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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

Beginnings

Getting started is one of the most difficult tasks that faces every writer. Julie Parsons is an international bestselling author. For this exercise, she's giving you the opening lines from some of her books. Take the following lines and use them to write the beginning of your own chapter:

  1. You could say it began with a phone call."
  2. Michael had watched them both for weeks."
  3. She remembered the way it was the first time she saw the prison."
  4. Midsummer, no time to be in New Orleans."
  5. With the dawn came the light."

Sweater

Describe your favorite item of clothing. Is it a favorite because of how it feels, how it looks, or because of an event you wore it to? What do you think the item of clothing shows about you?

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.

No Vowel

Write a passage without the letter "E" or "A." This is known as a lipogram and has been used by authors in many languages to write their novels. You will use unusual sentence constructions, and it may slow you down for a while, but it will certainly force your brain to work in different ways.

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.