If you’re a writer, I’m sure you’re always looking for ways to better yourself… well, practice makes perfect. It’s no myth that you become better every time you write. But, as we all know, sometimes it can be hard to just write. So, I’m jotting down some of my very favorite, very fun, writing exercises. These can also be used to help overcome writer’s block, if you’re unlucky enough to be struggling with that.
First off, this is practice and I hardly ever publish any of these… if it’s really good, I might consider it, but I go in without the intention of publishing. This is just to get my mind spinning, and more importantly: To have fun!
1) I really love picking a character from one of my stories and writing a “sidetrack” story. This can consist of anything… perhaps it takes place in the future, or in his/her past, or even in the present with different characters. This is a very personal experience and you can get to know your character better and better… I do this a lot when writing a novel, so I have a good background view on my characters. Most times, it will spark an idea for the actual novel I’m writing.
2) This exercise requires 30 small pieces of paper, 3 glasses, and a wild imagination!
Take 10 small pieces of paper, and on each one write down a different thing (such as “red shoes” “a lamp” “a blouse” “rainbow” “a blanket” etc. etc.) Put them in glass number one.
Then, take another 10 small pieces of paper, and on each one write down a different place (such as “a desert” “NYC” “the country” “the mall” “the store” “the park” “a playground” “on a bus” “Empire State Building” “The library” etc. etc…. or my favorite “a castle”) Place these in glass number three.
Next, take the last ten pieces of paper and write a profession on each one. And get creative… here are a few of my favorite to get your mind churning. “Ninja” “Spy” “Assassin” “Doll-Maker” “Professional Villain” “Computer Hacker” “Con-Artist” “Pickpocket” “Burglar” “Santa Clause” “The Easter Bunny” “Superman” “a baby” “Paleontologist.” Then place these in the third jar.
Now, close your eyes and pick ONE piece of paper from each jar. Now, write one story including all three of the subjects that you drew. It can get pretty wild and ridiculous! Remember to have fun, go to extremes, and it doesn’t even have to make sense ;D
If this is too easy for you – mix it up with a fourth jar consisting of time periods “The 80s’” or “the 1500s” – this is also a great refresher on your history skills ;)
3) This one requires friends… preferably more than three. Everyone sits in a circle with a piece of lined paper in front of them and a pencil. On the count of three, everybody writes down two sentences on their piece of paper. Folds the piece over one of the sentences and passes it to the right. The person on the right should only be able to read one of the sentences the previous person wrote. The person then writes two sentences, folds the paper, and passes it to the right again. This goes on until the piece of paper is full… the stories most likely won’t make sense, but it will be fun and make you laugh. There will be so many stories going, you’ll most likely lose track of which is which and how it started.
4) Here’s a great website that generates plots for you, this can make for some fun stories. http://www.archetypewriting.com/muse/generators/plot.htm
5) A while ago, a friend told me about a contest he’d heard about on the radio. I didn’t enter, but I found the guidelines very fun to play around with. It’s called “The Three Minute Story” And no, you don’t have three minutes to write it. The idea is for you to write a story that can be read aloud in three minutes (No more than 600 words… yes, 600, not 601, 602, 603, or 900… just 600 or less) Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Well, factor this into the equation: it starts with “Some people swore the house was haunted.” And ends with “Nothing was ever the same after that.”
This is great because you really have to figure out what is important in the story, and what is fluff. This exercise can really improve your revising/editing skills, which every writer must be good at. Limiting yourself to 600 words is brilliant, especially with a plot line that obviously a lot must happen in. I try to do this exercise every couple months. And, as I am sure you can see, my revising skills improved greatly between Impending Doom and Sly Darkness.
Think it’s too short? Well, I will recite what is perhaps the shortest story on record: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” This is reportedly composed by Hemingway on a bet that he couldn’t write a story less than ten words.
And there you go! Have fun playing around with these… if you have your own fun writing exercises, please feel free to comment them – I’m always looking for great, fun ways to improve my writing.
As always, thanks for your interest.
– Kya Aliana
For more information on me, my writing, and to read free short stories, please visit my official website: KyaAliana.Weebly.Com