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Take Your Characters On A Test Drive

Sometimes a bad case of writer's block boils down to a broken connection between you and your protagonist, and the solution can be a change of scenery. Not for you - for your character! Writing prompts are a good way to get the creative juices flowing and can help you clear out the block so your character can continue down your story's path. For a weekly supply of fresh writing prompts, head here: reedsy.com/writing

The Story Swamp

Sometimes writers think up a character and jump straight into writing, without fully fleshing out the concept at a foundational level. This then means they falter and end up writing a very confused draft. I call this 'The Story Swamp.'Avoid The Story Swamp by writing a 'logline' or 'pitch' of approximately 25-60 words. This logline should cover what B2W calls The 3 Cs:Character: Who is your protagonist? What does s/he need or want?Conflict: Who is the antagonist? Why does s/he want to stop or counter your protagonist? What other obstacles are in your protagonist's way?Clarity: Do we know what genre or type of story this is? Are you using familiar or clich_d language? Are your word choices too vague?

The Page-Turner

Have you read a book you couldn't put down? A good writer knows how to keep the reader's attention - and the secret of that is pacing. Take a page-turner and analyse how it kept you gripped. Usually it's because each scene introduced something new, which might be a major revelation or a tiny shift in the way the reader perceives a character. Run through the entire book and write down the purpose of every major scene and turning point.

Presidential Speech

Write a presidential speech about why your country needs more ice cream.

Consider the World View

When describing your setting, consider who's looking at it as well as what they see. For example, an ex-con is likely to view (and describe) a restaurant hosting a police officer's retirement party differently than the daughter of the retiring officer. Take the point-of-view-character's world view and personal judgment into consideration. What details would they specifically notice? How would they feel about what they see? What emotions or thoughts might those details trigger? This allows you to craft richer settings that reflect both the character, and the world they live in.

The Forbidden Prompt

"There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable" _ Mark Twain. Your character is doing something someone else has forbidden. Someone else discovers. Will there be a confrontation? Or will the discoverer be so uncomfortable that (s)he will ignore or throw hints instead? This is a great scene to practice tension between two characters as well as the internal thoughts of one of the characters.

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.