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Writing Exercise: A Day in the Life

Write a journal entry covering a single day as though you were living someone else’s life. Variations #12a. You’re a politician–small-time, big-time, local, national, international–it doesn’t matter which. #12b. You’re a celebrity: a musician, an actor, a sports star, a

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Writing Exercise: Taboos and Cliches

There are subjects, plots, story models, story twists, and so on that have been so completely and utterly overused that most editors won’t touch them with a proverbial 10-foot pole. There are subjects that editors don’t want to see for

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Writing Exercise: Mental Illness

Mental illness can be particularly difficult to write about. It has been treated in such a melodramatic and imprecise manner in popular culture that we have a lot of misconceptions floating around about the nature of mental illness. It doesn’t

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Writing Exercise: Strong Emotions

Strong emotions often make for compelling writing. However, writers sometimes have trouble making their strong emotions ring true. They want people to be very angry, very passionate, very regretful and so on, but they don’t always provide enough reason for

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Writing Exercise: Word-Play

Open a dictionary or thesaurus again (see warm-up #3). But this time, instead of picking one word, pick three. How can you relate these words together? What patterns can you find? How can they be more interesting when viewed together

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Writing Exercise: Encyclopedias and Reference Books

Pick up a specialized encyclopedia or other reference book. If you don’t have one, go to a public library. For example, you might try the Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, or the Atlas of Cats of the World or the

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Writing Exercise: Market Listings

Check out a few market listings. Open up the latest “Writer’s Market,” or look through some of the on-line databases. See what various publications are looking for. Now outline, brainstorm, or write an article or story that would suit one

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Writing Exercise: The Item

Pick an item and describe it. Preferably pick something in sight of your desk. If you use this warm-up a lot, start bringing interesting objects into your office just for this exercise. Each time you do this exercise, do it

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Writing Exercise: The Word

Open up a dictionary or thesaurus (encyclopedia, bible, magazine, travel book, technical book, etc.) to a random page and put your finger on the page. Look at the word you’ve chosen. Now write with it, about it, or around it.

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Writing Exercise: Introduction and the Review

Writing Warm-Ups I’m a great proponent of the “just sit down and write” attitude. It isn’t a matter of finding yourself in the right mood to write — you have to make yourself be in the right mood. On the

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Stuff for Gamers

Take a look at the shirts-n-things in our stuff for gamers store.

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