My first attempt at writing fiction was a small book about a duck when I was seven or eight years old. It was also my last attempt until two years ago. In 2010 two things happened: I joined a writing group and I bought a book of prompts for writing exercises.
The writing group, after brief announcements, begins their proceedings with a ten to fifteen minute writing exercise. The exercises have been, for me, an amazing impetus to writing fiction. Before I joined the group I had convinced myself that I had no imagination. I love to read fiction, which requires a good and active imagination, and some of that fiction has been fantasy which I consider to be fiction on steroids. I was sure there was no way I had the imagination to construct a fictional plot much less come up with believable fictional characters or dialog. The writing exercises did away with that thinking.
My first foray into the book produced two handwritten notebook pages of a fictional story based on five words. That story has now grown to become what will be a novel-length story. The idea of writing exercises became so popular with the writing group that we usually follow that format now. I’ve found that I can actually write very short stories with a beginning, middle and end with believable characters and dialog within the fifteen minutes allotted. In coming days I will be sharing some of the unedited products of these exercises .
One of the members of our group uses the 5-word exercise concept to get her writing restarted when she becomes stuck or is suffering writers’ block. She says it works.
Have you ever tried timed writing exercises? Tell me how it turned out.
If you haven’t tried doing timed exercises would you like to try one now?
Get your writing materials ready, set a timer for fifteen minutes and use these words: — counter — clog — buddy — spoon — smash
You can use the words in any order and adding endings (plural, -ed, -ing) are allowed. It would please me to see the results of your effort.