Creating story isn’t something we find easy. Not every writer just sits down at their desk and straight away starts writing. Some writers wrestle with the idea of beginning an entirely new story from scratch. Some writers even feel scared.
Creative writing exercises are a fantastic way for writers to start writing confidently as well as being a great way to generate new ideas and improve skills.
DO YOU HAVE GOOD HABITS?
Challenging yourself to try a different exercise on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do for your writing career. Establishing good writing habits are essential if you hope to embark on a writing career.
PRACTICAL CREATIVE WRITING EXERCISES
There are many types of writing exercises and you can find a whole variety of them on this site. I also have written a book to help writers – My book is called Practical Creative Writing Exercises and is filled with specially designed creative writing exercises to help you get writing.
The feedback from writers has been great! Many writers who have previously been ‘stuck’ have found the exercises in my book have triggered the idea for the story they really feel compelled to write. When it comes to creative writing compulsion is great!
Some writers find themselves drawn to writing about a particular character. This can be a great way to get started but, you need more than just characters.
Something, an incident, an event, a tragedy – it’s up to you, but something has got to happen to that character, or there will be no story.
To create a story for your character you need to find an event that causes them to change, or to divert in some way from their original path in life.
These events are called inciting incidents and they provide the starting point for the story. Inciting incidents introduce the main conflict as well as providing further obstacles as the story progresses.
MORE THAN DESCRIPTION
Always remember, a story is where something happens to someone. A story isn’t a story if it is about someone living happily with no problems, or obstacles in their way.
It may make a wonderful life but if nothing ever happens to your characters it is just plain boring. If nothing happens in your story, if there is no conflict, you don’t have a story – you have a description.
This is something many beginning writers seem to struggle with. While teaching creative writing I came across many people who had written hundreds of pages of pure description that they were convinced was ‘literature.’
The description equals literature mistake is so very common I wonder if it is being taught in schools. An inciting incident doesn’t have to be an earthquake, death or disaster etc. The incident itself can seem quite minor. What does matter is the change the incident brings about.
HOW TO FIND YOUR CHARACTER’S INCITING INCIDENT
Ask yourself what your character wants and hopes for in their life. Everybody wants something. It might not be something tangible or credible. It could be as simple as wanting peace of mind, or wanting to be left alone.
Whatever it is your character wants – write it down. Then describe an incident that would either take this from them, or at least threaten to take it from them.
One example might be: your character wants to travel the world but is prevented by the illness of a parent, or is imprisoned on the first leg of the trip.
Another character might be accused of a crime they did not commit. Perhaps your character is in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same. Maybe your character just wants to be left alone but a strange new neighbour won’t let them.
The best way to find these incidents and events is to put yourself in your character’s shoes. Pretend that you are the person you are creating. Fully inhabit their life and see that world through their eyes.
This the best way to create a credible and authentic story that people want to read. That should be your goal when you write.
Best of luck with your writing.
P.S. All the information and exercises on this site are provided free of charge – all I ask is that you like, share, or comment. By the way, I love hearing from visitors and I always reply!