Creative writing exerices and writing prompts for the fiction writer
One of the fastest way to hone your writing skill is simply by writing and then writing more, not just writing when you are inspired, but writing even when you are not, writing everyday despite experiencing writers block or not.
The act of writing everyday helps to keep your mind sharp and ready to be creative, but sometimes it seems impossible to stay inspired, and the ideas that once flowed like a raging torrent becomes a trickle that if not fed, may dry up all together.
A great way to challenge yourself and expand on your writing skill is by the use of creative writing exercises and writing prompts, you may find yourself finding hidden strengths in your writing and hopefully unlocking your inner muse as you work through the process.
Creative Writing exercises to hone your craft
1. Write a story from the end to the start, drag your readers from the present to the past as you and they explore the events leading up to the start of you story. A great exercise in bringing different ideas and themes together into one plot…
Point of view
2 Select a piece of your writing (I find flash fiction or short stories work best for this exercise) and rewrite the entire thing, using a new point of view, so if it was originally written with first person point of view, (I held my breath, waiting) now rewrite with a third person point of view instead (She held her breath, waiting)
This is a great exercise at experimenting with different Point of views and how they influence the flow of the story.
3. Again select a piece of your writing (like above) and rewrite the entire story from a different character’s perspective. This can be a lot of fun exploring what the other characters in your story may be thinking and feeling giving you the writer a new perspective that you may not have tried before.
A great example of this can be found in Stephenie Myer’s Twilight (special edition). At the back of the book there is a small addition titled Midnight Sun. essentially it is Edwards take on that first meeting of Bella, written with his point of view and feelings leading the story. If you can check it out it is a fantastic example of what can be done with this writing exercise.
4. Choose two fictional characters (new or familiar to you and your writing) then create a topic or event that would place these two characters into a verbal argument, where each feels that they are completely right. Write in a way that both you and your reader would be unsure who is right, using the verbal sparring as a platform to expose the motivations and emotions of both characters.
This is a great creative writing exercise for those writers who are unsure of creating conflict between their characters; I personally think its more fun to use characters that are a different gender. (Man and woman) as it allows the writer to explore the way that each sex differs in confrontation moments.
5. Writing from what we know and have experienced in our lives can add depth and a certain realism that can sometimes be hard to recreate when writing solely fiction. So for this writing exercise Think back to the first memory that you have, give yourself time to lose yourself in the moment that your mind recalls for you. Then pick up the pen and write with the voice of the child you were, keep your writing on that path, use a child’s language and understanding.
Once you have finished, rewrite the same scene but with the view of the adult you have become, reminiscing on the same moment with both the understanding of the child you were and the how you feel now as on older wiser adult
Using your own emotions
6. We all have fears, be they of a thing of a situation, for this writing exercise think of the thing that you are most afraid of, Of a situation that could happen but hasn’t, then write about it the form of a short story, using a fiction version of yourself as the main character who has to deal with and overcome the situation.
Fear is a great motivator for us and our characters and this writing exercise is a good way to use a strong emotion of your own to move a story forward.
7. Start keeping a journal of a fictional character; add to it every day exploring this character through her own words,
A great creative writing exercise that not only encourages you to write every day, but it allows for the full exploration of a character that writers don’t always have the time or patience to do when gripped with inspiration to write a story.
On a side note, It is a good writing habit to keep your own journal, to track your thoughts feelings dreams and progress, it is also a great way to help yourself write every day which will only help hone your writing skill in the long run.
A love poem (or song)
8. Choose a love poem or song that you are familiar with (doesn’t matter if it is yours or not) Read over it a few times before writing back a response, you can of course write back a poem or song just as loving or you can mix it up a bit, which I think writing exercises a great excuse to do, so your response may be loving, or scornful, scared or even from someone else that the song wasn’t meant for (like her husband or his wife)
Be imaginative with your writing you may just surprise yourself in what you can create
9. Take one of your short stories and turn it into a piece of flash fiction (under 800 words) A simple way to do this by opening a new copy of your story in a word document and eliminating every word that is not 100% needed to propel the story forward. Of course you can start from scratch using the same plot either way is good.
A great writing exercise designed to tighten sentence and story structure.
10. Writing prompts.
Writing prompts are by far my favorite type of writing exercise, they are a great way to get the imagination started or to try something new in your writing all together. The three kinds of writing prompts that I am going to touch on are the creative story prompts, themes and the wonderful picture prompts all three meant to inspire and kick start your writing.
Creative Story Prompt
The story prompt or story starter is generally presented as an opening sentence that the writer completes, weaving it into a larger overall story.
Some examples to get you started
Write a short story of at least 750 words using of the following opening sentences from below
The sun was warm on my bare skin…
The phone wouldn’t stop ringing…
It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life…
The earth was on fire…
The bells where tolling…
Write a short horror story of at least 750 using one of the following opening sentences from below
The garden was perfect…
The pills scattered across the floor…
“Don’t’ leave me here”…
It happened, three doors down…
The screaming had finally stopped…
Write a short romance story of at least 750 words using one of the opening sentences from below
I knew it was wrong…
I couldn’t believe my ears…
“Are you insane”…
The stairs seemed to wind forever…
Pulling her behind him, he snarled…
Writing theme prompts
Writing for a theme is a bit more relaxed then the story starters where the opening is given to you to expand on.
When writing for a theme you can write anything at all be it a poem or short story as long as it ties into the overall theme that you have chosen
Some examples of this creative writing prompt are below to get you started
Write a poem of any length or short story of at least 750 words based on one of the themes below
A mother’s Choice
Never Say Never
Picture prompts are a lot like themes in that what you write is entirely up to you as long as it ties in somehow to the picture that you have chosen to work.
Some more examples of this are below
Picture prompts are a great way to get the imagination started be if for short story writing or poetry, Choose a picture that holds some interest even if the prompt is for a genre that you don’t normally write for ( a good challenge) take in the image for a while, let your imagination absorb it before you write. For a short story aim for at least 750 words, this helps to kick-start the imagination as we force ourselves to write a certain amount of words, even helping deal with dreaded writers block.
When you write don’t edit yourself, trust you inner muse even if you don’t like what you are writing as it goes onto the page, you may be happily surprised with the results and if not remember...
it is all practise meant to hone your writing, and often even in our worst attempts there can be found hidden gems of ideas, or characters that you as a writer can always return to at a later date for other projects.
Create a character Picture prompt
Sometimes using a visual aid with our writing can be a great help, especially when working on creating a character, so For this writing exercise use the picture prompt to the right, to create a character profile for girl shown.
Her age, race, her career, her skills, her flaws, character quirks, background, go into as much detail as you can , it should be at least ½ page to a full page of information. This exercise is great at helping you build a portfolio of characters for future use, or immediate it is all up to you.
Within the setting picture prompt
With this prompt the idea is to use the setting shown in the prompt as the background of your story, to draw upon the items in the image for the props in your story or poem, often times this type of picture prompt is occupied with a genre for the writer to aim for, such as romance, horror, thriller etc.
Writing is a joy and a craft, so write for pleasure and the more that you write and practise your skill the sooner you will see improvements in your craft, I hope that some of these exercise's and prompts have been helpful, and if you are hungry for more check out some of the marvellous links below, Happy Writing....
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© Kae Grove
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