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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

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?

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.

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.

Choose Your Adventure

In a "Choose Your Adventure" book, you are forced to make a decision at each and every plot point. The decisions you make will take you down diverging paths and dictate your eventual fate. Try this if you're stuck on a plot development detail in your story. Sketch out the two different paths that a character can experience from one plot point, depending on what action he or she chooses to take.

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.