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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

Alternative Timelines

If you haven't already, write a rough synopsis of where your story might be headed. If you already have a pretty good idea of this, but feel stuck trying to get there, try writing a brief "alternate timeline" of the story you have in mind. Are there fixed, important events that happen in your story? What would happen if your characters made different decisions in those crucial moments?

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.

Grab Your Red Pen

Pick a scene or passage you've written that you feel dissatisfied with. Take a short time - maybe 10 or 20 minutes - to read the passage as though it were someone else's work. Take a red pen and make notes in the margins. If you didn't know anything else about the story, where else could this scene go? Try to get a feel for how malleable the words and the story can be.

Three Questions

Come up with three thought provoking questions. Such as:

  1. Who is Sara?
  2. Why is she running down the street?
  3. What is she holding?
Or:
  1. Who is knocking at the door?
  2. Do you know them?
  3. What do they want?
Without stopping to think or check on your spelling, answer these questions as fast as you can, with whatever comes to mind.

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?