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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

Brainstorming Session

Put a timer on for 20 minutes. Spend the whole time jotting down ideas for a short story or novel. Don't worry if they're coherent _ or even if they're spelled right. From character names and traits, settings, pieces of dialogue, themes, lines of prose - anything that strikes you as being an interesting story element.

Answer The W's

What can be more basic than the simple who, what, why, when and where formula? This common sense plan has proved over and over again that it is not only one of the fastest ways to begin a story, but also an easy creative writing exercise to use when you only have a small chunk of time available.If you want this formula to work for you, then the best way to approach it is to answer those questions quickly. Forget about thinking, analyzing, and worrying until later. For now, let's just start writing. Here's an example to show you how easy it is to start.

  • WHO? Sally _ an eco activist/policewoman
  • WHAT? Having affair with a married politician so she can blackmail and manipulate him.
  • WHEN? Now
  • WHERE? In contemporary Ireland
  • HOW? Recording his every move, generally spying on him in order to destroy him.

Lists Are Your Friend

If you have 5 minutes, prep for your outlining by making a list of lists. This could include:

  • 5 possible endings for your book
  • 5 twists
  • 5 possible subplots
  • 5 ways the subplots could tie into the main plot
  • 5 ways the character could grow
  • 5 surprising things that we could learn about a character
  • 5 ways to add some unexpected elements to the book (humor, suspense, sadness, fear)
  • 5 ways to describe the main setting/another setting