Writing Exercises

Here are some Writing Exercises I just came up with for myself. They are each designed to be done in as little as 5 minutes, yet expandable (If you really get into what’s going on you could go on writing for hours). I thought I’d share them – if they inspire any writing exercise ideas from you, feel free to share! =)

Word Association; Pick a news article (online, serious or funny) and take a subject from the headline, then brainstorm words associated with that subject. Take one step further by choosing one of the words from that list and repeating the process. (Missing Person – Runaway, Arrested, Kidnapping. Kidnapping – Child Custody, Ransom, Poisoned Candy, Aliens…)

Character Creation; Start filling out a character profile much like you would for a game. Ask yourself questions to delve further into that character. (Sex, Age, Job? Good job? Like job? Family? Married? Good or bad marriage? Why is it bad? Kids?…)

Character Viewpoint; Figure out a short scene where something happens. (I.E. Some people are riding through a medieval town and are halted by a funeral procession). Write out the scene two or more times, from different character viewpoints. Make each scene different by what that character notices or finds important during the scene.

New Plot; Pick a favorite character or historical figure. Figure out one major concept of that character, and twist it around to get it’s opposite. Now write a profile for that character. (I.E. Aragorn, instead of what happens in Lord of the Rings, takes the ring for himself and becomes the next Evil Warlord… i.e. Arthas from World of Warcraft)

Motivation/Quirk; Add three motivations or quirks to the list of motivations/quirks. I.E. Character wants to record and organize compiled lists of all the grasshoppers in the world. Character has a caffeine addiction. Character’s personal hero is Bill Clinton.

Resolution Exercise; Start with “(Name) is (doing something) but is interrupted by (?)…” – Now turn that into a plot arc and finish it. (This is the hook, figure out a resolution, the plot step to get there, and a pinch.)

Dialogue Exercise; Cast a character in your head (feel free to steal the voice from any story, movie, game, etc.) And write out something that happened to you this week, as if that character were telling you. If you want to take it to the next level, cast two characters and write the second’s reactions to the first one’s story.

Transformation; This can be used to expand anything you’ve come up with from the “New Plot” exercise. Take any kind of word association topic and figure out it’s opposite. Write those down, then write down one thing that might help in getting from one to the other. Then, repeat the last step. This can be a plot (a selfish man becoming more altruistic) or an opposite of something we’ve seen before (Mistborn). (I.E. Demon – not a demon. One might become a demon by selling their soul for revenge. One might want revenge if they found out they were cheated on.) (Another I.E. Magic City – Desolate Ruin. A Magical city might become a desolate ruin if the source of magic were cut off. The source of magic might be cut off as a result of some natural disaster. See Elantris.) (Last I.E. Prophesied Hero of Ages to defeat evil – Hero fails to defeat evil… see Mistborn.)

Scene; Take a result from any of the previous exercises and write one scene, around a page or so, that is associated with the results of that exercise.

Detail; Find a picture of something – a person, place, or thing. Describe that picture in a paragraph of disgustingy complex detail. Use a thesaurus to make the paragraph as convoluted as possible. Next step; Sum it up in one sentence, with only one adjective. See if you can do without that adjective by using a different verb or noun.


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