Tag Archives: writing exercises

Three Things Thursday

1. So during the marathon we posted plenty of quotes from plenty of people. Some quotes were better than others. What’s the quote YOU would share about your two week experience?

2. If you could read an interview with any children’s book writer (picture book, middle grade, young adult), who would it be? What questions would you ask?

3. In less than ten minutes (9.9), jot down every idea you have for new books you want to write–any kind of book. Write one sentence on what you think each story is about. Pin this list up where you can see it.

Guess what?

I’m done with my first draft of the motor home book. I finished yesterday afternoon!

New Goal–a rewritten draft goes to Steve on Friday!


Filed under CLW, three thing thursday

Rice Pudding and Writing Exercises

Today this heaviness settled on me. It came from almost nowhere. Seeped in under the door and followed me around until it settled on my shoulders and head and neck and decided to take a nap. It’s not that things have been so hard lately. Other than my one year old pooping three times this morning and the boys sitting on each other and every drawer of the house feeling like a tornado, other than those things, it’s business as usual.

Writing Exercise: What makes your main character feel heavy? When does this heaviness happen? What do they do when it happens? Who knows about it? Does it affect their every day life?

I have class tomorrow, which I look forward to. I like hearing their stories, discussing ideas, talking about craft. Sometimes it’s a challenge but mostly I see hope. So much stretched in front of them. Possibilities of creating something and the joy of getting to read their creations. Writing and creating are places of renewal and discovery. I’m always surprised when I read a student or friend or family’s writing. So much is revealed by what words we choose, what characters we create, what worlds we build. And I’m not talking about fantasy. I’m talking about every kind of world that comes out of our fingertips when we decide to populate a page.

Writing Exercise: If your MC were to write a story, what would the story be about? Write a fast short piece composed by your main character. What would they write? Who would be their characters? Would it be happy? Sad? Heavy? Light? Funny? Weird? Boring? Disturbing?

I do believe there are lots of ways to approach things. There are lots of ways to go about doing what we want to be doing. Or rather, figuring out what we want first and then deciding how we can accomplish that thing and then being satisfied with the results.

Writing Exercise: What does your MC want? How does he/she know she wants it? Why is it more important than anything else? Why can’t he/she get it? What are their first steps to getting what they want?

Here are some questions I ask myself:  Why do I write? What do I want from it? What does it feel like? Why does it matter? How should I proceed? When should I stop? Why is rice pudding so delicious?

Writing Exercise: Ask yourself the same questions. Sit down and write the answers as fast as you can. Don’t think too hard about it. Just let yourself go.

I’ve been thinking about endings, like I said. What is the right ending? Happy? Open? Closed? True? Not true? Real? False? What about my own story? What about the story of my children, my family, my relationships, my home, my days, my weeks, my months? What does it look like? What does it feel like?

Writing Exercise: What is the right ending for you and your book? Write down a list of all the possibilities. What would each one do to the narrative? How do each change the nature of the book? The reading experience? What feeling do you want your reader to have when they close the back cover? What does the story of this character, of your person, look like? Feel like?

I am rambling.

I think that heaviness is okay because it makes me ramble. It makes me think. It makes me wonder. It makes me imagine.

I have not gathered the endings like I promised. I will. Soon.

There is one at the end of novel that haunted me, it says, “She smiled mysteriously.”

This sentence is loaded and weird and horrible and forgiving—a strange ending to a tragic in some ways hopeless book. She smiled mysteriously.

Any guesses which book?

Now I need to make sandwiches for my boys and clean my house and do my laundry and brush my hair and think about rice pudding. If you do any of these exercises and want to share or tell about your experience, please do.


Filed under Ann Dee, Character, Depression, Exercises, Family, Life, writing process

Looks Like We Missed Three Things Thursday

So here is a writing exercise or two:

If you could direct your own funeral, how would it run?
(I want a dance afterward.)
What would your obit say?

Now let’s think about our characters . . .
What would your main character say about herself in an obituary?
Who would miss her?
Why these specific people?

Last night I dreamed about one of the Project Runway cast shooting up people with a shotgun.
One of the guys from this year said, “Carol, take that gun from so and so and go shoot the moon.”
I looked at him. What??? Oh! This Was Code For Get The Gun!
I was not shot but there was a lot of blood AND a huge (HUGE) piece of concrete in the dream.

When your character daydreams, what are her thoughts?
What is her biggest and best dream for herself?

I have too much writing to do, which is good and bad. I’m very excited. Plus nervous. What if I can’t do what needs to be done?
Why did I set the books back in the olden days?
Why does when I was a kid HAVE to be the olden days?
Why don’t I have a better memory?
Why didn’t I steal a motor home when I was 14?

I also have a band of amazing new creative writing students who will soon write bits and pieces for the blog.
CRAFT pieces!
Woot woot!

Happy weekend 🙂


Filed under three thing thursday

Three Things Thursday

1. I have a book signing! (This is Carol.)
Yes, mark your calendars–please. I hope you can come to The King’s English bookstore on June 23 at 2:00 where I will do a signing for WAITING.
This IS the day after WIFYR. That Saturday after.
I hope everyone in the whole wide world can come.
And guess what? I’ve never done this before, but I am going to actually advertize that I am doing this signing.
Why? It’s embarrassing when the Amazing Ann Edwards Cannon comes to the signing and feels so sorry for me (because it’s just her and Rachel and Margaret and they are all store employees) she buys two books!
(I love Ann. Thank you for buying those two books. She would have bought all the girl scout cookies if her sons had been daughters.)

2. I am doing a final rewrite of a book set in 1969!
Yahoo! Historical fiction that I lived through.
Way way way back in the olden days.

So, I think we, as writers, put our books in the places and times–with the just-right characters–they need to be set in. At least I do.
THE CHOSEN ONE would only have ended up as it did with KYRA as the main character. Another girl might have married her uncle.
When I write, I find a character and follow her to see where she leads. And maybe I know a tiny bit about something to do with the story, but usually it’s all about whoever has decided to be the mouthpiece of the story.
Florida in 1969–well, I was hardly alive, but I have done research.
And it was so Southern.
And so is this little girl and her family.
I’ll send it off this afternoon to my most amazing agent.

EXERCISE–Switch up PLACE for the story you are working on. If your story is modern-day fantasy, change it to something set back in time like Kathryn Duey’s SKIN HUNGER.
If it’s contemporary young adult, play with the setting and make it 1800’s.
Take your time and just experiment. Complete 750 words. I’d love to read them.
Then ask:
What have I learned from my character in this setting?
How is she different now than she was when I started this experiment?
What is one thing I can take for her back to the current WIP?

3. Another writing exercise–
You need paper
pen or pencil

Set the timer for 40 minutes.
Take a deep breath.
Start writing.
Write EVERY idea you have or think you have, of books you can write in the future.
So maybe you have already outlined 7 books for your series. Sure, count those.
But I want you to think of ideas where there is just the germ of an idea and go for those.
Don’t stop and ponder.
Put it all down, even if you don’t think it’s your genre.
Write the whole 40 minutes.

So I have a file with lots of ideas in it.
And those ideas include non-fiction, LDS non-fiction, stuff I could sell on my own if I ever got my website going, picture books, a paranormal idea, historical fiction, things American Girl should buy, nothing fantasy, middle grade starts to stories. YA beginnings.
I have years worth of work waiting for me.
And I’m glad.

I’m a writer.


So Exercise.


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