The other day I dug through my creative writing files – the old fashioned sort –preparing for a workshop I was presenting for the Brisbane Writers Group, and found this fun exercise. It took me a long time to find, I have a lot of files!
I first did the exercise at a workshop by the respected Australian author Rodney Hall (he won the Miles Franklin twice!) at the QLD Writers Centre well over a decade ago now. It was one of the best I’ve ever attended.
This exercise is a simple way to start a story.
But more that, it demonstrates just how useful setting and description can be when developing the tone of a piece and even in developing character. It’s also great for showing how much impact a little repetition can have in your writing. Sound good?
Let’s do it! Get your writing tools ready!
FIRST – Envision a scene about two people (Person A and Person B) meeting again after a long period. Anywhere, any time, any people.
For each of the following prompts write one sentence without deliberately connecting them.
- Weather – describe the weather
- Object – describe an object in the environment – a non-living thing
- Person A – focus on an item of clothing they’re wearing – does it do something?
- Weather – describe the weather again
- A sound – not speech
- Mood – return to the object and show it reflecting the mood of the scene
- Person A has first glimpse of Person B
- Look at 5 and repeat the sound
- Look at 3 – what is the item of clothing doing now?
- Person A says something surprising
How did you go? Did you come up with something you weren’t expecting that was even just a little bit poetic? I hope so! It’s a great way to start a story or just get those writing juices flowing for the day.
Have you got a favourite writing prompt? I’m always looking for new ideas for my workshops so please do share in the comments.
Always looking for prompts and writing hints and tips yourself? JOIN MY LIST.
The last two spots are still available for my upcoming Magnetic Island Relax and Write Retreat June 21 -23. CONTACT ME for more information.
And last of all, I have a couple of new workshops coming up.
7 JULY at the CYA CONFERENCE which is now including a special day – WRITING FOR ALL THE MARKETS – for writers of crossover fiction and/or adults in its program. Join me for an action-packed life writing workshop!
13 JULY at the QLD WRITERS CENTRE – come along to BUILDING YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER – or as I like to call it, Many Fingers, Many Pies. This is a fun-filled creative exploration of ways to make money as a writer. We all need to make a living and finding ways to pay the bills that align with our writing dreams isn’t as hard as you may think. Come along for some brainstorming, planning and creative collaging on ways to make money from your writing skills. This afternoon workshop is being live-streamed for regional writers. Check it out.
Good luck with all your writing projects. Let me know how you go with the 10 Sentence Story starter. Hope you have fun with it!
Lots of love,