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In The Eye of the Beholder

Our individual perspectives define what we first notice about a person's physical appearance. How do your characters see those around them? Describe one character's physical appearance from the perspectives of three other characters. What does each beholder's description reveal about who they are?

The Next Great Author

Develop a character that's an author. Write a short story from the point of view of that author.

The Hook

What is your story's hook? Analyze your opening scene and identify the implicit but specific question it encourages readers to ask. Is this question in the first paragraph or, better yet, the first line? How can you strengthen it?

Two-Thirds

"Gossip, as usual, was one-third right and two-thirds wrong," wrote L.M. Montgomery. Improvise a gossipy dialogue between two characters (Character A and Character B) about your protagonist (Character C). If these fractions are followed, what do Character A and Character B get right about your protagonist - and what do they get wrong?

Talent Show

Your protagonist has been asked to showcase a little-known, unusual talent at a community fair's talent contest. Begin on stage and show not only the performer but also the crowd's reaction to this talent unveiling.

The 81-Word Story

This exercise encourages you to write a complete story using very few words, and helps you learn how to avoid overwriting. When undertaking this exercise, it's essential to edit your work carefully. Strip out anything unnecessary and make every word count. Here's how it works:

  1. Take any novel from your bookshelf
  2. Turn to page 9
  3. Take the 9th word from the 9th line on the page
  4. Use that word to start a story
  5. Write a story that is exactly 81 words long
  6. If you're feeling particularly clever, use 9 sentences that are 9 words long
You can also feel free to visit this website and submit your story to the 81 word writing challenge.

The Observant Writer

Elegant writers use their material with economy. If they write a scene that introduces a character, they might slip in many other things that are also important, whether it's a detail about Character A's birthday, Character A's relationship with Character B, or the weather. In this exercise, write a paragraph of no more than 300 words and try to fit in ten subtle facts about your character into it, without being obvious about it.