9- Clean Up Your Writing

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: — ax20 @ 10:19 am

Take your current story and cut out 1/4 of the words, 1/3 if you can manage it. This forces you to take your work and really pay attention to what you’ve written. You must look at the wording and consider if you’ve written it in the most precise and exact wording possible. This isn’t to say that you can’t have any long sentences or that you should force awkward sentences in order to hit the exact word number, but really examine your writing and see, how much space have you wasted unecessarily?

February 5, 2010

Writing Exercise #8- Writing With A Friend 2

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 2:33 pm

This is another fun exercise to do with a friend. Without discussing the story or plot at all, begin writing a story. After a couple of paragraphs or so (you can come up with an exact limit such as 250 words or something), pass it on to your friend to continue. You can do this with however many people you want but the idea is to keep passing it around until the story comes to a conclusion.

It’s funny to see how different people can read something and come up with a different direction for where it will go. Can you tell who wrote which part based on the writing style? You’ll see how different voices give different tones/moods to a story.

Writing Exercise #7- Writing With A Friend 1

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 2:29 pm

This is just a fun writing exercise to see the difference between two different people’s styles. Together, come up with a general storyline, characters, and backstories. Then, write the stories separately. Once finished, compare. You’d be amazed to see how two people conceptualize the same idea completely differently.

What did you like better about your idea? Your friend’s? Think about why each of the elements worked in your individual stories.

November 19, 2009

Writing Exercise #6- Details

Filed under: Writing Exercises — Tags: , — ax20 @ 12:20 am

It’s the small details that make a story come to life, using the five senses is an important element of every story. It can be the different between the reader feeling like they’ve entered the story and the reader being unable to get immersed.

If you find your writing lacking,try this:
Go into a crowded/noisy room (this could be a busy store, a restaurant during lunch hour, a bar, a gym, whatever) and write all about it. Use all of the senses if possible (for example, if you are in a bar, what does your drink taste like, what are people wearing. If you are in a gym, what does it smell like, what are the sounds around you).

You can write it in the form of a story or you can just write it out as a detailed description. If you don’t write it into a story now, you may find it usable for another story in the future. What you may want to do is try this exercise twice, first without a full story and second with one.

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