Putting story at the heart of creative writing

7-Word focus

This exercise is the kind of thing that can be done anywhere — and is possibly best done in places you don’t usually frequent. The example below is taken from my current novel-in-progress. It is a scene where the central character finds himself cooling his heals in a police interview room, and to pass the time, he turns to this exercise. It has a lot in common with the free writing exercise. I’ll let Art Lazaar explain:   “There’s a little writing exercise I like to do whenever I’m stuck waiting for someone. For years, I’ve carried a notebook with blank

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The river flows where the river flows

In this exercise, you imagine that you are a river flowing through space and time—passing places, people, events. And as you pass these objects, you imagine the circumstances beyond what you actually see, so you make things up about the things you’ve already made up. Life is like a river. Time passes as we pass things in time. We see, hear, feel, touch, taste objects as we pass them, or as they pass us in life. We retain only glimpses, moments, droplets of the whole; and those droplets evaporate quickly so you need to hold them in your mind’s eye

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In your mind’s eye: a visualisation writing exercise

This exercise needs a little peace and quiet, and I recommend around 25 minutes for it to be effective. It uses the techniques of free-writing, but starts from an entirely different position. The goal is to write from what you can visualise and train yourself to hold an image in your mind for a relatively long time. Writers do this whenever they are faced with the challenges of a scene or short piece. It requires a moment of meditation and concentration before writing anything. And it needs regular practise in order to get it right. The technique Be at peace,

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Learning to free write: Magic at work

Free writing is often thought to be writing that is free of constraints; to free-write is to Write without Worrying—without worrying about being neat, right or correct in grammar. But it is more than that, too. Free writing has a purpose beyond the idea of just letting the pen flow. Ralph Wahlstrom says ‘it’s as close to magic as anything you are likely to experience in writing’. Apart from allowing yourself to write without constraints of making sense or putting capitals and full stops in the right place, it is a trigger to freeing up your mind  because it relies

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