Not in the mood to write? Clearing your mind can be a challenge. Fiction exercises help to get you into the mood and trigger your imagination.
Fiction exercises prime the pump: kickstart your imagination
Experiment with these fiction exercises from Commercial Fiction Secrets: Plot Your Novel In 60 Minutes Or Less. They’ll help you to get into the mood to write any scene you choose.
Do these exercises right within the typescript of your novel in Scrivener or MS Word.
And keep the exercises, because rereading them tomorrow or next week will trigger fresh insights and ideas.
Start by writing the phrase, then keep writing for a sentence or three (or even longer.)
- My character wants… (fill in the blank) more than anything else. She’s decided this, because…
- My secondary character in the scene has a secret. He feels that… (fill in the blank.) This is because…
- This scene takes place…. (where? An example — in midsummer, at four o’clock in the afternoon. It’s humid; the hum of cicadas drowns out other sounds.)
When you imagine a scene as much as you can, it’s easy to put your readers there too. However, tuning in to your imagination takes practice. If you regularly use fiction exercises, eventually you’ll be able to call on your imagination whenever you choose.
Stuck on characters or plot? Fiction exercises will help
I especially love fiction exercises for character and plot development.
Here’s how they help:
- They’re low-risk. You can tell yourself: “it’s just an exercise.” This prevents you from over-thinking something and getting stuck;
- You can do them anywhere. I like to do them sitting on the sofa, with a movie on the TV as background noise;
- Speed: sometimes you can plot several chapters in five minutes; an exercise unlocks your inspiration.
Two easy exercises you can do in five minutes (or less)
- Choose a label you’ve stuck on a character; ask HOW, then give an example. Let’s say you’ve labeled a character “inquisitive”. HOW does she show that? Maybe she opens her husband’s mail and asks people questions like: “How much did you say you paid for this house?”
- Make lists. Lists are fun and always useful. List anything… List words. Or “what if” ideas. You can base a list on a character: “20 things my main character wants me to know about her/ him.”
I’m always creating lists. Most I will never look at again, but they’ve served their purpose. They got me thinking and forced me to use my imagination.
Lists will help you to develop your own customized fiction exercises.
Have fun. 🙂
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