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!woman with endless 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 workshops I’ve ever attended.

school room 1900s 2_1050x700

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.

  1. Weather – describe the weather
  1. Object – describe an object in the environment – a non-living thing
  1. Person A – focus on an item of clothing they’re wearing – does it do something?
  1. Weather – describe the weather again
  1. A sound – not speech
  1. Mood – return to the object and show it reflecting the mood of the scene
  1. Person A has first glimpse of Person B
  1. Look at 5 and repeat the sound
  1. Look at 3 – what is the item of clothing doing now?
  1. Person A says something surprising

lovers reunite

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!

I love the way the weather and the object play such important roles. A really great exercise for those who have trouble utilising setting to its fullest potential.

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 COMMUNITY.

There are still some spots available for my upcoming FEEDBACK AND REVISION RETREAT in Springbrook in the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland. More info HERE or CONTACT ME. Early bird prices close 31 October 2020 – so hurry!!

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,

Edwina xx

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