I don’t know about you, but I am in a personal writing slump. I have all of these great ideas (or what sound like great ideas to me) floating around in my head, but I always think, “Oh, I can start on that tomorrow.” Well, no more! And what better way to jump start some great writing then with writing exercises? These are from Carol Lynch Williams, one of the most talented YA literary writers out there, and an excellent writing instructor. Seriously, take a class with her and you would see. She consistently gave the best free-writing exercises and doles them out for free on her and author Ann Dee Candee’s blog, Throwing Up Words. Each Thursday she writes a Three Things Thursday post, usually featuring some great, insightful writing exercises to help you hone in on your main character, plot, and setting. Below are some of my favorites from the past year. (Also, check out her list of Whys and Whats to really help you zero in on your book and its focus.) (Read either The Chosen One or Waiting to understand Carol’s brilliance.)
Plain text version:
- For the next few hours, view the work you do – whatever it may be – as the main character in your novel. How do you and your character see things differently? The same? How does this inform your writing?
- Using your senses, describe where you are now. What about where your character is? It’s not a bad idea to use ALL of the senses (yes, all five!) while writing.
- When your character daydreams, what are her thoughts? What is her biggest and best dream for herself?
- Look at five best sellers that are not up to snuff in plot and writing. How would you change them and make them work?
- Look at the climax of your novel. If you tell the climax (which should be about one chapter) in half that amount of space, what would you get rid of? Try this exercise and see how this works for you. Keep only the best words, the strongest words. Make sure what you save moves the story forward to the end. Keep what is essential. Rewrite to make this work.