House, Car, or Town

Write a story in which a house, car, or town is a passive but important character.

For example: In the film “Little Miss Sunshine” the dysfunctional van (that the whole family had to push) was one of the most lovable, reliably flawed characters.

Words from Your Nightstand

Grab words from a few books (or just one book) on your nightstand. Pick 10 vibrant words. Freewrite, using every single one.

After that, freewrite again, using them all again, but in completely different ways.

Rebellious Secret

Write a story involving both a rebellious act (or fantasy) and a secret. In Raymond Carver’s story “Fat”, the main character is a waitress who has grown inconveniently fond of an obese customer who treats her with kindness. She feels useful to him, and is enlivened by his presence. He is not easy to look at, but Carver shows us how she hears him breathing, like a heartbeat. Her boyfriend is possessive and unkind, the living opposite of the obese man. Her secret is dangerous, and we watch her trying to hide it from herself and from her boyfriend.

Because….

Write a first person “Because” story.¬†Start every line with “Because”.

List the reasons why a character worries, doubts.. etc. Or why the character loves, envies or hates.

For example. “Because I found him with in the kitchen at 6:00AM, looking at the clock. Because my mother died in the ocean on the nicest day of the year… Because she has gold-tinted eyes, just like the ones he paints.”

You can have your character lie if you want to.  You can edit them out later.

 

Obsessions

Obsessions are great to work with. Pick a few of them, and in this exercise, pontificate. Write in long, run-on sentences. Try to write about 3 of your obsessions. For example: A home you once lived in, your strange nose, money, someone you can’t forgive.. these are examples. Go crazy with many specific, vivid details.

Write Or Die

Autopilot: Don’t think about what you are writing, write as much as you can as fast you can without any editing or worry about grammar, spelling, story arc, or logic. Do it for as long as possible: one hour, two hours, three hours: don’t look back don’t look up.