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5 Challenges for Writers

Updated on June 8, 2012

There is this guy, a bad writer. I bump into him all the time and I find him always staring at me. It's crazy! Is he following me? Why?! And how am I supposed to improve my writing if I have to deal with this guy day after day? Maybe I should get those damn mirrors off the wall.

Anyway, I'm doing my best to put on writing muscles. Yep, that's why I do these writing exercises. They're rumored to be helpful. They'd better be, because otherwise I'd need to help myself to some other avocation. And since you are a good friend of mine, I guess, I can share them with you. They are from the heart.

My ancestor was in the Trojan Horse.
My ancestor was in the Trojan Horse. | Source

Challenge #1 - The Legend

Dig up a family legend. Ask your family members if anything interesting happened to them or to someone they know in the past.

They don't need to be convinced that it's true. If the story is not particularly interesting you can spice it up a bit, but it shouldn't loose its personal touch.

Special Edition: Man eats underwear to beat breathalyzer.
Special Edition: Man eats underwear to beat breathalyzer. | Source

Challenge #2 - Displaced Story

Look at a local paper from a foreign country (can be English-speaking) on the net. Try to find a story that intrigues you, maybe something weird and read it carefully. Can you imagine this same story happening in the streets of your home town, maybe in your own street? What would change? What would stay the same? What kind of characters might become involved?

Condom machine. (I don't practice Safe sex. I've mastered it.)
Condom machine. (I don't practice Safe sex. I've mastered it.) | Source

Challenge #3 - The Safe

Imagine that two people are trapped overnight in a safe. It's a large safe but nevertheless a small, cramped, stifling place for two people.

You can decide who these two are, how they got into the safe, how they relate to each other, what their night spent together in the safe is like, what their emotions are when rescued in the morning.

Eavesdropping: Trust No One.
Eavesdropping: Trust No One. | Source

Challenge #4 - Eavesdropping

Get out to the streets maybe to a crowded park or square and look at your fellow citizens. Pick one that you find interesting and follow them. Stay close enough to be able to watch how they move and what they do. Try to overhear what they say. Gather as much information about your target's life as you can. Then write up some fiction about this character based on the details you've collected.

Challenge #5 - Free Choice

Pick any of these topics:

  • imagine your parents together before they got married and write about what they could be like back then,
  • take an inspiring photo and write anything that comes to mind,
  • take a personal secret or ask your friends for one and write a story about it,
  • describe a ritual that you have in your life,
  • pick an object you like and tell your story imagining yourself as that object.

If you do any of these stories please leave a comment and perhaps a link for me. I'd like to read them. Thank you. :)


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    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for the story idea tips. Very useful. I like the eaves-dropping one.

    • makusr profile image

      Manoj Kumar Srivastava 6 years ago from India


      It's not only challenging but very informative. Thanks for doling out the ideas. Wiil definitely try one.

      Lots of Love,


    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I'll be doing challenge number 1 this week. It involves much mystery. I would really like to solve the "Flying Torso" legend that haunts my 7 year old mind.

    • Kharisma1980 profile image

      Kharisma1980 7 years ago from Toronto

      Great stuff; thanks for this post! :)

    • Hymes Design profile image

      Hymes Design 7 years ago from

      Very interesting, I can't wait to try them out

    • Dobson profile image

      Dobson 7 years ago from Virginia

      I am always scouring any source for writing ideas, so this came at a perfect time. I enjoy your humor and creativity.

    • profile image

      MrMidNight 7 years ago

      I like to say thanks for becoming one of my follows it is appreciated and I hope I answered your question to the best of my ability. I think you would be interested in a hubber/writer who goes by the name of MrDSpade, the poetry will not disappoint.

      Goodbye, for now

    • Wrath Warbone profile image

      Terry Chestnutt 8 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      This challage has enthused me. Thanks.

    • profile image

      asim_sj 8 years ago

      great ideas thank foe posting

    • Valarie King profile image

      Valarie King 8 years ago from California

      Great ideas! I've been expericing writer block for awhile now due to stress. Thanks though! I'll be sure to give these a try!

    • pinkhawk profile image

      pinkhawk 8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient i have an idea on what to do..:) thank you very much Sir! :)...(i'll try this one time)

    • dksuttle profile image

      Donna Suttle 8 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      I am a poet who hit a very hard wall when my house burned to the ground last May. I used the family legend idea to break through. Thanks for the tip.

    • annie laurie profile image

      annie laurie 8 years ago from England

      What a fascinating hub loved the ideas so useful I may have a go at them soon

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I like # 5 best, this is a great set of novel ( no pun intended ) ideas. Well done

    • Bbudoyono profile image

      Bbudoyono 8 years ago

      Thanks for this great tips.

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 8 years ago from Canada

      Wow, some great tips I must try them all now. Now shall I rise to the challenge and write them all?

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 8 years ago from Hungary

      lol, you've got me hooked, I'll go and find those two instances. :)

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      Great tips. I have done #1 already, twice. Tried #4 and got slapped. #5 would just be too sick for me because you know where that would lead me. LOL

    • livewithrichard profile image

      Richard Bivins 8 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Good writing challenges. I use a variation of #4 all the time in my screenwriting. I go to the local mall and observe (in a non-stalking kind of way) it helps me create a voice for certain characters.

    • profile image

      ftgfmom 8 years ago

      awesome ideas. thanks enjoyed

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 8 years ago from Hungary

      Thanks NT and J.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am going to try challenge #2 sounds interesting to me and even a senior hubber could use this valuable information. :)

    • Not Telling profile image

      Not Telling 8 years ago from Eastern Nowhere

      I wrote this in response to your challenge.

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 8 years ago from Hungary

      Yes, actually there's nothing wrong with that exercise as long as you don't make a habit of it. :) Thanks.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Great ideas, Haunty! Writing fiction can be daunting, casting around for characters and plot. It can be hard to realize that stories are everywhere. I hope you don't get in trouble following those people around, they might think you are a stalker! (haha)

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 8 years ago from Hungary

      In my mirrors hub you said you didn't like mirrors so I though you were referring to that, but then about ten minutes later I remembered thatthere are mirrors in this one too. lol

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      I am definitely going to do at least one of these. Thanks for proposing them this way, because now I'll be able to come back here and remember what I was writing about!

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 8 years ago from Cornwall

      Really good ideas , gonna try them. Get rid of those damn mirrors, they are nothing but a nuisance lol