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.
Freewrite to someone or something. To the forest, to a dog, to a marriage, to an old house, to a parent or sibling. Write a story using this narrative approach.
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 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.
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.
Write a piece as if overhearing a couple having an intimate discussion during an uncensored moment. Write about a moment that should not be overheard. Don’t get cartoonish. Make it real.
Write about a situation which involves intense conflict. At some point, an animal (of some kind) enters the scene. A dog or cat can do wonders for atmosphere. The important part is that in some way, the animal changes the energy a bit. Don’t make it obvious or corny. Let us see how people change (for better or worse) by the presence of an animal.