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4 Writing Exercises To Help Your Craft

     Over this past semester, I wasn't able to write much fiction. Usually, all I could do was brainstorm on sticky notes or index cards to make progress in my WIP. Academic writing filled my to-do list, and I got great grades on my class papers. But, I still didn't feel like I was becoming a better fiction writer. Frustration slowly grew throughout my time at college. I could find time to sit and write, but not enough time to bust out chunks of quality pieces of my novel.

     A few hundred words here and there wasn't improving my craft. My skills weren't being fine-tuned. I found that I needed other exercises to challenge me. Here are some writing exercises that I found didn't take much time, but helped be become a stronger writer.

     Write a 300 word story second person POV. Most writers stick to first person or third person point of views. Sometimes when you write in the same point of view all the time, you forget what makes a point of view unique. Writing becomes muscle memory, and you stop thinking about how the way you phrase sentences influence how the story is told. Notice, this entire paragraph is different than the beginning of this blog post. Now, I'm talking to you. Second person is extremely challenging, but it sort of resets your brain when you go back to writing first or third.

     Write 100 words where the last word of a sentence is the first of the next. This is a fun challenge that you can get creative with. This exercise makes you rethink your sentence structures. Most of us have a default formula. In order to end a sentence with a word you can even start the next one, you have to really stretch your mind.

     Write from a first person POV who is blind. The easiest sense to write is sight. Because it's the easiest, we writers use it almost all the time. By writing through a POV who can't see, it forces you practice writing characters who internalize other senses like smell or taste.

     Write about a photo on pinterest from one of these boards (make it extra hard by not describing what the photo looks like.) This is helpful, because it forces you to take a drastic break in subject from your WIP. If you normally write Science Fiction, writing about a historical image might help break up your pace.

     These exercises aren't an automatic way to become a better writer, but they've helped me practice different skills and break a slow routine.
What do you do to help your writing craft?
~ Alyson


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