Writing Exercise: Childhood Traumas

Think back to what it was like to be a child or early teenager. Remember the intense emotions, the day-to-day concerns, the close friendships, the bitter rivalries, and so on. Pick a character–yourself, a character from a story you’re writing, or a character that you create just for the purpose. Now write a scene from that child’s life.

  • #13a. Write an argument. Play with dialogue. Try to avoid the cliches of anger.
  • #13b. Show love: puppy-love, a crush, first love, true love, abusive love.
  • #13c. Find a way to show the terrors and horrors of childhood without being over-the-top, cliched, or ridiculous.
  • #13d. Write a dialogue between two children. Write a dialogue between a child and an adult.
  • #13e. Write a scene in which a child tries to communicate his fears or concerns to an adult.
  • #13f. Write a journal entry for a child. Try to communicate the fact that something important happened to her; do your best to write in her voice.
  • #13g. Write a scene of something important happening in the child’s adult life, and then parallel it with a childhood scene that somehow sheds light on the adult scene.
  • #13h. Write a scene involving a child and one or both of his parents that shows sidelong one or more of the ways in which his parents’ attitudes and behaviors have affected his development.
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