10 Days to Write Better: A Writing Challenge
Writers are always looking for the ways to hone creative skills and work on certain trouble areas. The writing challenge is a great way to exercise your writing, no matter if you are a beginner or an experienced writer. Are you still trying to nail down your style? Do you struggle with characters development? Or maybe you are just running out of ideas and need some inspiration? The solution is simple – you should practice more. A creative prompt a day keeps your writer’s block away. The ten daily writing exercises are sure to get those fingers typing – or the ink flowing, if you’re old-school, and will definitely keep your writing skills fit!
Being an astronaut in 2063 is interesting to say the least. You love being the first person to document newly discovered planets, detailing everything you find. You’re landing now on yet another planet. The hatch door opens – describe what you see.
This exercise should focus on detailed imagery for the setting. It will get your imagination work. The exercise is especially good for science fiction writers, who have to balance between fantasy and scientific laws. Feel free to impose the character’s personal feelings and impressions onto the world they are seeing.
An easygoing man is looking for a parking spot at the store and finally finds one. He clicks his turn signal and turns in. As he gets out and locks the car, a woman pulls up with her window down and screams at him, vowing to get revenge.
Exercise the genre of literary drama. Develop intense dialogue and conflict into a plot with your main character evolving as the woman seeks her revenge. You may add humor, sarcasm or irony to achieve the desired effect. Use emotional language and try to show the gender differences in emotions in the characters’ conversation.
Sue is sweet but sheltered and sees the good in everyone. She doesn’t get out much, but her job as a flower delivery girl takes her one day to a seedy bar in a dangerous part of town. Thinking nothing of it, Sue enters the bar with an innocent smile on her face and flowers in tow.
Focus on setting to contrast how Sue is a fish out of water. This could potentially lead to conflict, as well, and further character development. It is your choice whether you use the dialogues or to focus on the setting, but character development is your primary aim. Make sure that Sue leaves the bar being a different person.
Carl is seemingly perfect in every way – he’s attractive, intelligent, and successful. He has one absurd flaw, though, that proves to be detrimental in unexpected ways. He always puts his shoes on the wrong feet.
Exploring how this started and why it continues to happen will develop Carl’s character and should point to conflict, as well. You may use this feature as the metaphor or a sign of some deep inner conflict. Just make sure you add meaning to this detail and develop the story around it, not letting it fade away.
Kelly is an endearing but eccentric character who has decided to join an online dating website. Jaded but hopeful and looking for a sincere connection, Kelly avoids the overtly sexual messages and trudges on, learning how to play the game along the way.
This is an exercise for love story writing. The story should focus on character development and provide conflict. Let Kelly’s character grow with the variety of other characters you bring to the story. Make the story lively and vibrant with a mixture of emotions. Don’t forget the setting – your character is online, so make the language feel like an Internet conversation. Feel free to use slang and abbreviations, however don’t let it ruin the romance.
You’re a world famous Belgian chocolatier. You have won so many awards for your chocolate you have lost count, and you are getting bored with the business. Your family built it from the ground up over a hundred years ago, though, and you do feel it is part of you. Return to your childhood and find again that magic that chocolate seemed to have.
Is it the story about inner struggle and uncertainty about the future? Or is it the ode to the family values? It depends on you. Your task is to focus on the setting of the kitchen as part of the childhood memories and using the sensory images. Appeal to the sense of taste and smell of your readers. Make this chocolate story delicious and thrilling. Everything comes back to chocolate. Make it part of you.
It’s the middle of the week and a huge snowstorm has hit unexpectedly. No one can get out at all, and the snow is still falling. Write about your day at home.
Try to make this a basic character development exercise and sprinkle in some humorous conflict – a slice of life study with an organic resolution. Use stream of consciousness technique as the way to communicate your thoughts to the reader.
At a routine medical checkup your doctor finds a seed rooted in your ear. After many tests and consultations, they tell you if they operate you will die.
Treat this as a post-conflict exercise. Focus on self-reflection. Develop a character with life changing experience in mind. Reveal the ways your character deals with tough decision and how it influences the inner world.
Ned is an animal control officer with a soft heart. He has been bitten countless times but he still loves animals and wants desperately to help them. He loves his job, too, but he passionately hates his boss.
This largely centers on conflict. Explore Ned’s options as he struggles with his passion for animals while feeling like he has limited choice for a job or career. Add the touch of humor and fantasy when describing Ned’s interaction with his animal friends.
Liz has an interview for the job of her dream. She is anxious but confident, and takes meticulous steps to prepare for the big day. The interviewer turns out to be an old boss that fired Liz or someone Liz rejected romantically.
This should initially focus on setting and character development, then lead to conflict with dialogue. Add the elements of the motivational story and the idea of controlling your life and making the right decisions. The happy end is not a must.
Hopefully, these writing prompts will serve their purpose and get you into the habit of writing every day. Remember: not everything you write has to be good, but it is good that you’re writing!
Haley Osborne is an indie writer and contributing blogger. Writing is her job and hobby, so she spends a lot of time exercising her writing skills. Want to meet Haley? Contact her via Facebook or Google+