We’ll do this exercise often over the next few weeks, but here it is:
Write 100 things that could happen to your character.
Do it in one sitting.
As long as it takes.
Make the things funny, scary, not-even-possible.
But keep going.
Think bout your character.
I was recently on vacation, and during my three designated reading/writing days, I was able to read almost three novels and write just over 5000 words. It was exciting and I was in the zone. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next in each story, including my own. Now that I’m back, and I have my designated writing 30 minutes in the morning, and reading at night. I’m not getting nearly as much done. It’s hard to get even a page written, and I’m asleep before I’ve read a paragraph.
I’ve been reading up on how to be more productive during your writing time (I’m doing this instead of writing). Since my husband isn’t up for moving our permanent address to a cruise ship yet, I’m not going to be able to sit on a balcony and stare at the ocean every morning to pump my creative juices. Across the blogosphere, I’ve come across this idea again and again. Several authors do physical exercise before they write and that it helps them be “physically energized and mentally focused.” Ugghh. Really? If I wait to write until after I exercise every morning, I may never write again. My procrastination powers would be in overdrive.
Still, I’m with Carol, in that I also don’t believe in writer’s block. You show up, put your butt in the chair, look at page, and start somewhere – writing exercises, prompts, etc. Whatever you need to get your fingers moving. Have any of you out there tried this exercise-before-writing thing? I’m very curious. Almost curious enough to try it. Almost.
Okay, I’ll report back next week.
I can’t remember where I saw this to give the writer credit–but someone on the web came up with this writing exercise.
Using the alphabet, describe your character.
C-crazy for tacos
Redo the prompt above. Now PUSH. Make the description all emotional, or more telling about the character, or things you hadn’t even consider.
Get to know the odd side of your character.
Who does your character love most?
How does this shape the plot?
Not sure if we’ll hear from Ann Dee today, but if we do, this will be a twofer!
#6 I’ve written several novels in a short, choppy line. Not poetry, but concise storytelling. Few words means having to tighten your writing. It means careful choosing. Picking just the right word or image.
For a chapter or two, write in a short, choppy line. Think spare. Think cut, cut, cut. Think, in this chapter I’ll use 1/3 the words to say the same thing I’ve done in this chapter.
What happens when you do write this way?
Does your writing get more sleek?
Do you see words you can do without once you put the story back as it was?
Draw a detailed sketch of where your main character lives.
Draw a detailed sketch of your main character’s bedroom.
So each day (not including weekends) until WIFYR starts on June 12, I’m going to give us a writing prompt/activity. Monday through Friday.
Today, we get three to start us off #WritingLikeAWriter.
- Take ten minutes to write what your character is most scared of. Why is she afraid of this thing? Does this thing play into the book? How is this connected to who she is and what she wants?
- Write a letter from your character to you from six months BEFORE the book begins. Write another letter from your character two years AFTER the book is over.
- Print five pages of your work, double-spaced. Now, pretending like you’ve never seen this work before (think the Amazing Claudia Mills), start editing. Cut adverbs, adjectives. Slash extra words, useless phrases. Add sense of place, strong dialog. Then, after you’ve done some good tightening, take a step back, literally. How is the shape of this piece? The movement? The pacing? Look at your work from a distance. How is the story physically different?
Happy writing, Everyone! WIFYR, here we come!
I always say you make time for what you love. You just do.
Love to eat sweets?
You eat peanut butter bars.
Love to exercise?
You make wall hangings.
Ann Dee and I have talked about this so much. And guess what? I’ve found myself saying, lately, that I don’t have time to write. I don’t have time to do my job. To do what I love.
Last night I realized I need to do what I preach. If I want to write novels, dang it, I gotta write them. No matter what.
So starting today I am giving myself at least two hours each day to accomplish what I want–I’m writing again.
It feels good. In fact, I feel empowered. And Ann Dee and I sent off our book this afternoon. Tonight, I’m writing with Cheri. I’m in a critique group so that means I’ll have words to write for a deadline. Nice!
I’ll let you know next Friday how I’ve done.