Writer's Block

Stream of Consciousness

Sometimes in order to get over writer’s block, you simply need to put word down after word. Keeping this in mind, set the timer to 15 minutes. Start writing whatever comes to your mind until time’s up. Then do it again — but, this time, write stream-of-consciousness from the perspective of your protagonist.

Writer's Block

Mad Libs

Close your eyes and write down four adjectives at random. Now write down three nouns. Now write down two verbs. Now write down one adverb. Now open your eyes. Your challenge is to write a 500-word short story based off of these ten words.

Writer's Block

The Food Critic

Write a review of a restaurant at which you recently ate. Describe the food as much as you can. Feel free to be eviscerating as well.

Character Development


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.


The Impersonator II

This is Part II of an exercise that practices voice. Pick up a book written by an author that you admire. Now try writing a page of their story, but in your own voice.


The Impersonator

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 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.


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.