4th Day – Contradictory Exercise

Take a story you have already written that was never finished or that you do not like very much (a story which seems to be lacking something). With each sentence, in some way substitute opposite words or feelings for the source text. For example: “I went to the gym” becomes “I went for a smoke”;  or “He stood” becomes “She sat”; “I am” becomes “I’m not”,  “She felt lovely” becomes “She felt hideous”. This is obviously a strange, experimental exercise— and it is possible that nothing good will come of it!  Uhm. At least it will be interesting, and will give you a good excuse to get back inside a story that has been lingering too long.

Okay, here is an example of mine. The beginning of an unfinished story called “Chicken Man”

Chicken Man

“Chicken-man thinks lack of money is the problem in our marriage. He has covered the house with telephones for productivity. Sometimes he’ll call me from the living room and gently suggest that I get back to work.”

After the Contradictory Exercise:

“Rooster girl thinks we’re swimming in money and that it’s ruining us. She has peppered our cabin with hand-written index cards, a list of what she believes will make us less blissful together. “Torn socks”. “Bruised fruit”. Sometimes no sound from the bathroom at all, and then she’ll yell “Too much!”e5c9c44e6ca84b66c14307965a0e4b59

Obsessions #1

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.


Love and Hate

Love and hate are wonderful emotions to work with in stories. Even better… BOTH. Write about a situation your character finds herself in in which she/he both loves and hates someone or something she’s presented with.


November 1

Write a story composed partially of misheard song lyrics, clichés, overheard conversations, news headlines, menu items, etc. You can launch off with “I remember..” or “It had something to do with…” Use any of the following words if you can:

Grandma, Rocking, Dusty, Burnt, Brave


Trying Not To

Write a story in which the main character is trying not to do something and is fighting a very tough uphill battle. For example, write a story about a person who is trying to resist the urge to smoke. Let’s see the struggle.