During our workshops, Helen Cross introduces new concepts and skills by using short writing exercises that are designed to get the right-hand side of our brains working. These exercises are not only great for stimulating creativity, but they help break down the often-overwhelming task of writing a book, enabling us to develop characters, write short scenes and practice with metaphor.
Here’s three exercises that we’ve found really useful in the past and which you may too:
1. The items we have in our home – furniture, ornaments, practical goods – can be representative of the people we are and the choices we make. Objects can become symbols. Write a list of five objects your main character would have in their home, thinking about why this is reflective of them and what the object may mean to them and to the story.
2. Choose one of the items from the exercise above and, without naming it explicitly, describe it. Consider colour, texture, size, shape, smell, the era during which it was made… Show the object to your audience but don’t tell them what it is. Will they be able to name it based on the description you have written?
3. Write a short story of a time someone knocked at your door. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write as much as you can. The person at the door could be someone you know or it could be a stranger. You could be happy to see them, scared, angry or some other emotion. It could be a true story of something that has happened to you or someone you know. However, don’t give everything away. Create some suspense and leave the reader wanting to read on to find out more. And if it’s appropriate and relevant to your story, you could even weave in reference to the object/s from the exercises above.
Feel free to share your stories below, and let us know how you found the exercises and whether they helped loosen your pen and get that creativity flowing.