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Establishing The Background

Think of some information your readers will need to learn to understand the story. This could be technical information or character backstory. Now write an argument between two characters in which you use conflict to share this information.

The Box

As a visual reference, select a box that has dimensions under 12X12 inches. Tape the box closed. Set the box in front of you. Write a story or poem based on what is inside the box.

Any Questions?

There's one powerful motivator that led your reader to your book - curiosity. Our brain doesn't stop asking questions because it knows that's how it learns and evolves. Questions raise uncertainty. Unknowns. And if there's an unknown, then humans want to make it known. There will be a big question that drives your story, so take a couple of minutes to consider the mother-question that propels your book from beginning to end.Your manuscript also needs to be powered by lots of little questions. Your book will need a variety of whos, whens, whys, and wheres to keep your reader engaged. In fact, every scene in your book needs to have a question define it. It's what will keep your reader turning those pages. Review each of your scenes and identify the question/s hanging over it, because once you nail that, their mind will be asking the most important question of all - what happens next?

#TBT

Create a timeline of the significant moments of your character's life. Like many authors, you can use post-it notes or a big whiteboard to visualize your character's life. You can easily move or add events until you feel your character has a well-developed history. After you've finished the timeline, distill it into the top 5-10 moments that have shaped your character. For instance, if loss is a thematically important part of your book, perhaps a significant part of your character's past is when they lost a grandparent as a child.

The Outsider

If you're working on a novel or short story, write a pivotal scene from an outside observer's perspective who has no role in the story.

"You"

Second-person point of view is an intimate way of looking at a character's thoughts. As an exercise, take a scene from the book you're writing. Choose a character, and then re-write the scene entirely from a second-person POV, noticing what details shift because of this perspective change.

Two Kinds of People

"There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don't talk at all, 'cause they walkin'. Now, people who talk the talk, when it comes time for them to walk the walk, you know what they do? They talk people like me into walkin' for them," said Key in the 2005 film Hustle and Flow. Which of these two types are your characters? Write down an exchange between two of your characters that confronts this very difference between them.

RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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