Your protagonist has just been bequeathed $5 million dollars. The money came from an anonymous benefactor who wants your protagonist to donate all of it to five charities. How does your protagonist react? In a short story, write down what would happen next.
This is Part I of an exercise that practices voice. Pick up a book written by an author that you admire. Absorb the voice in which they write. Now try writing a page of your own story, but in their voice.
The most important thing about dialogue in any story is that it must sound real. The next time you go outside, discreetly listen in on any conversation between two people (Person A and Person B) for five minutes. Observe everything about the way that they talk. Then go home and "fill in the blanks," using Person A and Person B's cadences and speech patterns to complete the conversation yourself.
Comic books don't have the luxury of prose, so what's said out loud needs to be both relevant and authentic. Take any conversation in your manuscript and try to transport it into the pages of a comic book. What is really important that MUST be said? What remains a visual?
It is commonly known that a telephone directory might be the most boring text in the entire world. Here is your challenge: write a page of a telephone directory and figure out SOME way to make it interesting.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So began Seth Grahame-Smith’s book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which (you guessed it) re-imagined Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in a world with zombies. Sometimes one big twist is all it takes to get you thinking about a story in a different way. How would the introduction of zombies shake things up in your world? How would it affect the relationships between your characters? How would it change priorities? Which parts of your world would stay the same, and which parts would be different? Detail this in a short story of 1,000-2,000 words.
This is a challenge that will exercise your prowess at one of the oft-used components of English: punctuation. To start off, write a paragraph of no more than 500 words about the benefits of skin care. Within this paragraph, use ; : — – ! ? “ ‘ , . at minimum twice.
Moments of crises force characters to act without thinking, revealing things that might not have been previously obvious. Now imagine that there has been a blazing fire in your protagonist’s house. What are the three things that your protagonist would unthinkingly grab as he or she breaks for the door? In 500-1,000 words, put this scene and its aftermath down on paper.