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Tag Archives: writing exercises
These are my notes from the presentation at MidSouthCon 30, 2012m which was great. I suggest taking it from Michael rather than using these notes, which are a poor substitute at best. You can find the CD on his website. That said, here are the notes. I should say that they’re less about how to write a novel in 21 days than how to plan a novel in 21 days through a series of exercises intended to increase knowledge of character, world, and plot. Continue reading
I talked yesterday about flash fiction, what it is and why writers might want to write some. I mentioned that it’s a great place to try out new techniques. So here’s five possible things to focus on in a flash piece, with five more coming on Monday. Pick one and sit down and write the story. How long should it be? That’s entirely your call. Continue reading
Here’s your story prompt for the day. What if the creature depicted in this picture were sentient? Continue reading
Here’s your challenge – write either a beginning or ending inspired by this image that invokes at least three senses – and doesn’t take place in a museum. Feel free to share in the comments! Continue reading
Active verbs slice to the heart of a sentence’s meaning, inject action, make prose dance with precise control. Active verbs cajole, captivate, charm, and compel. They lend the muscularity of manual labor, a scapel’s taxonomic precision, and the graceful sway and bob and glide and jump of a dance. Continue reading
Somehow that first moment of embarrassment, that moment of being in “the strange toilet” encapsulates so much of what that story is about and how alien the sexes can be to each other as well as how strange their container, the norms that make them up, which constitute the walls of “the can” itself, are. Look at how the center of his masculinity is framed visually: the gray zipper edge of his jeans around his pale exposed pecker. There is so much going on in that first paragraph, including sensory details like the twitch of his insides, the blare of a giggle, the pattern and threat of a zipper, that it’s worth copying out, pulling apart sentence by sentence to figure out how it’s working. Continue reading
Go for the gut, the emotional, the upsetting. Next time something disgusts you, take long enough to get the details down, the oily sheen of rot as it dissolves underneath your touch, the way the smell of durian stuffs itself into your nostrils, the exact configuration of what lies in that toilet. And do the same with the bad and shameful in your history, the things that paralyze you. Put them on the page and you will be making a story that grabs the reader and tells them something true. Continue reading