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 workshops 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.
- 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!
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.
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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,