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5 Simple Writing Exercises

Updated on July 2, 2018

I: Word List Challenge

This ancient challenge will work with any combination of nouns and verbs that you can customize to your preferences and writing style/pace if you already have one established.

A solid, general format to use:

2 generic nouns

1 proper noun

1 verb

You can write the words on pieces of paper and draw them randomly from a bucket, or use an online word generator to come up with the list for you. You can select the words from a book or any other reading material and add to it over time so you never run out or get the same list twice.

II: Book Challenge

Use a sentence from a book as a starting point for a scene.

Open to page 7, 30, 52, 41, 100. Or your favorite number.

Copy sentence 3, 8, the last one, first of paragraph 4, second to last on page.

Writers are stealers, combine 2 sentences from one book or 2 sentences from different books and use them as opening and closing sentences, and work on the writing in between.

Combine this with another exercise for a dual-challenge.

Adjust this for ebooks! Instead of physical books, pull up any book on amazon or another book retailer and use the publicly-available samples inside instead of a physical book if you prefer.

III: Character Creation Challenge

Plug your name or the name of a friend into a thematic name generator.

Based on the result, fill out the following character profile:




Alignment: lawful, neutral, chaotic/ good, neutral, evil

Hair color/style:

Eye color/style:

Scars/ tattoos/ identifying marks:


Home town:


Defining Moments in life:

You might choose to add more to this list, but do not remove anything. If it does not apply, simply write "N/A" for "not applicable." The purpose is to create a story based around this character, and from there, the possibilities are endless.

Alternatively, you might search for art that focuses on people and create a profile based on the image you're presented with.

Another way to get your brain going for this challenge is to people watch out in public or combine two characters from your favorite book, t.v show or movie.

Some thematic name generators:









IV: Cataclysm Challenge

Perfect for more plot-based writers or those of you who prefer world-building writing.

A cataclysm breaks out in your area. It's powerful enough to change the landscape and destroy your home. The whole state/region is out of power.

During this event, you discover something about yourself. It might be a super power, or a characteristic flaw/ability (lack of compassion, survival instincts, etc)

Your goal is to find safety. You interact with at least 2 people on your way. 1 of them has a physical, mental or emotional ailment or inhibition caused by the disaster.

Which of the exercises do you like most?

See results

V: Dialogue Challenge

Write 250 words of a dialogue exchange between 2 unrelated characters who have never met and got stuck together in an elevator. Dialogue only, no dialogue tags, no explanations. Everything written must be between quotation marks.

Your goal is to answer any questions a reader might have while still making the conversation sound natural, and also be intriguing.


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