Writing prompts, exercises, freewriting Get the juices flowing, your fingers used to the feel of the keys, into the writing mindset -- whatever you want to call it. Nothing you want to do less than the task at hand, so you may as well procrastinate and warm up at the same time.
Exercise: Seven Minutes in Heaven (or Hell) Write for seven minutes, incorporating a common proverb, adage or phrase (e.g. between a rock and a hard place, good fences make good neighbors, the whole nine yards, etc.), that you change in some way. To make it extra heavenly (or hellish), use seven of the following words.
Dont worry about creating a story--write whatever comes to mind. No one will ever see it but you… except in seven minutes when I make you share with with a room of stangers cliff blackberry needle cloud voice mother whir lick course hedge mug blank snap blanket
Set Parameters How many words to write at each sitting What those words will be about.
Go poll yourself… ask: Why am I writing whatever it is Im writing? What do I hope to get out of it? Am I?
Every time you sit down to write, youre playing the same game as [insert name here]
Start in the middle of things, end in the middle of things
Ultimate question: Does your reader want to keep reading? If yes, you pass. If not, well, you can an incomplete.
Exercise: The waiting is the hardest part… Turn one of the most tedious scenarios into something interesting. We are in an airport terminal, awaiting the arrival of a jet. Assembled are: a limousine driver, twin six-year-old boys, a doctor, an old woman in a wheelchair, a cab driver, a local politician, a soldier, some type of high school sports team or club, someone trying not to be recognized, a housewife, an animal in one of those animal carriers. Start writing a story involving at least two of the above characters. You have seven minutes.
Basic Elements of Fiction Character (and tension between characters) Plot - shape of the story (beginning, middle, end = introduction, rising action, denouement) Setting/Place - description using all five senses gives context; TAKES UP SPACE. Theme - (e.g. love conquers all; careful what you wish for; money cant buy happiness)
Break it up Change tense, POV, location, time Dialogue Introduce a letter, diary passage, email, text exchange, even a honey do list Drop one story line, pick up another Conjunctions between ideas should be but, therefore, meanwhile as opposed to and, and, and
Be able to summarize your story in 1-3 sentences. Write a tagline, like the one you see when you hit info on your TV remote
Dont seek validation of your writing from spouse, sig other, and/or parents
Books about writing (with prompts) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott On Writing: A memoir of the Craft by Stephen King Telling Stories by Joyce Carol Oates Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician by Kenney Werner
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