I quite enjoy the little writing exercises that people come up with sometimes. You get these at a lot of creative writing courses and workshops. They’re basically little triggers designed to get you writing. The truth is that when it comes to being a writer, there are six really, REALLY important things that you have to do:

Read, read, read, write, write, write.

All the other skills you learn, getting help with your grammar, getting stories critiqued and all that is very important. But first and foremost you have to read like you breathe (all the time) and you have to write as much as possible. The more you write, the more frequently you write, the better your writing will get. So, with that in mind, I was pleased to find this little exercises over at Karen Lee Field’s blog today:

Inspiration Friday is all about getting words on to a blank page. This is this week’s exercise:

Instructions: Using any set of words below, continue writing a paragraph of no longer than 50 words. Learn to be concise.

1. Mildred Crane leaned over the fence and beckoned…

2. The line of ants moved quickly…

3. The wise man…

4. “Respect is all I ask for,” said…

5. The warrior clasped his sword in both hands and…

6. Sunshine warmed the air, but Tim…

7. Blood splattered on the pathway…

8. Aunt Maud was old…

9. “Fire!” The men turned and…

10. Death is not the end…

I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I decided to give it a go. If you want to have a try, go and leave a comment with your ideas before you read mine below. I wouldn’t want your creative genius to be sullied by my filthy words.

Otherwise, here are my efforts:

1. Mildred Crane leaned over the fence and beckoned with one crooked finger. Little Jimmy began to tremble. “Come on,” cackled Crane, “I won’t eat you!”

2. The line of ants moved quickly, though sadly the anteater was faster.

3. The wise man smiled.

4. “Respect is all I ask for,” said the naked man, stark in a pool of light under the orange streetlamp.

“Well,” said the Policeman, “you’re not really going about it the right way.”

5. The warrior clasped his sword in both hands and prayed to the gods of war that no one would see him for the 15 year old boy he was, but for the mighty warrior he was to become.

6. Sunshine warmed the air, but Tim wrapped his fur lined coat tighter around his body. His toes were already numb and he was so very cold. The poison was sure to reach his heart before his father reached a town.

7. Blood splattered on the pathway. Linda looked up from her banana lounge in disgust. “Kevin, seriously, this thing is charcoal on the outside and raw in the middle. You’re the only man I know that can’t BBQ.”

8. Aunt Maud was old, but not as old as the corpse of Uncle Vern in the downstairs freezer.

9. “Fire!” The men turned and raised their rifles to their shoulders. The woman kept her head high and stared down the barrels as thunder and fire erupted.

10. Death is not the end, it’s more like an interval. Only without ice cream.

So what about you? You going to have a go? These things can be good fun and they really are useful exercises for working out your writing muscles. Have a go at one or two in the comments.

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