I took a creative writing class at my college a few semesters ago that rekindled my desire to write. It was a great open course, but it did not teach us much about craft. As the result of a wet appetite, I have gone on my own personal learning crusade regarding the actual craft of writing. Specifically I focus on fiction short stories and hopefully eventually a novel.
So one of the resources I have come to enjoy is the Gotham Writers’ Workshop book on fiction writing. Anyway what I have decided to do is share some of my own responses to a few of the suggested exercises in the book here. I’m not sure why I decided to do this but hopefully it helps someone else as much as it will me. I’ll be starting with characters because I have a bad habit of TELLING instead of showing in my writing.
Exercise 1: Character
Think of a Character. Then think of a specific desire for this character. Make the desire something concrete like money, a home..Etc... Jot it down, you’ll need it later.
Me: Anna desires a relationship with Nathan, a man she has known for several years.
Exercise 2: Contrasting traits
Think of two traits for your character, maybe she’s normally a nice person but turns into a witch when she feels slighted. Not every character is good or bad, but everyone has contrasting traits.
Me: At work Anna has a very outgoing personality, however in other social settings she is withdrawn, shy, and rarely talks to anyone.
Exercise 3: Dimension
Write a passage about your character pursuing his/her desire. Be sure to include some obstacles in your character’s pursuit of their desire.
Me: Anna checked her cell phone for the tenth time that afternoon. There were still no texts from Nathan. Should I text him or wait until he texts me first, she thought. Quickly she brought up a new text window and began to type: Hope your day is going well.
“No, be strong and just wait.” She quickly hit delete.
Anna shook her head slowly as she sat the phone back into the charger and went out into the reception area of the office. Mary waited there an amused look on her face as she usually had.
“Nothing from this mystery man yet huh?” Mary’s grin widened.
Anna said nothing stepping around her coworker just in time to be saved by their next client Mrs. Keeter. Anna fixed a wide smile on her face getting ready for the woman.
“Hello Mrs. Keeter, how are you today?”
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