Dialogue

The Eavesdropper

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.

Dialogue

Batman versus Superman

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?

Writer's Block

Telephone Directory

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.

Plot Development

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

“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.

Writer's Block

Punctuate:

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.

Writer's Block

The Tiny Stab

Write a short story of whatever topic you’d like, but make sure that somewhere in there, you include this line: “I can’t believe that you stabbed me with a knitting needle.”

Character Development

In Case of Fire

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.

Character Development

The Sorting

Your protagonist’s name is called. They approach the stool, where an old and tattered hat lies. They put on the hat. They will next hear one of four words called out: Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin, or Hufflepuff. Which one is it? Write down the reasons detailing why.

Character Development

Blind Date

Your protagonist meets your villain for the first time — on a blind date. What happens?

Writer's Block

Open-Ended

Have you ever read or watched something with an ending that left you unfulfilled, unsatisfied, or frustrated? Now write a proper ending that fixes the story for yourself. Keep in mind the components of a narrative arc’s resolution while you’re doing so.