1. hoist
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    hoist Member

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    Good writing exercises?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hoist, May 28, 2010.

    So I'm one of those undisciplined types. Left to my own devices, I would probably just browse tvtropes and watch Animal Planet all day. Yeah, depressing. I've recently bullied myself into writing at least little scraps of fiction everyday, just to keep the gears nice and greased, but mostly I've just been plucking ideas out of the air. It's getting a little stale.

    What's a good way to assign myself prompts, or something like that? (A friend recommended a one word prompt website, but for whatever reason I'm just not warming up to it.)

    Any neat little tricks you fine folks use?
     
  2. Diablo Robotico
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    Diablo Robotico Member

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    Well, I don't have any ways from myself to give you, but I'm in college and taking writing classes. My fiction class last semester consisted of weekly exercises based on prompts by the teacher. It would be things like "Write a story in the second-person perspective." and "Write a story that takes place within an hour." but not usually plot ideas.
     
  3. Lankin
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    Lankin Member

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    For plot ideas I am probably not the right person to ask ... What I always find fun to do -- and what inspires me often to write on -- is to take a random questionnaire out of a magazine and fill it out for one of my characters.
    Most classic is of course the "Proust Questionnaire", bringing up questions like "Your favorite virtue/Your idea of happiness/You idea of misery/How I wish to die" ... But also questions from the not so classic or a little tacky questionnaires -- like "What was the last pair of shoes you bought?" can be inspiring :)
    Or taking celeb quotes -- usually on the last page of a magazine -- and pondering, "If they were to be assigned to my characters, who would have which line?"
    Example: "I don't like parties past 2am. Then it's all losers and weirdos." -- (Paris Hilton) ... well, it fits my mc, too. Maybe it inspires me even to set a scene in a bar, haven't thought of it yet. What weirdos could he meet there?

    Well, that approach is fun and inspiring to me, I don't know if it's for you^^
     
  4. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    I try to write about things that are interesting to me. It might limit my versatility a bit i guess, but this way i never usually have too much trouble thinking of something to write about.
    Write a short about football, or bowling, if they're intriguing to you. Flying a plane. Time travel. Whatever. If you give a crap about the subject, it makes it easier to get into a short, as opposed to coming off as... contrived, as some relatively abstract, forced work can.

    I live in the redwoods, so i've written a couple hiking & camping shorts. The concept of music-thanatology is quite compelling to me, so i'm working on something pertaining to that. Whatever floats your boat.
    I do force myself to go with a prompt site once in a while, to do less comfortable exercises, but for the purposes of greasing wheels, convenient & interesting subjects suffice just fine for me.

    If nothing else, there are plenty more creative & stimulating writing prompt sites out there than the one its sounds like you went to.

    Good luck.
     
  5. khamulee
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    khamulee New Member

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    well discipline is one of the most important factor for writing. In my opinion it is best to start without a master plan, just go where the idea takes you, but that approach is the downfall of many, many beginners.
     
  6. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pick some of your favorite songs and listen to them. Many songs give a situation a very loose story. Its not always obvious.

    Now try and write a story based on what you think the idea or meaning of that song is. If the song is more story oriented then write the story as you precieve it.

    If they have a music video of the song you chose, then I suggest looking it up.

    Its a great way to keep you writing and thinking. :)

    I have personally come up with a few interesting short story ideas because of this.
     
  7. squire848
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    squire848 Member

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    I always feel this is a great way to get things flowing.

    Find 5 random words, from anywhere at all.

    Give yourself a 10 minutes in which to write a short piece with all of these words included.

    Something like; Daffodil, condom, window, truck and frugal.

    Just write, don't stop. Don't stop to think or ponder, put the pen to the paper and just let go.
     
  8. thesims
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    thesims Member

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    Why don't you start a blog? Establish a writing routine and post daily. You don't have to write about specific stuff, it can be book reviews, rants, whatever floats your boat.

    Eventually, people will start subscribing and asking for MORE! That should be enough to motivate you to keep writing. If you end up posting short stories, poems, etc. this will be a great opportunity for you to get feedback too. :p

    This is why I've created a blog in April. I really enjoy writing, however I have no imagination at all and I need to enrich my vocabulary, since English is not my first language. I've been lazy with the posting lately, but I have the entire summer ahead of me and plan on writing more often.
     
  9. hoist
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    hoist Member

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    Thanks a ton, guys! I'm definitely gonna take a whack at a couple of these.

    I actually did start a blog, about a whole week ago, [shameless plug]as you can see in my signature.[/shameless plug] That's been working out fairly well, as far as keeping a schedule goes. Still, never hurts to have a couple more tools.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do the blog thing too, and I require myself to post once a day on my main blog. It's a nonfiction hobby blog, so it doesn't get me to write fiction, and sometimes I seriously slack off - for example, yesterday's post had precisely one word. But forcing myself to go to the blog, create a post, write a title, etc., means that I do a whole lot more writing than I would without it.

    Now I just have to find a way to force myself to do fiction writing every day, too. I'm not comfortable, yet, doing that as a blog. I think.
     

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