This exercise is for you fiction-writers creating your own realities (or your own versions of our reality). If you aren’t a fiction-writer you can of course free-write random answers to these questions for the fun of it and see what you end up with!

Pick a setting from a piece of fiction you’re working on (or plan to work on) and answer the following questions about it. In most cases when I ask for “firsts” I’m asking for firsts within the collective memories of the world’s living people and written histories, but if you have an idea for an absolute first, then go for it! Try not to stop at a simple answer–go into details. Preferably pick a question and write for at least half a page about it.

  • Describe your setting’s first major cataclysm.
  • Frst plague
  • First man-made disaster
  • First miracle
  • First war
  • First visitation
  • First major sporting event
  • First assassination
  • First murder

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For an additional exercise, free-write a list of additional firsts you might explore regarding your setting. Feel free to leave additional suggestions for firsts in the comments.

A further exercise could be to explore the latest of each of these, rather than the first. Then you could compare and contrast these to the firsts, or you could explore different firsts and latests for variety.

Character Dictation Tile Box

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