Posted by: oneyearbook | June 17, 2009

Getting fit

Hey, writers out there – do you guys do writing exercises? Until the other day I don’t think I’d done a writing exercise since my school days. You know the ones I mean – five minutes to free write on any topic you want, five minutes to describe the sky without using the word blue, five minutes to write from the POV of an insane criminal, and so on. Warm-ups. Protein shakes for the writing muscles. I tend not to assign them to myself because I feel silly doing so.

But on Monday I did two, although they were directly related to the novel and thus were a bit more targetted (so, I guess, like running in the morning in preparation for a marathon as opposed to running in gym because the teacher says your grade depends on it).

First I wrote a letter from the main character to a friend, describing his current situation, because I wanted to spend a little time with his first-person voice. (POV hounds – and I know you’re out there, the number one Google search that brings people to this site is “point of view quote” – the new novel is entirely and without question in third person. No debate necessary this time.)

Then I wrote a little scene, like in a play, between the character and his mother, which was to help me clarify how he’d gotten to the position he was in. The scene in question will never appear in the book, but it’s necessary for me to know the contents of it in order to understand his conflict. And guess what? The exercise was not only illuminating, but fun. It gave me a structured outlet for my brainstorming.

I’ve always known that lifting weights was good for building muscle in real life. But now I might be a convert in my writing life.



  1. What a great idea! Especially freeing if you aren’t trying to write something that’s got to fit into the actual novel.

    • Yeah – I think it’s also a good warm-up for the ‘real’ writing you day that day, the stuff that actually is supposed to go in the novel. I think I write better dialogue right after I’ve been trying to write in a script format, because I’ve done the hard thinking about how best to give information through dialogue without actually just having the characters mouth exposition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: