Writing exercises 001: 7th Jan 2013

timer 54392Here are your four exercises for today (the first ones, this blog’s only a day old!). Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

You can do them in any order.

  1. Sentence start: Feeling the movement in the…
  2. Keywords: potato, Monday, press, more, window
  3. One-word prompt: Frail
  4. Mixed bag: doctor, horse-rider, potato peeler, cemetery, lost (dilemma), shy (trait)

Have fun and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

See below for explanations of the prompts, they will vary…

  • Sentence starts = what they say on the tin. You can start the beginning of the story with them or a later sentence but they’re a great way of kicking off.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the story but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = two characters, an object, a location, a dilemma, a trait. Mix them all together and you have a plot… usually.
  • First person piece or monologue (a one-sided conversation).
  • Dialogue only = this is where you literally just write a conversation between two people. No ‘he said’, ‘she said’ or description, just speech and the reader has to be able to keep up. 🙂
  • Second-person = some of you will know that I champion. The prompt can be in any style but has to be written in second-person viewpoint… oh, what a hardship. 🙂

I love to talk about writing so feel free to email me. I’ll be pasting these in this blog’s Facebook Group so you may find some other comments there.

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9 thoughts on “Writing exercises 001: 7th Jan 2013

  1. paulaacton January 11, 2013 at 10:51 am Reply

    love the idea of an online writing group but I know at the minute am too stretched to take on anything else will be following though and cheering you on from the sidelines

  2. morgenbailey January 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm Reply

    That’s OK, Paula. Feel free to dip in whenever you like / can.

  3. morgenbailey January 15, 2013 at 9:04 am Reply

    Thanks for the link to your story, Zakkiyya. I really liked it, and well done for writing it.

    Is it inspired by the keywords? I couldn’t see ‘potato’ there – perhaps impossible to get in. Had it been set in the UK she could have eaten a jacket potato (whole potato cooked in its skin). 🙂

  4. Zakkiyya January 17, 2013 at 10:07 am Reply

    Yes Morgen, it was inspired by the keywords. I definitely drew a blank on ‘potato’ lol.
    I’m starting a bit late with this group but I will definitely keep working on the exercises whenever time permits.

  5. morgenbailey January 17, 2013 at 10:14 am Reply

    Congratulations on getting every but potato. Five words don’t sound like much to get in but they have to feel so natural that the reader forgets (if they knew) the keywords given. As for you being ‘late’, this blog in less than two weeks’ old so you’re a newbie.

    If you do miss any of the exercises they’ll be linked in https://shortstorywritinggroup.wordpress.com/exercises. Each site has its own Exercises page although the novel / script exercises are the same as here. The poetry ones do differ, and started a little later, and are listed on http://poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com/exercises.

    Delighted to have you here. There’s also a linked Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/groups/544072635605445) should you be on Facebook. Plus there are three other writing group blogs (novels, scripts, poetry) with Facebook groups – see http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/online-writing-groups for those links.

  6. Sirena December 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm Reply

    This is an excerpt drawn up for my Shifter novel. I’m sure one day I’ll actually put them all together into something resembling a story, but for now, I present to you snippet number eight!

    I hope it’s still all right to post a response to this exercise.

    Frail
    by Sirena Carroll

    Frail.

    That was the only word that came to mind when he first laid eyes on her. She was slight and mousy, her eyes downcast like a chastised child’s. Her brown hair was a cascade of perfect ringlets.

    A doll’s locks, he thought.

    Pinching the bridge of his nose, he leaned back in his chair and heaved a frustrated sigh. He’d asked for a warrior, not a submissive little girl with no substance. Thomas Eldrid was striking at the Shifter packs in his territory with ruthless efficiency. He needed someone who could fight back.

    He needed Katharine Fury.

    But Katie had disappeared off the face of the earth after the death of the Dridan Alfa. Lucas Dridan’s corpse had been left lying in the road like that of a stray dog, run down and abandoned.

    Valerian didn’t know what to make of it all. It made little sense to him that the girl would have just up and run. But she had, leaving her mate discarded in the gutter like so much worthless trash.

    He hadn’t visited the scene himself. The kill had occurred on the Dridan territory which was twenty miles out of his jurisdiction. He had enough to worry about on his own land without stepping on the toes of an ally pride.

    He’d sent his beta Tanith instead. Betas, though still respected, were not as unnerving as an Alfa. His presence in their midst so soon after the loss of the Dridan’s own Alfa would have been… tense at best. Tanith’s arrival would be a sign of respect rather than a challenge.

    Tanith had returned three days later, his lips pinched tight with concern.

    “Her scent was all over him,” he’d told Valerian.

    “So she was there when he was killed.”

    “There’s no doubt,” his beta replied. “But the scent was not that of guilt and violence. It was terror and anguish, Valerian. An anguish so thick I can still taste her pain on my tongue. The very air was laden with it.”

    Valerian had frowned, a flash of concern washing over him. The facts didn’t add up. Why was the Dridan pride still hunting Katie when the scent she left on Lucas wasn’t the mark of a killer?

    He had not allowed himself to dwell on Tanith’s troubling discovery for too long. He had his own problems and, fortunately or unfortunately for her, Katharine Fury was not one of them. She had fled. Her choice had been made.

    Now, however, he found himself wishing he’d taken more of an interest in what had become of Katie. She had been the best Warrior Wolf this side of the states. As he stared at the bowed head of the Shifter feline before him, he had a vicious desire to throw her a ball of yarn and a catnip mouse.

    “What’s your name, girl?”

    His tone was rougher than he’d intended. When he saw her flinch, he suppressed the urge to swear. God save him from twitchy kittens.

    “Terra,” she whispered.

    “Sarah?” he queried innocently. Oh, he’d heard her correctly.

    “Terra.” The girl spoke louder this time. Her eyes flicked up to meet his before she returned her gaze to the floor.

    “Do you like my carpet, Terra?” Valerian asked conversationally. Leaning back in his chair, he linked his hands behind his head.

    “Sir?” She was confused.

    “You seem very interested in the rug,” Valerian explained. “It was imported from Russia. Do you like it?”

    Lifting her head, Terra looked at him with bewilderment.

    “I… sir?”

    “Terra, I’m going to be straight with you.” Valerian leant forward. “I asked for a feline warrior. Trian sent you. I look at you and I can’t help but feel the fool. I’m sure you understand?”

    Silence was his only answer. Her eyes were once more on the floor. She was too submissive, too quiet, too frail.

    “You seem like a sweet, obedient young woman. But I’m not convinced you’ve got what it takes to fulfill the role I need.”

    She tilted her head up, her eyes meeting his. The kitten was gone, replaced by the quiet intensity of a hunting lioness.

    “Sir,” she said, her voice low and serious. “I admire your carpet out of respect. You are an Alfa. I am not of this pride. Would you have me challenge you on site by looking you in the eye?”

    Valerian opened his mouth to respond but Terra didn’t give him the opportunity.

    “You did not earn the title of Alfa by underestimating your enemies. Extend the same courtesy to your allies. I was sent for a reason and my objective is clear. I will fight for you and you will discover that even a cub’s claws can be deadly.”

    • morgenbailey December 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm Reply

      Absolutely, Sirena.

      • Sirena December 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        Oo, yay. In that case, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! I love writing prompts.

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