Write Over the Hump: Tonight’s Dinner Date

Who we hang out with, or would if we could be with anyone in the world, shows a lot about who we are. Same with our characters. The more we know about them, the easier it will be to write them. Have fun with this little exercise.

Write Over the Hump

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Why? What would you talk about? Write about this dinner date for 10 minutes.

What did you talk about at dinner?

Write Over the Hump: Background Twists

What our characters do can’t surprise us if we really know who they are. That starts with knowing their background. Here’s a twist on the usual school-family-work snapshot.

Write Over the Hump

How well do you know your character? Write about the funniest thing that ever happened to him/her, starting with: “I/He/She had to do it…“ You have 10 minutes. Go!

Share the laughs!

Write Over the Hump: The KISS Principle?

Don’t be afraid to explore what appears to be a simple concept. Sometimes simple isn’t as simple as it seems, especially when your subconscious gets in on the action. Try this one on for size.

Write Over the Hump

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Now write about a green and yellow basket. Start now!

 

What did your green and yellow basket have to say for itself?

Write Over the Hump: Exploring Desires

What we would do if we could reveals a lot about who we are. Heres another self-exploratory prompt to play with.

Write Over the Hump 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Write about what you would find there, what you would do, what you might learn. You have 10 minutes — go!

Where did you go this week?

Write Over the Hump: Characters

Knowing our characters’ favorites helps us get inside their heads. Knowing our own helps us figure out who we are. Either way, this is a fun exercise.

Write Over the Hump

 List: your favorite food, color, song, movie or TV program, book, article of clothing. (Remember, you can do this for one of your characters if you want.) Now write for 10 minutes using all those things in what you write. Start with: “One day I/he/she…”

 

Where did your favorites take you?

Write Over the Hump: Surprise Concepts

Some of the best things happen when we juxtapose things that don’t go together. Surprises can be fun.

Write Over the Hump

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Start with, “It really happened.” Use these words or phrases as part of what you write: red, carnations, anguished hearts, peanut butter. Start writing now.

How did you connect these words into a cohesive whole?

 

Write Over the Hump: Descriptions that Sing

Recap of the “Rules”: Set your timer for 10 minutes. Read the prompt. Start the timer and begin writing. Keep writing no matter what. Don’t stop to think or fix anything. Stop when the timer dings. Beware: Timed writing can be addictive!

Write Over the Hump

Descriptions that sing don’t rely on the obvious. List these words: Cold, flu, cough, fever, chills, shakes, pain, ache, tired, breathe, stuffy, nose, drip, throat, lungs. Now set the timer for 10 minutes and write about being sick with a bad cold or the flu — without using any of those words listed above. Ready? Set… Start the timer and write!

 

What “song” did you write today?

Write Over The Hump: Outside the Box

Welcome to Write Over The Hump!

I’ve learned, though teaching my “What If? Writing Group” classes**, that timed writing exercises are a great way to bypass the conscious mind and enter fully into the subconscious. Timed writing shuts off the inner editor who sits there saying, “That’s a stupid idea; don’t use such a ridiculous word; who ever said you could write, anyway?” And it gets us deep down where our stories reside, enabling us to bring them into the light of day. We can surprise ourselves with what comes out in timed writing: ideas that contain the seeds of brilliance; words and phrases that lift descriptions into the sublime; and pieces of writing that amaze our readers (and ourselves) and often form the basis of fantastic stories we never would have thought of on our own.

Every Wednesday, I’m going to post a timed writing exercise for you to have fun with. There are no rules other than to set your timer for 10 minutes, start writing and keep writing, no matter where your thoughts take you. Don’t stop to “fix” words, phrases or ideas. Don’t stop to consider alternatives. If you don’t know what to write, write about not knowing what to write about until the timer dings. It may take a few weeks to become comfortable with this way of writing, but eventually you’ll find it second nature to read the prompt, start the timer and just write. Without planning. Without editing. Without conscious thought. Just pour those words onto paper, virtual or otherwise.

Some of the exercises will resonate with you. Some may not. But it’s important to do them as they are, because they are structured to enhance specific skills. Here’s a tip: I use the pictures from Tarot cards and Power Decks in my classes to help students who like or need a visual jog to their creative centers. The exercise provides the direction, the picture on the card provides the spark that ignites the imagination. Feel free to use any type of artwork/photographs in conjunction with the exercises, if you’d like.

You’ll be amazed at how fast your 10 minutes speed by. And you’ll probably be amazed at how much you will eventually be able to get done in only 10 minutes. Sometimes it will be impossible to stop after only 10 minutes, but try to discipline yourself to do so. And if you’re used to timed writing, or want a really challenging challenge, give yourself only 5 minutes for each prompt.

The “you” in these prompts can be yourself, a character in one of your stories, or a character you make up just for the exercise. The interpretation of the exercises is up to you. Use them as the basis of a scene in one of your stories, let them stand on their own as flash fiction, or let them become something new to work on. Or any combination. Each exercise has a specific aim, be it stretching your imagination, developing characters, defining settings, adding depth to your writing, working with point of view, etc. While you are having fun writing, you will also be learning or enhancing skills that will make whatever you write even better.

All this is a long-winded way of saying that these timed writing exercises will help you:

  • Access your subconscious mind where your best ideas reside
  • Shut off the annoying inner editor that makes you second-guess yourself
  • Allow words to simply flow onto the paper without interruption
  • Focus and stay focused
  • Move in directions that your conscious mind would never consider
  • See connections that are invisible to the conscious mind
  • Sharpen the skills needed to lift your writing to the next level
  • Juxtapose opposing ideas into new concepts
  • Make the best use of your writing time
  • Add depth to your characters and stories

So join me every Wednesday for “Write Over the Hump” and gift yourself with 10 minutes of extra-special, creative writing time. And let me know what happens! I’d love to see what you’re coming up with each week.

**The “What If? Writing Group” classes and exercises are based on my *****Write It Right: Exercises to Unlock the Writer in Everyone***** series, available on Amazon Kindle. See my Publications Page for further information.

Write Over the Hump

This week, let’s think outside the proverbial box: Look around the room and pick out three pieces of furniture. Use those three pieces in your writing, but not as they are intended to be used. Set your timer for 10 minutes and begin to write – now!

 

Let me know how you used your three pieces of furniture.

Death, Life and Writing

It’s been an interesting year, starting last October, when I almost died from pneumonia, heart problems and pulmonary blood clots. While it’s been both an interesting and scary experience, it’s also been a blessing. Mainly because all the tests showed a problem that I still would not know about, and that would have mega-serious consequences in the future. Now it’s (almost) a thing of the past… just one more simple treatment and then some more healing time. And I’ll be fully back in the saddle.

But all this physical stuff has certainly put a crimp in my writing agenda. Which is why my poor little blog here hasn’t been updated in a while. But I’m revamping, simplifying, and actually making it lots better. So I just wanted to give you a teaser today… what you can look forward to.

Think increased writing skills. Think accessing your inner truth. Think a lot of fun in a small amount of time. Think Hump Day…

Yes, that’s right. I’ll be launching the revamped version of Woman of 1,000 Words (with a new sub-category of its own) this Wednesday, and posting every Wednesday – rain or shine, health not withstanding. My aim is to get your creative juices flowing, help you hone your skills and have a great time doing it. Curious? Intrigued? Be sure to check back on Wednesday. Every Wednesday. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo Blog and Photos

My photo blog is up and running again. Hooray! If you’d like to contribute a photo to see what I do with it, feel free to send one along, along with whatever attribution and link you want me to use. I love to see what other people choose to photograph, and their artist’s eye gets my creative juices flowing.

Now, it seems the more things stay the same they more they change… or something like that. No sooner had I posted about the problems with media and links with WordPress, than somehow the media part got fixed. For me, at least. I know others are still having problems. Or maybe I just haven’t upgraded to the new version yet. Who can remember stuff like that? I’m still not sure if links work or not because I used my own photo this time.

Then I discovered that my new photo blog post didn’t automatically post to Facebook and Twitter like they did in the past. No, wait – now there is a new way to work with posting links to Facebook and Twitter. Social Broadcasting. Lets you post to other sites in your lineup, or keep them posted only to your blog. This is light-speed progress, in my opnion. Who stays up at night dreaming up these changes? May I suggest: get a life, please, and give us techno-dummies time to catch up!

I do, however, nominate them for the 100-yard dash in the Olympics. These light-speed progressions would win hands down. And I’m still here, huffing and puffing in the rear. I just hope there are still some hot dogs left by the time I reach the finish line.

What? You moved it? Again? Arrrrrgh!