Tag Archives: writing exercises

Writing Exercises: Why do we use them, and do we need them?

There are some great stories of writing exercises out there that have changed writers’ lives, styles, even dreams. Some are simply interesting, and a few make you wonder why we do these at all. In my final writing course, our professor brought out a bag of clementine oranges, dumped them in a basket, and told us each to take one and describe it so well that we would be able to pick it back out of the basket at the

Sure Growth and the Psychology of Practice

How to Become a Great Writer (no, seriously, this is how) This post is directly inspired by a recent Freakonomics podcast titled How to Become Great at Just About Anything. Tantalizing premise, isn’t it? Most of us have heard of the 10,000 hour rule; it takes 10,000 hours doing something to become excellent at it. (This is paraphrased.) Well, there’s more to it than just doing what you want to be good at, and the podcast spent a great deal

Creative Writing Tools: Maps

Maps support a story. This doesn’t necessarily mean providing readers with a map of your world will make it better, but maps are a powerful tool for consistency and inspiration during the writing and revision process. Fantasy writers often aspire to see their works in hard cover with a fold-out color map detailing the locations on the written page. That’s something wonderful to have, though that’s not what we’re addressing here. Maps are tools for orientation. They exist to allow

Planning a Novel: Types and Tools

Planning a story can be a minefield of distraction. Large works, like novels and series, often benefit from setting structures for the story. Even small works, short stories and poems, show improvement when preparation is done for the content, tone, and message. To avoid endless preparation, remember structured planning is a tool, not a solution, for writing a draft. Creative people have a strange relationship with tools. A carver takes pride in his variety of sharpened knives. A musician cultivates

Writing Exercises for Super Fans

Fanfiction is writing original content based on the work of another artist. Many people invest incredible time and energy into their fanfiction projects, and the potential variations are endless. This post is not to explain what it is, who writes it, where to find it, or any threat it poses to traditional writing, if any (see the links at the end of the post for posts of that kind). Instead, this post will discuss the use of fanfiction to develop

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