Last week, I talked about changing your writing habits. When I write, I sometimes come up with a character or a plot. Then I thought about changing it up. I decided to start by describing a setting. When I did that, I ended up writing a vingnette set in a forest. I read it over and decided that as exercises went, it had gone well. The only thing was, I didn’t know what was going on in the piece. I wasn’t sure who the character I had spontaneously created. The vignette was in the first person. That led me to other questions my little piece didn’t answer, namely what, when, and why. The question of where was a forest. The question how was on foot. The piece was still good if puzzling. So I decided to try again but answer the questions, who, what, where, when and how.
If my little writing exercise doesn’t do anything for you, that is, it doesn’t induce you to write, try one from the internet. There are many to choose from. Google “writing exercise” and see what happens. Or sit down and try to create one of your own. The way I came up with mine was to sit down and imagine a location. Basically, I started with a setting and the vignette grew from that. I had questions about the setting and answered them, which resulted in a nice description of a forest. Then I tried it again with a beach.
Basically, I pretended I was a newspaper reporter reporting on the scene. I got a short story out of it. Play like this is good for your writing brain. It makes you think about the scene and what it tells about the story. Writing exercises can often trigger ideas like the story that grew out of the exercise I made up. It’s a few thousand words long and I rather liked it. I successfully managed to answer the questions I asked of the scenes. I actually did the exercise more than one, adding a scene to my piece until I’d built it into a nice little short story. I know that not everyone will produce a story from my little exercise, but you should get at least a vignette.
Sometimes exercises don’t do anything for you, but you never know until you give it a try. So if you’d like to try my exercise, I think you’ll find it an interesting experience. Take a setting and write something about it. Or you can sit down and try to come up with an exercise of your own. Either way, I’d be interested to hear about your ideas. Next month, I’ll post the result of the beach story. It’s a nice little story. I enjoyed playing with the words that produced it. I think you will like it, too.