Posted in Exercises

Exercise: Quiet Moments

Dialogue is a powerful tool, but it’s very rare that anyone—even characters—will come out and say exactly what they think or feel at any given moment. Instead, body language and action can help convey these things.

As an exercise: Take a moment and write a slice-of-life flash fiction, showing how your characters interact with each other. What are some of the little, daily ways they show they care about each other? How might their innocuous habits be used to show dislike of each other? Which of these things are done deliberately, and which do your characters do without consciously thinking about it?

Posted in Exercises

Exercise: Crafting Thematic Imagery

Imagery and theme are two of the most powerful tools you have as a writer. Meshing them together isn’t always the easiest however. So for today’s exercise, you have a bit of a challenge:

Start by making a list of images you could associate with your theme. For example if your theme is peace, you might include doves and olive branches on your list.

Once you have your list of images, find ways to work those images in via figurative language. For example:

  • Her voice came out in a whisper soft as dove feathers.
  • The rose became an olive branch for their earlier disagreement.

In this way, not only do you strengthen your imagery, you’re also able to reinforce the theme.

What are some of the images you came up with? How did you work them into your writing?

Posted in Exercises

Exercise: Inserts

Characters are often the first thing a reader falls in love with. Building a detailed and dynamic character can be difficult. Thankfully, there’s plenty of ways to practice.

As an exercise: Pick someone you know in real-life. Describe them as the main character in a story. Think about how they act, walk, talk and any habits or quirks they have. You can also try writing them as a villain for an added challenge.

Then: Insert them into a short story. Try rewriting a fairy tale to feature them or even putting them in the place of a character in a show or book you enjoyed. How does the story change to accommodate them? How do they solve some of the conflicts of the story?

Posted in Exercises

Exercise: Help Wanted

Advertisements are everywhere. It’s a part of the modern world we largely can’t escape—they litter major cities on the sides of buses and benches, spread across the internet in myriad hidden places and even reach into basic farmer’s stands and markets.

With how frequent ads are, there’s probably one you’ve learned to overlook: Help Wanted. When a company needs help they rely on advertising to let job-seekers know they have an open position.

Exercise 1: Write a help wanted add for the roles in your story. Think about what some of the ‘job’ requirements would be. Are there certain actions or skills your characters will need to bring to the table? What about requirements like education or a vehicle?

Exercise 2: Take a look at a job posting board and pick an open position. Create a character that would perfectly match the listed requirements and experience. If they match the requirements perfectly, what sort of obstacle can you put in their way to getting the job?

Exercise 3: Write an advertisement for an unusual job—like dragon washer or space station inspector. Think outside of the box and get as strange or bizarre as you like. What might the job duties entail?