Story Writing Exercises 987: Monday 24 October

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using coupon codes) and the other is FREE!

Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one. When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

987-bullfrog-702747Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: frost, cross, fox, hunter, arc
  2. Random: taking a look at the weather
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Monday Monologue: your character is about to turn twenty-one

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do 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).
  • One-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… hopefully.
  • 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. 🙂
  • Title: This is the title of your story.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

Tips

  • 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!

Picture above courtesy of morguefile.com

I love to talk about writing so feel free to email me. My online writing group blogs and their associated Facebook groups are:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

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

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One thought on “Story Writing Exercises 987: Monday 24 October

  1. Mark Morris October 24, 2016 at 11:38 pm Reply

    A fox ran across the alleyway in front of him, its tail disappearing through the hole framed by broken fence panel.

    “You’re too quick to run, Freddy, my friend. I could have given you a feed. As it is you’re going to have to take your chances with the cats and the other feral creatures.” The derelict shrugged and spooned the contents of an out-dated can of cat food into the foil dish once used for an Indian take-away. He used his fingers, not having anything else he could use. “Mind you, maybe I could take a bite or two. If you’re not dining with me, perhaps I could start without you.” He stuck his index finger in his mouth, his expression changing as first speculation, doubt and then revulsion ran across his face.

    Shuddering despite his hunger, Manfred wiped his hand under his armpit, trying to remove every trace of the rancid paste. A quick sniff prompted another scowl. “I think you made the right choice, my friend. Better to be a hunter than take free hand-outs, if you get the choice.” He lofted the can quickly back over the fence, the rusty tin arcing out of sight and landing with a crash.

    “Oh, fuck. That sounds like a window!”

    Manfred leapt quickly up and then down, trying to see beyond the panel. In the split second before gravity took hold of him again he spotted a cold-frame, probably empty since the first frosts hit the town. Empty of everything except a shower of glass and a fox’s unwanted dinner.

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