Sunday, December 11, 2011

Write ON # 3 from Chris Mandeville

Write ON #3
Five Tips, Quotes and Exercises
Provided by Give! 2011 Collaborating Nonprofits

Stuck? Stalled? Or just plain bored with what you're writing? Call "King's X" and take a time out to try one of the exercises below. Before you know it, you'll be ready to get back in the game.

1. "Inside all of us is a wild thing." Maurice Sendak in Where the Wild Things Are

Are you afraid to go wild with your writing? Give yourself permission to let your wildest thing out, and let the wild rumpus begin! To make it less intimidating, start with a fresh sheet of paper or a new computer document, and set a time limit. If your inner wild thing writes something awful, you can throw it away and you've lost next to nothing. But chances are good that somewhere in the rumpus you will find a gem worth keeping.


2. Feed your feeding your characters. What would each of your main characters—including your antagonist—choose for their last meal? Create backstory that explains why.


3. A Golden Key by Larysa Harrington

"We all know that a golden key opens every door. For us, this golden key is our knowledge of English, which give us the possibilities to have the education, prestigious work, and communicate with friends. To have this 'golden key' we must be diligent, assiduous, and attentive that for the future, we could send our own knowledge ("our golden key") to other people, and help them too." From Stone Soup 2011, a publication of essays by participants of the Pikes Peak Library District's Adult Literacy and ESL Program

Find your character's "golden key" – the one thing that will open the door to his or her biggest dreams coming true.


4. "Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." Barbara Kingsolver

Banish the voices of the critics you keep in your head, and torpedo your desire to please them.

Be yourself and say what you want to say, the way only you can say it. Trust yourself to give words to your vision. Write your story—no one else can.


5. Take a note from history. Select a famous historical event—a pivotal battle, a royal wedding, an amazing discovery, or even a traumatic/dramatic/climactic event from your own history. Don't take too long, just pick one. Now, how can you incorporate a similar scenario in your story? Chances are the details won't mesh, but look at the event symbolically. How could a situation like that become a scene for your protagonist? Or your antagonist? Try writing a scene in the historical period, then write one in your story's setting.


For more information about these nonprofit organizations and their collaboration in Give! 2011, please visit

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