Creative writing is often thought of as a talent, but in reality it is more of a skill that is developed over time. Rare is the person who can just sit down one day and compose a great piece of writing. That means if you’re just thinking about getting started as a writer and want to embrace creative writing, then these exercises can help you develop your skills over time so you can create some fantastic stories.
#1. Create a Mixed Character
Creative writing should take you out of your comfort zone. To do this, create a character that has all of the personality traits you would find attractive in someone else. Then create conflict by giving this character the physical traits that hit your personal bias buttons. Now here’s the challenge: make this character become someone that every reader is going to cheer for because they can picture themselves in that character’s shoes.
#2. The Best Memory Ever
What is your best ever memory? For me, it’s sitting with my family at the end of a quiet dock in the middle of nowhere. The sun was just rising, splashing some purples and oranges into the sky. The water was cold, so we were splashing our toes in it with hot chocolate or coffee in our hands. It was quiet, peaceful, and harmonious.
Now write down your best ever memory. What does that memory mean to you? This experience can then become the foundation of a great story.
#3. Word Structure
The actual structure of words is just as important to the process of creative writing as the subject material, plot, and dialogue. If word structure is awkward for the reader, then they’ll become uncomfortable and either start skimming or decide to put the story down altogether. A great way to practice structure is to write some poetry.
It doesn’t have to be perfect poetry. It just needs to have some structure and rhythm to it so you can get the feel of your own writing style. It doesn’t even have to be long poetry.
There once was a man.
Who had a master plan.
He would rob a bank.
Then give the money to thank.
The McCoy clan for purchase a fuel tank.
If you do like to write longer poems, then try to keep this exercise to 20 lines or less. The goal is to structure your creativity with this exercise instead of learning how to access your creativity.
#4. The Two Chapter Drill
There’s a book somewhere in your home right now. If you’re at a business, see if someone has a book you can borrow. Now go to Chapter 1 and write down the first sentence. Then go to Chapter 2 and write down the last sentence. Here’s the exercise: write a 1,000 word short story that fits between these two sentences.
#5. Happily Never After
Have you ever seen the movie Happily N’Ever After? It tells a fairy tale, but through the perspective of the bad guys. Most creative stories have some sort of conflict between good and evil and the outcome is that good will eventually triumph. In this exercise, the goal is to make the bad guy actually be the good guy in the fairy tale and give them the “happily never after” that they want.
The goal here is to convince readers that there are positive merits in the character that are worth cheering for, even if they are bent on creating mayhem throughout the tale.
#6. You’re an Eavesdropper
Ever notice how there’s always one table in a restaurant that is talking a little too loud for social norms? Or there’s the guy on the bus screaming into his phone? For this creative writing exercise, don’t ignore these people. Listen to them. Turn what you hear them discussing into a short story that focuses on love. Sure… you might need to twist the words being said into a different meaning, but “I hate your guts” can still be “I love you” to some couples. Remember: this is your world you are creating. These conversations are simply prompts to help you practice your writing skills.
#7. Pick Your Favorite
Let’s say you’ve done one exercise each day for the past 6 days. Now you’re on Day #7. Pick your favorite work. Polish it up. Edit it. Post it online if you want. See if you can get paid to have it published. Be proud of the work you’ve done.
Creative writing exercises for beginners are designed to help you discover the skill and talent you already have and then enhance them. Get started today and who knows what can happen in the next week.