Before you start running, you’d stretch out your muscles to avoid an injury. Before you start cooking, you make sure that you have the food and equipment you need to create what you want. For fiction writers, warming up the mind to begin the creative process is just as important.
These warm up exercises for fiction writers take only a few minutes to implement each day. Use them before you enter the worlds you are creating so that you can add the details and depth that will add substance to your stories.
Exercise #1: Free Thought
This warm up writing exercise is simple. Take 10 minutes and just write. Don’t stop to correct errors in your writing. Just keep putting out thought after thought to see what develops. When the 10 minutes is up, review what you’ve written. There may be some ideas in there that can be added to the fictional story you’re about to write.
Exercise #2: Singular Points
Being descriptive in your writing will help readers be able to better picture the worlds you’ve created. Missing one detail is enough to create an incomplete world. To avoid this issue, pick something in the room that you are in right now. It can even be on your writing desk. Then spend 3 minutes writing specific details about what you’ve chosen.
If there isn’t something in your room that piques your interest, then take a look out the window and find something specific to describe instead. It could be a barking dog, the tree in your front yard, your fence – anything singular item.
And if something still doesn’t seem interesting, just write about the first thing you see. This will help you be more detailed with your writing and it also helps to cure a tough case of writer’s block.
Exercise #3: Chore Bore
Many of our daily chores are very boring. You go out, mow the lawn, and then come back inside when the job is done. You wash the dishes. You get the laundry finished. You sweep the floor. Boring, boring, boring.
But a bored reader is one that will disengage from your fictional world. As a writer, your job is to make even the boring details of life become interesting in some way.
For this writing exercise, take a chore that you hate doing. Then spend 5 minutes writing about this chore in a way that makes it interesting in some way. You’re not trying to convince people that it’s the most awesome thing in the world to do. You just want to find a point or two that will help you keep pushing a narrative forward.
Exercise #4: Switch Places
Most fictional writers tend to create stories in the third person. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can be difficult to keep dialogue fresh when using the “he said” “she said” process all the time. You can break out of that rut by using this warm up exercise before beginning your writing day.
Instead of writing in third person, write in first person. Then choose a specific subject to talk about while writing in the first person style. You could talk about what it’s like to be a pirate. Or a video game designer. Or a pilot. Or an intergalactic explorer who has an addiction to cheeseburgers.
There really is no limit to the creativity of subjects you can describe. Just try to write for 10 minutes about your chosen subject.
Exercise #5: Fight or Flight
Every writer has a moment of fear they can remember. Whether it was confronting a bully on the first day of school or going outside in the dark to finish your evening chores, that moment of tightness in your chest can help you to add more emotion to your fictional characters and worlds.
Spend 10 minutes writing about the thoughts you had when you felt most afraid. What was it that you feared? Did you imagine your fear taking place? And then what was your response?People tend to deal with fear in one of three ways: they fight, they run away, or they freeze. Explore the other two responses in this writing exercise that you didn’t take and then use these descriptions to add more depth to your creative process.
These warm up writing exercises for fictional writers only take a few moments to implement, but can provide a lifetime of skill development support. Keep writing, every day if possible, and decide that you’ll never stop.