Blog Archives

The Quirks of Internal Monologue

In the spirit of Bill James’s Wolves of Memory, here’s a particularly tricky exercise for you today. In my review of that book I said: Bill James fascinates me as an author. He does several things I’m not accustomed to

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Earlier today I wrote a blog post dealing with the definition of horror fiction. Read it, and then write, outline, or brainstorm a horror story in which not a single drop of blood is shed, and that in no way

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Five Great Ambitions

Here’s an exercise you can either apply to yourself (by journaling on it) or to a character as a way to explore your fictional characters. As quickly as you can (so as to limit careful conscious thought), list out five

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Naughtiness and Creativity

Humour – like romance, like drama, like excitement – needs boundaries. It needs rules, lines, differences, be they social (as in Fawlty Towers), cultural (Borat), gender-based (Tootsie) or moral. As in sex. This, arguably, is a primary purpose of organised

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Fad Diets

Today, write an over-the-top ad, article or essay enthusing about a new fad diet. Make up the diet to go with it, and it can be as strange or bizarre as you like. Try to sound as ‘real’ as possible

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Honor and Integrity

Here I shall quote from something my husband once wrote: If you don’t act with integrity all the time, where does it begin and end? Do you start acting honorably when you leave the house in the morning? On the

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Perhaps you’ve heard about today’s crop of helpless youngsters. Free-write for five to fifteen minutes exploring a character based on a prototypical member of this group. Then, drop him or her into a dangerous situation, and see how he or

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Character Questions: Friendships

One of my favorite ways to flesh out a character is to ask him or her one or more questions and see what answers emerge. You can conduct this like an interview in your mind, or you can free-write in

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Prompt: World Building in the Twilight Time

This morning I made a blog post titled World Building in the Twilight Time. It was actually a reference to a world building article in a zine called Twilight Time, but the title of the blog post got me thinking.

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How to Use Writing Exercises… And How Not to Use Them

The writing community is fairly split on the matter of writing exercises. Some folks swear by them while others swear at them. Why the strong division? Well, there are some great benefits you can get from writers’ exercises, but there

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