Creative Fiction Writing

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More exercises will be added as time goes by, so please check this page periodically – the most recent prompts appear at the top.

Remember what Natalie Goldberg says about writing practice: Keep your hand moving. Write a dialogue between two people who have to share a seat on a plane and who are attracted to one another.

Think you might enjoy writing about some far-off place and time…or maybe even inventing an imaginary place and culture all your own?

Here’s a basic exercise to help you define place, time, and cultural mores as a context for your story. Imagine yourself as a child, looking at your mother’s wallet.

These prompts are intended to help inspire your creativity. Go back to one of the exercises you’ve done since the beginning of class and edit it with an eye to new ideas, different approaches, clearer sentences. This isn’t even a rough draft; this is just flow; pure mental, emotional, associative pure flow. Go through your three pages and underline the sentences or paragraphs, phrases, or ideas you think are most interesting, provocative, amusing, enlightening. Do not simply make a list, but use sentences so you can experience the flow of your thoughts. If no response comes together for you, write three pages on what is going on in your mind, starting with the quote: “Where we are going is here.” or “Both ways are best.” or “What is the straight within the bent?

Try your hand at any one of them or use them as quick ten minute writing exercises. If you are stuck, start your sentences with something like, “I am afraid my writing will.

Then, remembering that conflict is the essence of all dramatic writing, repeat the process by imagining a character whose value, attitudes, etc.

would likely put them in opposition to the first character you invented. Explore the differences of the two lists – either in an essay or poem or put two characters in a dangerous situation together where one is more likely to have said the “it would be crazy” statements and the other would be more likely to say their opposite. Put on a piece of music and write where it takes you.

Creative writing recreates reality – frequently changing events and characters, times and places – while staying true to the heart of the story – its emotional truth.

Pick one of your answers and recreate it into a story, an essay, a poem, a performance piece, that you would like to share.


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