Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Writing Exercises--Are They Worthwhile?

Why do we bother with writing exercises? What can possibly come from them? Should we flex our writing muscles with these exercises? Or should we just jump right into writing stories? For a writer, they're the equivalent of an athlete or an entertainer practicing over and over to perfect their talent. They will help you grow as a writer.

A writing exercise can:

be a story prompt. 

result in a descriptive paragraph that you will save to use someday in a story. 

serve to heighten your awareness of the five senses. 

help strengthen point of view in your stories

help you see the importance of active verbs

teach you to show more than tell

make the use of similes and metaphors easy

Here's an exercise that you can do many times.  Describe a landscape as seen by an old woman whose abusive husband has just died. Do not mention the husband or death.

This same exercise can be repeated because you can change the landscape. You can show her feelings in various ways. You can use active verbs, add sensory details, and strong verbs along with similes. Change the weather, the time of year--anything you like. You needn't do a writing exercise once and forget about it. There are many possibilities. By not mentioning the husband or death, you'll be forced to show rather than tell. 

Tomorrow, I'll share one of my tries at this exercise, and I hope you'll share yours, too.

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