A Writing Exercise
I like to give myself five to ten minutes each time I sit down with the intent to write. I use this short period of time to ramble. No correcting, no going back. No editing. Just write. Then I save the document and look at it later. I have found that it really gets me going, helps me find my flow...though I have to say that I come up with some really ridiculous things when on such a time constraint.
Something else that I found is that when under pressure I tend to rhyme. It is a strange thing to me since I am not a fan of rhyme, but I usually end up falling into a rhyme scheme, and some sort of rhythm. Oh well. I am basically sharing this because it gets me ready to write. I was hoping it may help some others too.
My writing exercise of the day
How can I possibly write a book? I am not really that talented. I am not all that intelligent. I think that I have the ideal idea, perhaps a prolific plot.
My characters are alive you see, and they explain to me what happened in each scene. They put so much pressure on me; they criticize my word choice, my structure, my flow. They cannot seem to let any little qualm go. I try to bargain, I try to explain but in the end I know that I must give in if I want to grow.
When they protest my inaccurate descriptions, and balk at my unwitting contradictions I have learned that I must take heed. My characters have learned how to get exactly what they need. They want truth, they want to be raw. They want honesty; they want the readers to be in awe. They want every dirty little secret to be exposed to the unsuspecting world. They want me to kill them, to follow my own storybook rules.
It hurts me to do it, but I realize they are right. There was no way for my character to make it out of that fight. I have to grit my teeth and do it, put my baby to sleep all for the sake of reality.
I argued with my protagonist once. He wanted me to take it easy on him, reserve some of his problems for later, let him breathe. I almost instantly began to seethe, let you breathe? No I must stretch you, I must strain you, I must put you through Hell! Character development must come from somewhere, more than just an empty shell. He pierced me with those hawk eyes I designed and said so calmly, you developed just fine.
It was true. I did not suffer through all of my days; development takes more than just pain. It takes quiet reflection…one of my character’s traits. Oh wait; I see where he was going with this. I was neglecting his character for the sake of developing his character…how blind. Why is it that I never see what he sees? Those eyes, that’s right I made him that way...
What I like about this exercise is that when you are finished you can go back at your leisure and reread. You can find out which literary devices you turn to under pressure, and which devices you may need to work on. I have noticed that my carefully worked on metaphors never make an appearance in my exercises. Perhaps I need to spend some more time on them. These exercises have made me more accepting of my strengths and acutely more aware of my weaknesses.
I challenge you to give it a try. Don't start your piece with an idea, just write the first word that pops into your head. Continue from there and do not look back. There are two ways this can go, you can amaze yourself. Or humiliate yourself. Sometimes both. In most occasions you will make yourself laugh.
More by this Author
The developing identities of main characters in popular fiction.
Analyzing the role of Moloch in Ginsberg's Howl.
A brief essay on the role of women in Shakespeare's Othello and Ann-Marie Macdonald's Goodnight Desdemona.