Writing Exercise

Best Friends

The concept of a best friend evolves over the course of an individual’s life. Is it only humans that can be best friends? What about animals? Even in the human world, best friends tend to change. Who was your best friend as a child? Who was your best friend in high school or college? What did they look like? Do you remember anything specific they said to you, a statement, a confession, a conversation? Where did you go together? Are you still friends? Name 5 things you knew about them for sure and at least one thing you never knew about them but always wondered. Who is your best friend today?

True-Friends-resizecrop--

Writing Exercise

Curiosity

Cat-stands-by-snow-resizecrop--It’s a natural human response to the world around us, we get curious about everything. Try making a list of 15 things you are curious about. What are the people at the next table talking about? How do homing pigeons find their way home? What was Stonehenge used for? How powerful is the human mind? Does your first girlfriend ever think of you? Whats really going on in India? There is no wrong direction in which to turn your curiosity as a writer. The ability to imagine, to wonder (and sometimes to go find our for ourselves) is a key component in living the writer’s life. In fact, whenever you get stuck as a writer, try leading with your curiosity. If you are working on the early stage of a story, try asking “What if?..” to create alternate plot points, character possibilities, surprises or to shake the project up a little.

Writing Exercise

Your First Car

grand_wagoneerWe are all a a bit mad for our cars. We love them, hate them, buy and sell them, covet them, customize them and spend WAY more time in them then we probably should! What was your (or your main character’s) first car like? Was is new? used? An old junker or a new shiny machine? Where did it come from? How did it feel to drive it? Where did you go? Who was with you? What was the landscape like? What happened to the car? Give us the details!

Writing Exercise

Ancestors

What do you know about your own (or your main character’s) ancestors? What do you know about your family history or lineage? Where were your grandparents born? What did they do? What were their dreams or struggles? What were their joys or sorrows? What about your great grandparents? You might not know many facts about your ancestors or you might know a lot, but even if you have no information at all, use your imagination. What were their names? How did they live? Are their parts or your (real or imagined) lineage that impact how you feel or think or live today?Ancestors

Writing Exercise

Promises

promises  Promises, both implied and spoken, real and imagined, are all around us. Describe a promise that you (or a character in your story) made. Did you make it to someone else or was it a promise you made to yourself? Did you keep the promise? If yes, how did you keep it? If no, why didn’t you keep it? Has there ever been a promise you WISH you had made but didn’t? Has anyone ever broken a promise to you? Can society or governments or even god make promises? Have you ever been part of an implied/ unspoken promise between you and another person? If you need a lead line simply begin with “You promised me that…” or “I promised you that….” or “They promised us that…..”

Writing Exercise

Poetics Statements

pencilPoetics, a word that started with Aristotle, is often defined as a “theory of literary discourse,” but for each of us as writers, our “Poetics Statement” is more akin to a writing manifesto. This is your chance to wildly, brazenly state exactly WHY you are called towards writing. Why do your write? What does it mean to you? What does writing have the power to do? How long have you been doing it? What is it about writing (or words or stories or poems) that you love? Do you always love it, or is it a love/hate relationship? Has your identity as a writer changed over the years? Are there people in your life who know that you are a writer? What do you want from writing? What are you afraid of? What are you willing to do? This statement/manifesto can be a list, a rant, a stream-of-consciousness text, or anything in between. Just start with the line “I write because—” and go for it.

Writing Exercise

Beautiful, Impossible Things

IMG_0645Came across this amazing small thing today that someone built in the branch of a tree on the beach. (Click on the photo to see it in detail.) I was surprised at how many people turned away from taking photos of the blue water and the view out to sea to take a photo of this little stack of rocks. If we pay attention, we notice that our lives are full of small, beautiful, impossible, unexpected things. Think of one from your own life , or in the life of your main character, if you are at work on fiction. What was the beautiful thing? An object? Something someone said or didn’t say? The way the light moved? A sound? A color? A feeling or realization? Take a page and describe it in detail. Let us see what YOU see.