Friday Speak Out!: Writing Exercises to Feed a Starving Muse (and Book Giveaway!)
by Jessica Bell
I don’t believe in writer’s block. Well, not entirely. I do believe that we run out of ideas or inspiration on occasion, but I honestly think that’s a result of a starving muse.
What do I mean by “starving muse”?
Sometimes, when you are working on one particular manuscript, your brain becomes lazy or trained to think a certain way. It slips into the routines and personalities of what you believe your characters to be, and creates, what I like to call, an inspiration shield. This means that you could be cutting yourself off from new creative stimulation that could improve your work, and help grow new ideas.
If you think you have a starving muse, here are a three writing exercises that might provide it with some nutrients.
Think about the person you are in love with. If you are not in love with anyone, think of someone you love unconditionally, such as a parent, sibling, child, or pet. Write a scene between you and this person that illustrates the extent of your love through action. You must not use the word love at all, any synonyms of love, or any declaration of your feelings. The reader must see that you love this person from the way you behave. Avoid clichés such as cheek stroking, and looking longingly into one’s eyes. Use at least one simile/metaphor in your scene that relates to smell. Use 1st person, past tense. Write no more than 1000 words.
Write a one-page memoir from the point of view of an inanimate object. Don’t think about it too long. Just choose the first object that comes to mind. Think about its function. Does it need another object, or a living being, in order to efficiently serve its purpose? If so, what kind of relationship would this object have with this other object/living being, and how would that relationship shape the object’s life? Try to avoid giving the object supernatural abilities. Be as realistic with it as possible, but be sure to give it a “voice.”
Step two: Write a fictional article with the same headline. If you know the real story from the news, choose another one. If you know every single story that has been in the news lately, make up your own headline.
Step three: Use the people mentioned in your article, and the things that happened to them, or the events they are associated with, to write a short story or vignette. Try to “show” as much as possible.
Have random writing exercises ever helped you overcome the elusive writer’s block? If so, how? If not, why do you think that is?
***** BOOK GIVEAWAY*****
Jessica is excited to give away a free copy of her writing skills book, Writing in a Nutshell: Writing Workshops to Improve Your Craft to one lucky winner! Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave a comment for a chance to win. Open internationally. Winner is chosen randomly and announced within the widget on March 21.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Jessica Bell, a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/ guitarist, is a the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!