Writing exercises 002: 8th Jan 2013

timer 54392Here are your four exercises for today. 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. Monologue (first person): Your character is waiting for a phone call.
  2. Sentence start (in second person view point): Knowing you’d do anything for him…
  3. Mixed bag (third person): radio DJ (character 1), phone caller (ch.2), message book (object), by the sea (location), forgets to mute whilst saying something bad (dilemma), nervous (trait)
  4. Dialogue only: An argument between two neighbours about a vegetable.

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. 🙂


  • Don’t forget your five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell
  • Show don’t tell: if your character is angry, don’t tell us he is, have him thumping his fist on the table.
  • Colours: Include at least one colour in your story. It does add depth.
  • Use strong verbs and avoid adverbs: Have a character striding instead of walking confidently.
  • Only use repetition to emphasise.
  • When you’ve finished the first draft, read the story out loud. It’s surprising how many ‘mistakes’ leap out at you when you read out loud… assuming you have any of course!

Pictures courtesy of morguefile.com

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. If you’d like to submit a story for critique on this site, see Submissions. The other critique writing groups are:

Thank you for reading this and we look forward to your comments.

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5 thoughts on “Writing exercises 002: 8th Jan 2013

  1. Sue Swift/Suz deMello January 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm Reply

    Thanks, Morgen, this is great! I really need this!

  2. morgenbailey January 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm Reply

    You’re very welcome, Sue. I’ll be posting one a day and putting the links in https://shortstorywritinggroup.wordpress.com/exercises so they’re there whenever you want them.

  3. Rosse Mary Boehm January 9, 2013 at 12:16 am Reply

    Dialogue only:


    “Hey, Jelly, come over here, have a look!”
    “Told you not to call my ‘Jelly’. What is it, Fatface? “
    “Something just there, by the dustbins. It’s moving. And don’t call me Fatface.”
    “Just paying you back.”
    “Well, don’t.”
    “Calm down, I’m coming.”
    “Hurry up. There, by the dustbins…”
    “What are they up to? Why are they moving out? Where could they be going?”
    “Dunno. It’s weird, innit? What I don’t understand is why they don’t stay put, here they have everything they could only dream about a few days back. Abundance. And they’re leaving it behind. That’s crazy. “
    “Maybe they’ve been brainwashed.”
    “They don’t have any brains.”
    “Yeah, well, probably not, ‘cause they’re behaving like an army.”
    “At least they’re leaving, they’re not coming here.”
    “They probably don’t like the neighbours either. Go, guys, attaaaaack!”
    “These maggots must have heard it through the grapevine that the dustmen strike is over and they’re moving on – just in time.”

  4. Rosse Mary Boehm January 9, 2013 at 12:18 am Reply

    Hey, just noticed that perhaps I didn’t play by the rules. Shall learn. Promise.

  5. morgenbailey January 9, 2013 at 6:14 am Reply

    I loved it, Rose (where did Rosse come from?). Rules? Pah! I’m not a rules person – it’s only the vegetable that was missing… maybe the maggots could be crawling over a lettuce leaf. 🙂 Thank you for having a go. x

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