On this page you will find an ongoing list of creative writing exercises and prompts for writers. You will also find links to my book reviews, which are written from a writing perspective (focusing on the mechanics and elements of writing).
Creative Writing Exercises & Prompts
Turn on the radio and listen to the first few lyrics of a song. Write down your first thoughts, emotions, feelings and then turn this into a piece of flash fiction. What does this lyric from ‘Nightswimming’ by R.E.M say to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
The photograph on the dashboard taken years ago,
turned around backwards so the windshield shows. Every street light reveals a picture in reverse
Still it’s so much clearer
How many words can you use to describe one colour? What do you think about when you think of this colour? How can you incorporate this into a piece of writing?
Take ten random words from the dictionary. Analyse them for 30 seconds and let them form a picture, a story, in your mind. Then free write for ten minutes, trying your best to include each word in the piece. Don’t over-analyse at this stage – just free write! Then edit and edit it into a piece of fiction, ensuring every word counts.
Mix the five senses around! The five senses are smell, touch, taste, sound and sight. Can you describe a smell through taste? a sound through sight? a touch through smell? Try to form some short sentences using this technique – it spices up description!
Take a word from a dictionary and write down 30 words associated with or inspired by that word (i.e. orange>satsuma>juice>drink>glass>straw>hat> etc). Next write a piece using all associated words.
Find a painting or photo that inspires you. Why are you drawn to it? Spend ten minutes writing your thoughts to this question. Now try to write a story using these thoughts.
Here are six photographs taken by me (not including the last one). Do any of these trigger an idea for a story? I’d like to hear your thoughts and read your stories…
Find a newspaper or magazine and scan to see if you can find ideas for stories. Create fifteen word (or less) sentences or ‘blurbs’ (i.e. woman discovers she is a twin after 40 years and sets out to find her). Write these in a notebook – you may not use them now but you may be inspired later.
Create your own plots by mixing up films you have seen. Mix a horror film with a romance, a sci-fi with an historical drama. See what you can discover! Try to switch the viewpoints of the story to give an interesting angle.
What if Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction had special powers and used them to try to win Dan’s love?
What if The Terminator’s goal was to fall in love with Sarah Connor?
Imagine if Rainman had been a serial killer and had hid behind his condition so that he wasn’t discovered?
Imagine if Norman Bates in Psycho had existed during Victorian London, alongside Jack the Ripper?
Try writing when you are in different moods. Write when you are tired, intoxicated, sad, happy, excited, emotional! It’s amazing how, in your different moods, you will see the world through different eyes. The mind also seems to conjure up different words dependent on mood, I find. Pacing can also alter.
Listen out for dialogue! From family, friends, colleagues, strangers. Capture them in a notebook and use them to inspire character development.
Rather than mentally visualize your protagonist, antagonist and minor characters when you write, how about flicking through magazines and newspapers to try to find a photo of someone who looks like them? You can put these photos in your character files for referencing, or even better place them on the fridge so you can get to know them each day!
Interview your characters to get to know them better. Place them in different situations and ask yourself ‘how would they react?’. Would they get angry or stay cool? Would they flee the scene or put up a fight? (you can get situations from everyday life, scenes in movies and books).
My Book Reviews
My Reading Lists
The Rickmansworth Writer’s Group
On the first Sunday of every month I attend a writing group at Costa Coffee in Rickmansworth. Here I discuss and critique literary works with other writers, undertake timed writings, read aloud and share ideas. Every month I will post a an article about the session. You can find the links here;
@alittlebirdtweets2016. Please ask permission if you would like to use my work – or please link back to me. Thanks!