View Full Version : Writing exercises
September 28th, 2002, 08:53 AM
I've lately been going back to basics and trying out a number of different writing exercises in order to develop my style and ability.
Amongst those I've tried is simple description of scenes outside my window and re-writes of famous fables and even transcribing comic books into prose.
As a side note (not to mention a blatant plug) I think another good exercise will be Computers attempt to start a group story on the thread 'Authors co-operate.' Anyone willing can still sign up.
Other than that though, how does everyone else warm up their creative side?
September 28th, 2002, 02:39 PM
I read a little in fantasy books, then other times I write lists of character names,places, maps,draw pictures and so on.I then look through my pictures(a lot of em)and that helps.I also look at my book so far.
September 28th, 2002, 02:58 PM
My favorite thing (lately) to warm up? Pretending that I'm a 3 year old. "Why, why, why?" I ask that question about everything and derive great pleasure from it. <g> (Drives my husband crazy for some odd reason. "Why aren't the dishes done?" "Eeep!")
September 28th, 2002, 03:49 PM
Until it became a pay site, Del Rey hosted a writer's workshop on the web that I really enjoyed. (Membership is now ~ US $40/year.)
A group of some of the writers there got together and posted a monthly writing challenge. The idea was that you would write a short piece (<7500 words) on whatever topic was suggested for that month.
Examples of ideas:
- a love story (in a SF/F context)
- trapped (interpret creatively)
- beginnings & hooks - write a single page opening to a novel that makes the reader want to turn the page
- poems & lyrics
Obviously the list can really go on, but that was the idea. I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to start something like that here. The basic idea was then if you submitted, you went through and critiqued the submissions of everyone else.
September 28th, 2002, 11:31 PM
I keep meaning to bring up something like that! :)
When I was much (much) younger, a group of friends and I had something like this. Every month, we wrote a story on a new theme and then critiqued each others' work. It helped all of us immensely (we are all still writing).
Right now, I'm starting something with a woman I go to school with--challenging her to write a little something every week.
At any rate...here are some of the exercises: re-writing an obscure fairy tale, writing a story from an alien's perspective, a creation myth...
They're pretty generic, but being *forced* to do something sometimes helps (those of us that work well under deadlines, anyhow) :)
Is anyone else interested in something like this?
October 3rd, 2002, 11:20 AM
I think that sounds like quite a solid idea young pirate. I'd definately be up for it if anyone else was interested. I think Holbrook started something similar with his critiquing thread, but the appeal for me is to be forced to write something new, rather than just having people look over things the general drift of my writing anyway. Maybe if others express an interest here we could setup a new thread on this elsewhere?
October 3rd, 2002, 01:27 PM
I would definately(?) be willing to do something like that.
October 3rd, 2002, 02:00 PM
About a year ago or so, I started some writing excercises on here based upon different excercises from a creative writing class I had taken in college some years back (still have the textbooks).
we did things like:
Picture yourself in first person walking into a tavern. Describe what you see...the setitng, the action, and characters around you. No more than 4-5 pages.
Then excercise #2 was: Pick another character ad describe the SAME scene from their viewpoint.
Excercise #3 was to do the scene from third person perspective.
Then we moved on to a new scene.
This helped us learn to "flesh out" writing. Instead of writing one-dimensional stories, it forces you to at least consider the scene more closely when writing it. Plus, by using two different viewpoints, it helps you make reactions of hte other characters much more realistic by forcing you to see the action from their viewpoint.
Another excercise would be to describe one common object in the room you are writing in. Use AT LEAST 2 full pages.
We did one in which we each re-hashed a conversation between two pre-determined characters to help us develop our dialogue skills.
This helps writing in detail.
Basically, none of thee excercises should take more than 10-15 minutes, but they help consider more than just "telling a story" by helping you develop the basics of writing... the best viewpoint from which to tell a story (e.g. first person or third person), knowing when too much detail hurts a story, or when to little leaves it hollow.
Of course, we critiqued each other along the way. Basically, writing is both a talent and skill. You must have the innate ability to create a unique story, but telling it properly is a skill that must be honed, practiced, and developed. I like such exercises.
October 3rd, 2002, 08:11 PM
posted by Sidwynspider...how does everyone else warm up their creative side?
Personally a few gallons of beer tends to get the juices flowing.
Along with watching very poor renditions of sci-fi and fantasy on TV and realising that even in a drunken stupor you could write something more original, creative and thought provoking.
On the idea of exercises... these are all well and good for improving your ability to write good grammatically correct English, but, (and it's a big Sumo wrestler sized butt!), if you don't have the aforementioned creativity the story (no matter how well it's written) won't tickle anyone's fancy.
Just my opinion, try not to take offense if you don't like it.
October 4th, 2002, 03:17 AM
:) It is, of course, a valid opinion. And I agree with your points: 1) if an exercise is designed for the purpose of improving one's grammar, it would fail to influence creativity. 2) a lack of creativity "won't tickle anyone's fancy" [oh...and 3). A gallon of beer gets the creative juices flowing...or, with my weight to fat ratio, might send me into creative la-la land, but that's beside the point. ;) ]
Exercises are not exercises in grammar/punctuation: they are exercises in thought. Without thought, we cannot have creativity. Without thought and craft, we have neither creativity nor the tools with which to express our creativity. Exercises (if well-designed and sincerely approached) should create new neuropathways, fluff dendrites, and generally make the brain a better instrument. If someone lacks creativity, so it is. If an exercise helps someone think in different creative ways, so much the better. :)
Now running on on a hamster wheel (aka: the treadmill)
... :confused: That sort of exercise I'll never understand. :D
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