Writing Exercises

Have you tried any writing exercises to spark some creativity?

Recently, my local writers group met for a writing exercise called Hide & SEEk. We gathered at a coffee shop and drew slips of paper from a bag. On each piece of paper was written the name of a nearby location, such as an ice cream store, cafe or a park-style bench. We dispersed and walked to the various places where we were to observe and write. We “hid” in plain sight and watched people walking or cycling by, catching bits of conversations. The purpose of this exercise was to come up with ideas for characters we might want to write about. We could also draw scenes of what we saw around us. After a set amount of time (about  45 minutes) we walked back to the coffee shop and discussed what we observed and the ideas we had generated.

Members found it successful to varying degrees. I did not have a lot of luck, as the place where I went was having an open mic night and there was more music than talking! One group member, at another location, struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was nearby.

If you decide to try a similar exercise, I suggest going to a safe public place, where you will not disturb others. Buy yourself an ice cream, cup of coffee or ice tea and blend in with the crowd. Spend some time watching the local scene as you dream up new characters. Then write that next book or short story!

Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is currently working on her first children’s book.


Christine Rains said...

That is really neat! I people watch all the time. There's so many weird and fun characters out there waiting to be discovered. :)

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Writing down what you observe as you are sitting there might also be an interesting exercise.

Karen Cioffi said...

Debbie, I love this idea. I've often thought of observing for idea generation, but haven't done it yet.

You can also observe mannerisms, speech, so many things!

Thanks for sharing.

Magdalena Ball said...

What an unusual and interesting excercise. I will definitely give it a try.

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