Writing prompts for specificity.
Exercises in specificity:
Use a simple sentence, eg. Ken was angry.
Ask HOW SO? Write with more details, eg. Ken snapped at the cashier.
Ask WHY? Discover why he’s so angry, eg. Ken snapped at the cashier in the cashmere sweater that looked like the one his wife had dropped off at the Goodwill last month.
The goal is to get more specific for each emotion, show it in action and the cause. Be more detailed. Find the unique story behind your intial statement. Find the strangeness, idiosyncracy, empathy and troubles.Let that one sentence take you somewhere unexpected.
Writing Prompts: For each of the following sentences, expand until a story comes out that feels complete and full of such details.
– Kendra was angry.
– Mick was disturbed.
– Rodney saw no way out.
– Tarik felt alive.
Start with one of the above examples and rewrite for 10 minutes.
If doing this at home alone, pick one line that lingers from your rewrite. Come back to it another day and add another three sentences.
If in a classroom, everyone writes up a sentence of theirs onto a scrap of paper, scrunch it up and put it in a hat, container.
Pick one out, read it aloud, then all freewrite three sentences from same first line. Share.
Why do we do this? It’s a great lesson in developing characters and scenes. So, freewriting is playful, generative, and amazing to see how we all imagine and explore in our own ways. The best part for me was seeing how in class we all took the line given and how our imaginations took such unique and individual paths.
How to find the themes that you are drawn to writing about.
Do you want to reach deep inside? Find the areas and themes that make your writing uniquely yours? Try this. Over and over. Random lists of nouns. No editing. Free write. Nouns. Word associations. Just write. Try it. Over and over. Put the lists aside and come back when ever you doubt your own voice. Try it.
It’s funny how the same things repeat in my work that I’d not consciously chosen. Obvious to some but I’m only just being aware of myself as a writer and this is the incredible benefit of my time in the MFA program, being a conscious writer.
Well, there you go, try it, free write this morning with your coffee and the sunshine.
Tomboy. Dirt. Cows. Boys. Rules. Why? Why? Dad. Bedroom. Mum. Darkness. Waves. Camping. Trucks. Boys. Tools. Yes. Why? Jeans. Scruffy. Dirt. Cows. Patty. Why? Not.
Female. Femme. Butch. Tires. Trucks. Fix it. Talk. Tellings. Beer. Drama. Girls. Pain. Drama. No. Dreams. Nightmares. Outside. Failed. Failed. Why? Dead. Gone.
Rovers. Community. Passion. Talking. Tools. Girls. Boys. Camera. Bodies. Shapes. Lighting. Too much. Details. Seats. Engine. Leafsprings. Bears. Dogs. Family. Friends.
Camping. Woods. Bears. Why? Fire. Food. Quiet. Calm. Sleep. Stevie. Dogs. Gods. Fire. Leaves. Wind. Window. Reading. Writing. Food. Beer. Calm. Quiet. Finally.
Nightmares. Coma. Choices. Decisions. Christmas. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beer. Beer. Beer. Books. Read. Hide. Pubs. Hospitals. Nightmares. Mum.
Camping. Fields. Trees. Decisions. Fires. Food. Camping. Vans. Trucks. Tents. Beetle. Dogs. Cats. Camp. Out. Away. Smiles. Hide. People. Less. More. Me. Me. Found. Peace. Smiles. Hide. Out. Side.
Don’t analyse but write. It’s a fun little game for your own pleasure in word associations.