The Next Ten Exercises
After a few mouthfuls of All Bran, you may stare at the laptop’s blank canvas in despair. Don’t panic! There are a number of ways – I’m going to give you the second ten – to kick start the writing brain. The idea is to get the creative mind into ‘flow’. Write for only seven minutes before you start work on your oeuvre.
Taking the mind away from the task in hand, to mix my metaphor and use a cliche, can fire us into action. It’s rather like limbering up at the gym before starting the real workout. We need to flex those writing muscles and prepare them for a stretch of sixty minutes’ worth, or hopefully more, of concentrated pen pushing or typing. So this is the hors d’oeuvres to your main course. Digest that All Bran slowly now, for there is travail ahead.
These should be helpful if you are working on a novel or a short story
Novel Ideas and Encouraging Dialogue
Meet your central character in a café and ask him/her some questions. Draw up a list of questions and make believe you have to write a commissioned interview feature. Put a deadline on that commission (editors do this) and then return to the exercise every morning for seven minutes until you have finished the task.
- Ask your central character, “What is your problem?”
- And, “What is your central character’s secret?”
- What does your central character want?
- What do they have at stake ie what are they in fear of losing?
Do they tell you? Do they know?
- Write the theme of your book in one word. (Arthur Miller would type this at the top of every A4 sheet of paper as he was typing.)
- Create the perfect ‘target market’ reader or viewer for your oeuvre. Give them a name and then write a blurb/pitch in 100 words to read out loud to them.
- Write the plot of your oeuvre in 50 words exactly.
- In one sentence, write the question which arises early on in your oeuvre and is not answered until the end.
- Create a document on your laptop files which is an ongoing discussion between you and your central character. (You might want to start and finish the writing day in this way.)
Next time Firing the Mind
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