Monday has rolled around again and another week has begun. How are your Mental Muscles coping this year so far? Is 2011 being a kind year to you creatively? Are you feeling inspired? Is your Muse in daily attendance?
Today I have decided to post and share writing exercises that our favourite authors use. Often times the best way to learn a craft is to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before us. So I share their words of wisdom here with you today…
- Ernest Hemingway’s Exercise / Challenge
Tell an entire story in only 6 words.
His story was:
For sale: baby shoes, never used.
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph.
Choose 5 of your favourite books and study the first paragraphs. What has the writer done that hooked you? What can you learn from these paragraphs?
- Stephen King
In his book “On Writing” he says that he writes 10 pages every day without fail.
Challenge: This week set down a task to write 10 pages every day without fail.
- Joyce Carol Oats
She writes in the morning before breakfast. She writes in longhand. She writes for a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour.
Challenge: Set aside 45 minutes in the morning to write. Put away the laptop, get out your pen or pencil and write.
- JK Rowling
Unclutter your story. JK Rowling is famous for creating Harry Potter. But she is also famous for being a plotter. She used a 1 page gridded outline.The grid outlines the chapter, month, chapter title, explanation of how that chapter relates to the over-arching plot of the book, and then columns for each of the book’s six subplots (prophecies, Harry’s romantic interests, Dumbledore’s Army, Order of the Phoenix, Snape and crew, and Hagrid and Grawp).
Challenge: If you have not outlined your story. Outline your story using JK Rowling’s method. Stick to only 1 page for the outline.
Well I trust these tips and exercises from great authors will keep your mental muscles supple and flexed this week.