A Plot Development Writing Exercise
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.
Respond to this exercise
Feel inspired? Share your story below.
Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.
The best way to learn is by reading, so pick up a book that had a plot twist that surprised you and yet felt right. Look for subtle foreshadowing in it. Start at the beginning of the book and find the clues that point towards the twist. Make a list of them. Include the wording, so that you can see why they weren't obvious at first.
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.
Lost The Plot?
How do you start a story - or get a story back on track? If you're feeling lost or blocked, try templating to get your plot on course.Here's what to do: bullet point your initiating incident, your rising action, your crisis, and your resolution for both your main plot and subplots. Make a table to see events running parallel, remembering subplots exist to enhance, complicate _ ultimately, compliment _ your main action. Listing like this highlights any irrelevancies, keeping your tale on track, and makes all you write intertwined and significant to your protagonist's journey. Plan out using this framework as your reference.
Come up with three thought provoking questions. Such as:
- Who is Sara?
- Why is she running down the street?
- What is she holding?
- Who is knocking at the door?
- Do you know them?
- What do they want?
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.