When writing fiction, the goal is to create a believable world for readers that they can picture themselves within. To do this, the writer must be able to create an experience which allows anyone to hop on board and take a ride. Some might say that writing is a talent, and maybe it is, but it is also a skill that can be developed and honed with practice.
That’s what these fiction writing exercises are intended to provide. They are a way to give fuel to your creativity while you also practice the craftsmanship of putting words to paper.
#1. Learn how to control your tone. Remember your English [or your own language] teacher’s advice about not creating run-on sentences? Forget it. One of the most effective ways to learn how to control the your tone as a writer is to create a very long, but still very effective sentence. The subject matter is just one emotion. Try to get that one sentence to become at least 250 words in length. This will allow you to be able to create complex sentences that still work with your writing style.
#2. Describe landscapes based on different characters. The problem with fiction is that readers often get to see a world through the writer’s eyes instead of the eyes of the character. Change the perspective by describing landscapes based on what the characters would see instead of what you see. If your character is a grandmother, then see the world through her eyes. Or through the eyes of a bird. Or through the eyes of a murder.
#3. Do not underestimate the power of a good transition. The goal of each sentence is to setup the next sentence will still conveying some level of information to the reader. You can do this through the use of specific adjectives and adverbs which allow the reader to enter into the shoes of each character and begin to experience that world in their imagination. Without transitions, many readers will either skim or skip ahead to the next part they find to be interesting.
#4. Change the person. Some great stories are written in the third person. There are also some great stories written in first person. If you’re used to writing in one way, shift the person and write in the other way. This will add some versatility to your writing skills so that you can add more depth to each sentence being written.
#5. Dialogue is extremely important to practice. Create two characters as part of this fiction writing exercise. Now create plot advancement, but you can only use the conversation these two characters are having to do so. The words which we say as people are just as important as the thoughts we think. We often advance the plots of our own lives through our conversations. Put that into words and you’ll be able to use your dialogue as a driving force. Remember: when there is a conversation, there’s more than talking. People look at each other. They look away. They stand. They sit. They burn with emotion. Include these details.
#6. Create a long monologue. Sometimes it isn’t a conversation with someone else that drives change. Sometimes it is our own observations and thoughts which drive a point home. You can practice this by creating a monologue for a character that is at least 750 words in length. Use objects around the character to inspire memories or to shape thought patterns. Although the speech is lengthy, it must remain interesting and still offer progress to the reader. This will help you to avoid creating moments that make readers yawn.
#7. Find your rhythm. This is the trickiest part of all when writing fiction. Your characters, your plots, your motives, your descriptions – they all need to fit within a literary rhythm that makes logical sense. If you read a book from Dr. Seuss and the rhyme seemed off, you’d notice it – right? The same is true with your fiction. If something changes in your rhythm, it will throw the reader off and they might miss a crucial bit of information you’re trying to convey to them.
The skill of writing must be developed even when there is a great talent putting down words to be read later on. These fictional writing exercises can help you do just that.
Are there some writing exercises that you’ve found to be especially beneficial? What happened when you tried one of these writing exercises here? We’d love to hear about some of your experiences and how it has helped your writing.