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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

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.

Magic #50

At the root of all writer's block? Fear. You'll recognize it by the questions you ask yourself when you sit down to write: Can Ireally finish an entire story? Am I a good enough writer to pull this off? Will this story matter to anyone? Or am I wasting my time? And what if I sound dumb?But the specific fear doesn't matter if you know how to soothe it. Here's what to do: Lie down. On the couch. In bed. In the tub (Hey, don't knock it! Sometimes it's the only place writers can find some time alone!). Lie down where it's comfortable and quiet, and write fifty words.That's it.Either the exercise helps you break through the anxiety, and you keep writing. Or you have fifty words more than you had yesterday, and you try again tomorrow. Either way, lie down and write fifty words.

The Word Salad

Our subconscious minds combine items in unexpected, sometimes whimsical ways. Set a timer for twenty minutes and use at least three of these words in your draft. Write without stopping: a red scarf, windshield wiper, chrome, doily, blowtorch, spatula, CD-ROM, postage stamp, frittering, static cling, radio silence, kismet, calamity, heartburn, bandage.

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Write an advertisement putting your 12-foot long crocodile on the market. Then write the story behind why you had to sell your pet crocodile in the first place.

The 81-Word Story

This exercise encourages you to write a complete story using very few words, and helps you learn how to avoid overwriting. When undertaking this exercise, it's essential to edit your work carefully. Strip out anything unnecessary and make every word count. Here's how it works:

  1. Take any novel from your bookshelf
  2. Turn to page 9
  3. Take the 9th word from the 9th line on the page
  4. Use that word to start a story
  5. Write a story that is exactly 81 words long
  6. If you're feeling particularly clever, use 9 sentences that are 9 words long
You can also feel free to visit this website and submit your story to the 81 word writing challenge.

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