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The Writer's Compass » Writing Exercises

Put the Reader into the Character’s World

Writing Exercise By showing your readers what the world around your characters look like you accomplish at least two things: You help the reader feel they are part of that world, watching up close and personal. You show the reader who the character is by the details they notice and therefore what is important in that world to the character.   How do you know which details to show? In part the genre you are writing in will help you to decide which details to use. In a mystery you will show things that are clues or red herrings to lead away from the clues. In a horror story you might show gruesome details. In a romance, the details will tend to have a rosy glow or have a dichotomy. An example would be: Ida stood on the … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Writing Exercises

Be the Antagonist – Creative Writing Exercise

View yourself as the antagonist to the hero in your story.   •What do you think your hero wants?   •Why do you want to stop the hero from succeeding?   •What are three things you will do to stop the hero from getting what he or she wants?   •What do you, the antagonist, want?   •How far will you go to stop the hero and get what you want?   Write three paragraphs describing: 1. Who you are? 2. What the story is about? 3. Why you have to win? 4. Whether you succeed.   If you would like to share, please post in the comment section below and email me at nancy *at* nancyellendodd *dot* com so I make sure that your comment does NOT go into the spam trap. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, FREEBIES & PURCHASE, Writing Exercises

Be the Antagonist – Creative Writing Exercise

Be the Antagonist Creative Writing Exercise   View yourself as the antagonist to the hero in your story.   •What do you think your hero wants? •Why do you want to stop the hero from succeeding? •What are three things you will do to stop the hero from getting what he or she wants? •What do you, the antagonist, want? •How far will you go to stop the hero and get what you want? Write a few paragraphs describing: 1. Who you are 2. What the story is about? 3, Why you have to win? 4. Whether you succeed? If you would like to share, post in the comments section and email me – nancy *at* nancyellendodd*dot*com – so that I can be sure your comment does not go into the spam trap. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, FREEBIES & PURCHASE, Writing Exercises

Creating Ideas for the Middle Act

Creating Ideas for the Middle Act

How do you fill in the middle? Starting your story with a great hook, the climax, and the ending are often parts of the story writers have in mind when they begin their story. When it comes to the middle, it is often a big hole in the story that stops writers from continuing. Where do writers find ideas to create the events that take the protagonist from the challenge to the climax? One of the ways … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, FREEBIES & PURCHASE, Writing Exercises

More on Writing Hooks

More on Writing Hooks

A key element of the hook is letting people know what your story is going to be about, giving them an idea of what you want to say. This comes in two forms: the theme or the dramatic question. You can say something through a narrative comment or through the voice of one of your characters that in a phrase gives the reader an indication of what your story will be about, the theme. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Writing Exercises

A Creative Tool For Developing Business Stories

A Creative Tool For Developing Business Stories

Lou Hoffman invited me to write a guest blog for “Ishmael’s Corner.” The blog is a writing exercise to help people in business with idea generation using a story development technique. Check out the exercise and the blog at http://www.ishmaelscorner.com/2011/12/07/a-creative-tool-for-developing-business-stories/. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Writing Exercises

The Rats Ate My Posts – Ending with a Hook

The Rats Ate My Posts – Ending with a Hook

I apologize for not updating in so long. Last May our lives started going haywire, not the least of which was a rat falling through the open window screen in my bedroom onto my head as I slept in the dark of early morning. Yeah, everyone has that reaction. I woke up feeling like I was in a Stephen King novel. Let me just say, it got worse from there. My friends call the events … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, The Story Map, Writing Exercises

Finding Ideas: Where are they when you need one?

Finding Ideas: Where are they when you need one?

Actually, they are everywhere, it’s just that sometimes we are too focused on the immediate to see the potential. When our minds are filled with paying bills and making ends meet or job stresses, home stresses, family stresses, or school stresses, it can be difficult to look objectively or creatively at the world around us and see the stories strewn haphazardly about. Ideas come from strong emotions and feelings, from inspiration like paintings or music or a … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The Writer's Life, Writing Exercises

Dialogue, Pacing, and Tension

Dialogue, Pacing, and Tension

How much dialogue should be used compared to how much narrative or exposition? In stories, the more dialogue and the less narrative or exposition, the faster the pacing. This is one of the reasons that action shots in a screenplay should be shorter and in a play there should be very little to nothing between lines of dialogue, in these forms the story should be a fast read with just enough imagery for the reader to visualize … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, The 7 Stage Process, Writing Exercises

Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle

Writing Exercise This writing exercise can be found in Chapter 4 of The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages. You are enjoying yourself on a cruise ship when an unexpected storm comes up and a wave washes you overboard. You manage to cling to a life preserver that went over with you and finally float to a small deserted island. You remain alone on the island as the days and weeks and months … Read entire article »

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The Picture Map

The Picture Map

Writing Exercise: Turning the Story Map Into a Picture Map   Because of my concern that the structure chart and story map would be misinterpreted as a linear development process, I used my artistic skills (not) to create a picture map. The picture map overlays the structure chart and uses the ideas from the story map to create images. The picture map can be created to look like a scene or it can be a conglomeration of pictures … Read entire article »

Filed under: The Picture Map, Writing Exercises