Fun Exercises for Creative Writers

New prompts for creative writers to help get you writing.

Select an object, place it on a table in front of you and write for a few minutes from that perspective. Get up and move to another place at the table. That allows you to see the object from a different perspective and write a few minutes from that perspective. I particularly like puzzles when doing this exercise and moving around the table so every side of the puzzle can have a few minutes written from that perspective. This also helps you put a puzzle together when it seems you are not able to spot where the pieces belong. Seeing the puzzle from one of the other views will help you begin to work on puzzle placement again.

Observation on an object. This one you can begin by doing on a small object and work your way up in size. Take any object from your room: your bedroom, your living room, your dining room, your bathroom. Place it on a table or a chair or a stool in front of you sit in front of it and observe this object. As you observe the object write about the object. For some people this will work as a straightforward description of it as an object. Then describe it as what your mom would say, or your dad, or one of your other family members. You will find everyone will have a different observation because they bring their own psychology, their own philosophy, their own inward feelings, their own outlook, and they project this onto this object. This can give you an insight into your own self, but it also gives you an insight into the environment and what this item can mean to different people. Now work your way up to a bigger object. Try it with different objects, take it out onto the street and observe a building.

Pretend you are serving in an apprenticeship: ex: there are many apprenticeships, plumbing, carpentry, sculpting, painting. Ask yourself what might be the things you would learn from each of these apprenticeships. Use those descriptions in your writing.

  • Make a list of 10 people, occupations, jobs. You can have banker, baker, carpenter, electrician, dentist, artist, football player. You get the picture.
  • Second list is a place. So 10 places. Like a restaurant or cafe, being in bed, book shop, bank, airplane, an airport, a ship.
  • Next is a list of things. Objects, noise, a baseball bat, a mobile phone, a candle, a hammer, a guitar, a balloon, a packet of gum, again you get the idea.
    The next part of the exercise is: take your ten people, cut the list up, put each name into a hat and you draw out 1 person. Then cut up your list of places, put them all in a hat and draw out 1 place. Cut up your list of things, put them in the hat and draw out 1 thing.
  • You then have a person, in a place doing one thing. Write about that. Keep going until you have the ten of them as a start to little adventures, little stories, little short projects. It could develop into an idea that sparks off a whole story or book for you. Great for you to practice creating your skills for stories about person, place, thing.

Next is called I am this. What you do is your version. Must contain metaphors. Ten lines with metaphors that tell us who you are. EX: Detroit you know what you are _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ who you are _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Remember use metaphors. This is a good exercise for getting you into knowing how to use figurative language. Try different cities, events and situations.

Next exercise is the sounds of your neighborhood, or your childhood, or the place where you grew up. You can, of course, use it for the place where you live now and what you do there. This will help you in describing places and what is important about them.

Sound is a thing that is often underused or overlooked in creative writing. Think of the sounds of your childhood, of the place where you grew up, of your mother’s voice, of your father’s belching, of your grandmother’s laugh. Sounds that may no longer be around, kids games that are no longer played, music that you heard growing up.

Next is called the difference of place. You go to a place let’s say a restaurant or a museum and you write down (bring a notepad or your iPad or your phone or whatever you use) a description of this place. When you describe the place don’t just give a straightforward description of the architecture, for instance. Give us the sounds, give us the colors, give us the details, give us the textures of the place, give us the atmosphere of the place, the energy of the place. Places have a feeling, places have a life of themselves so go to this place, this museum, describe it in detail, in immense detail as much as you can write down.

Read it to yourself, go through it, edit it down, rewrite it, and put it in your descriptions file. Then as you go next week to another place, a place that is very different than the museum or the cafe. It could be a park, it could be a church, a church that’s empty or a church that’s full you could do both of those one after the other and what’s the difference between a full and empty.

Have a look you have these two different descriptions and you’ll see the difference that different places have. What is the setting of your novel, what is the setting of your book, your character may emerge from this, a story may emerge from this, a whole book may emerge from this.

WRITING ADVICE!

Stop twisting yourself into pretzels over your writing idea being perfect or original or worrying about what another author already did. Writing what brings an original spark to a book is how you write it.

By writing books you are going to teach yourself how to write stories and twist them to make them interesting and original. It is a process. Let go of that desperate need for validation and attention and just write your book. All writing is practice.

Stop making excuses for not starting and not writing and not pushing through and not finishing your book. They are a complete waste of your time. Writer’s block is an illusion that doesn’t exist, it is an excuse for not writing. You have to form a writing habit and just discipline yourself to write even when you don’t feel like it. Not feeling like writing is an imaginary writer’s block. Teach yourself how to push through this.

Keep writing and keep improving. Practice more or write another book or try a different idea. Sample different genres and see what you like. This is how you grow as a writer. Put yourself out there and face rejection if it comes, embrace it, learn and grow.

Brainstorming endlessly about your book isn’t writing. You can spin your wheels for weeks, months, years preparing to write. Talking about writing is not actually writing. Find what is holding you back and stop procrastinating.

Writing is largely solitary, you do it by yourself. Write for the right reasons. Like writing, love writing , do storytelling, do revising, do editing and find the thing that you love. Pursue that thing or try different strategies, invent games to make writing fun. Write, throw away all the fear and the excuses and write. You can’t be a writer unless you write and you can’t get better unless you write. Just be happy writing your book(s).

Decide if you want to publish the book yourself or explore traditional publishing. Then learn everything about each method of getting your writing published. When you are ready, you will know which way you want to go.

Fun Creative Writing Exercises

If you feel like you have a lot of pent-up creative energy in you, here are some tips. If you don’t do anything creative for a while you might tend to get kind of artistically frustrated. If you have a bigger project, occasionally sit down and do short creative writing activities just to release some of the pent up energy. Put something on a page practice, then go back to your bigger project.

For ideas look at random pictures, look at a Wikipedia page about the subject you are writing about. On the left there is a link called random article. You can click on it then write for five minutes about the article. You might use that short writing project to rewrite an important scene in your book from a different characters point of view. You can also write each chapter in multiple perspectives to choose the one that fits best for telling the story. you get to know each character a lot better and it makes the story more complex and deeper. Those different ideas just might shine through at different moments.

This next activity is really fun. It’s kind of like found treasure. Pick two different things you can print out like two different newspaper or magazine articles. Cut both of the articles in half and put the halves together. See what you can add or subtract to come up with a story you like. Just have fun.

Description overload can be a problem. Using too many adjectives doesn’t mean you are a good writer or a creative writer. Come up with a very bare-bones description. Look at it to see what might need to be added to have the story more clear to your reader.

Make your writing more exciting using the five senses. Describe what your characters smell, what they felt or, what they heard. How can you describe things in a way that’s interesting and makes the reader feel like they’re actually there. That seems like a very simple thing to do and a very like obvious thing, but it can be interesting. Taking a second to stop and think about what all of your senses are feeling. Take your main character and think about everything that he or she is experiencing in that moment.

Have someone give you three numbers. Go to one of your bookshelves. For the first number, count off how many books. For the second number use it for the page. for the third number find the sentence. Time yourself for five to ten minutes and use that sentence as the first sentence in your writing exercise. Keep writing from that point.

These are great creative writing exercises. You might find you are writing for a lot longer than you originally planned. Sometimes it even ends up being a short story and that is really exciting when that happens.

How To Come Up With Story Ideas For Your Book

Some writers ideas randomly come to them and they write them down in a notebook and start creating subplots, weaving everything together to make a well connected story. For other writers coming up with story ideas can actually be really tough. Your story ideas need to be original. Avoid copying other writers and their plot lines.

It is worth brainstorming some new ideas you may be thinking. Determine what makes your story unique and different. It is the spin that you put on all of those little subplots that make the relationships and connections between your characters stand out are actually really important. Add your own twist to the story.

Here are 7 tips for coming up with story ideas for your book.
1) Determine what genre you want to write in.
2) Determine your audience: how old will your readers be EX: children, young adults, new adults, adults.

  • If your main characters are 12 years old and younger that you are technically writing a children’s book.
  • If your characters are ages 13 through 18 think high school age then you are writing a young adult book.
  • If your characters are 19 through 30 think more college age coming into being an adult, then you’re writing a new adult book.
  • If your characters are older than 30 then you are probably writing an adult book.

Remember that by determining your audience you are setting up the tone and the theme for the book you’re going to write.

3) Your book can have more than one theme, just like you can have more than one plot. You can have sub themes, just make sure you have one major theme and one major plot. Then you can add in subplots and sub-themes to keep your story from falling flat.
4) Brainstorm now that you have your genre, target audience, and theme. Most likely you have already had a few ideas that have been floating around in your head that you’ve jotted down in a notebook somewhere. If not that is okay, you can start from scratch. Grab a large piece of paper and write your main theme in the center with a large circle around it. Underneath the theme you can write in smaller letters what challenge your main character is going to have to face and overcome. If you don’t know what challenge yet that is okay. Sometimes it is actually easier to brainstorm how you want your book to end and then work backwards to craft your story. Draw branches out from that main circle like a tree and start writing down any ideas that come to mind for your story, good or bad. Write every idea down on this large sheet of paper even if they don’t make sense at the time you are brainstorming. You may be surprised how later some of those nonsense ideas can actually be added into your story or reworked a little bit to add more depth to your plot or a subplot and it actually ends up really helping you out. There is no such thing as a bad idea.
5) Use resources. The writers idea thesaurus by Fred white gives you endless ideas at your fingertips. It can be fun to open up the writers idea thesaurus to a random page and just read one of the random ideas that’s in that book. Don’t use exactly what’s written on the page but sometimes it can give you a spark of inspiration.
6) Use your ideas to make a rough outline. In another post there is a great way to outline your book ideas.
7) Just begin writing even if it’s terrible, even if your story doesn’t fully make sense to you just yet. The writing process is all about discovering your story. You as the writer take yourself on a journey to discover your story’s potential. You discover your story as you write. The first draft is for your eyes only anyway. Write, have fun and enjoy the process as your story unfolds.

How To Outline Your Books 5-Stage Process

Some writing advice to aspiring authors as well as how to manage your time. Here is an outlining and highlighting process that might help you with your writing. It is best to have some idea as to where your story is going to go. Most people can not just sit down and start writing. Outlines can help you when you write your first book or your first series. As you start to get more comfortable with your writing style and your flow, you can get into your own groove and rhythm. You start to learn what works best for you.

In the beginning, just a very basic outline so you have the beginning, middle and end is helpful. Then some scenes may be thrown in here and there to help you remember your ideas. By no means have every scene or act completely written out and figured out before you write. With a basic outline you can add in, create and just imagine. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

Five stage outlining process:
1) a major brain storm of all the story ideas that you have in a notebook, or on the notes function in your phone or on your computer.
With those ideas written down, it is fun to play the what-if game like a) what if this happens b) what if this were to happen. The ideas can be vague in the beginning. Make sure to write them down. Ideas can be for one book or for multiple books. Any character ideas, scene ideas, chapter ideas anything that comes to mind. Write all of it down because if you don’t write it down you may not remember.
2) Try the poster board method. Take a large piece of paper or poster board, divide that poster board up by drawing two lines, then label each section chapter 1 and chapter 2 to begin. If you know the ending before you know anything else, start with chapter 3. Write down how the book is going to end or how you imagined it. Add theme or feelings you want to draw out for the reader. Ideas or characters conflict or the resolution is normally what is happening in chapter 3. Some authors like to work backwards and write down any ideas that might lead up to that you have in chapter 3, plot twists that are happening in chapter 1 or 2 that will bring you to your chapter 3 content.
3) Use index cards to write everything that you wrote down on your poster board. Write down each scene or idea and organize them a little bit more. Add a little more detail if it comes to you or if you have a new idea, write it on a new index card. Place them on the floor or on a table, and start moving them around to where you think they would fit. It will give you an idea as to how the story is going to flow. Refer to the beginning, middle and end you have already written down. This will help you get into the nitty-gritty of your book and all of the things that you want to have happen in your story. Take a picture of it before you pick up the cards. You can pin the cards on the poster board so you can see everything. Add index cards with new ideas into the story. Go ahead and write the first chapter when the whole story is really fresh in your mind.
4) Start to write and see what comes up as you write. Once you have written the first chapter you can go to your outline. Update the outline with the chapters as you go. Update chapter 1. Write chapter 2 then update your outline with the chapter 2 information. Then do it for chapter 3 and so on.
5) Update your outline immediately after writing or as soon as you can.

Using Color
Use the color yellow to highlight where you last left off in your manuscript, also highlight the chapter on your outline so you can remember exactly where you were working on your document.
For things that need to be added in later you can highlight in green.
Highlight in orange when you want to check facts or for accuracy.
Highlight in pink for character or setting details that need to be fleshed out a little bit more. Pink can also be used for a new character or a new setting, region or place.
If you are having a scene or a chapter that you are having a hard time writing about or are not feeling motivated to write, highlight those areas in blue so it reminds you to circle back and either write that chapter, paragraph, or scene over.
Use the same highlighting tool in your outline so it is easier to reference when looking at the outline. You can easily go to your manuscript find the chapter and then find the highlighted area and know exactly where you left off and what you need to do next.

Five Creative Writing Exercises I Love

I like to sit down and do creative writing activities just to release some creative energy and to put something on the page. That is something that was and is always a lot of fun.

I like to look at random image generators or just look at random pictures. Sometimes you can go on photo and image sites that are free like pixabay.com

Say you decide you are going to write for five minutes about a picture. Click a few times to get a picture that kind of sparks something for you to start writing about. I would probably pick that one I know that would lead to a pretty good five minutes of writing.

This next one is something that I love to use in workshops.  It’s rewriting an important scene in a book from a different characters point of view. This is often what many writers do. They also write each chapter with multiple perspectives and choose the one that fits best for telling the story.

That is a ton of work but it’s also really cool because you get to know each character a lot better and it makes the story more complex and deeper.  It changes the perspective of how you see the story.

This next activity is really fun it’s kind of like found poetry. I first did this activity in a creative writing class.  Here’s how you do this activity: pick two different things you can draw from. People standing in a line at the airport. I started going a little crazy I was always a happy kid but the air mixes with fuel and burns to make hot gases, suddenly I couldn’t breathe. Learning to be a person again from inside the airport, we can see our plane take off again to fly to another destination.  People do all sorts of things on a plane when you’re five you feel like you love people you don’t even know. Can you see them? There’s a life jacket under every seat and once you do get through your airport experience you go on with life. With this activity sometimes you can  add things on. When you read it you might find how amazing the writing is that  came out of that. What ideas and what different interpretations you came  up with. I really like that activity.

I call description overload a problem. I saw with my students they thought using a lot of adjectives means they’re a good writer or a creative writer. I would suggest  a very bare-bones  scene like you walk up to an abandoned building, you stand and look at it. You walk in the front door, you turn to the right and see a locked door. You find a key on the floor and open it. What’s inside the room? What they would have to do is make their writing more exciting using the five senses.  I’d ask them to describe what they smelled, what they felt, what they heard, just anything you can think of regarding the scene. What I liked about this is how different each student’s scene ended up. It was interesting to see what kind of building they thought it was and what they thought it looked like. I still think about that when I’m writing. Instead of just using adjectives, how can I describe things in a way that’s interesting and makes the reader feel like they’re actually there. That seems like a very simple thing to do and a very obvious thing, but it can be interesting.

Taking a second to stop and think about what all of your senses are feeling.  Take your main character and think about everything that he or she’s experiencing in that moment.

My final one I know is on different creative writing activity lists, but I like having someone give me three numbers and then I go to a bookshelf at a library or a bookstore. Go to a library or bookstore and go to one of the isles. For the first number I count off how many books. If they give me a number like a twenty,  find that number book. Then the second number I use for the page and then the third number I use for the sentence. I generally like them to use one through twenty for the first and the third number and that’s pretty helpful or I could just do it myself and write down without thinking about the books, three numbers. Then I timed myself for like five to ten minutes and just use that sentence as my first sentence and then keep writing from that point so I’m going do that now. Ready? I’m going to go with 7, 47, 5.  Pick a shelf of books, count down to book 7. Turn to page 47 and count to sentence 5. Take that sentence and make it the start of whatever I was writing.  Then I would to write.  I like this activity again for the random aspect of it. Sometimes when you sit down to write, coming up with the beginning to get started is the hardest part. If you start with something like a sentence it’s generally easier to get going.

I hope you took something from this article. I just wanted to share some of my favorite creative writing exercises and generally what I do if I just want to sit down and do something quick without really working on a bigger project. In the past these activities have led me to write for a lot longer than I was originally planning.  Sometimes it even ends up being a short story and it is really exciting when that happens