Use three vocabulary words, that you don’t know, in a short story.
An easy way to do this is to just open a dictionary and pick out three words you don’t know. Or you could simply look up “unique words” or “big words” on google. This exercise encourages creativity derived from an unexpected place, and I guarantee you by the time your short story is finished (about a page) you will have learned those three new words. So, this exercise helps build vocabulary and creativity.
Write a person, place and thing story.
How this works is you ask a friend, family member, co-worker, acquaintance, or stranger to name a person, place and a thing. Your job is to turn their choices into a short story, piece of flash fiction or even something longer if you find inspiration. This exercise helps to encourage people to leave their comfort zones and to explore new literary environments.
As part of being homeschooled, my mom had me write short stories that involved me picking out 3 to 5 nouns that began with a particular letter. So, if I were to write a story featuring letter “A” then I might choose the words “apple, angel and alligator.” My job, would be to use those three words to create a short piece of fiction. Again, this simply encourages creativity to bubble from a new source and aids in stretching past your comfort zones.
Poetry assembly line
Now this one is fun! I have spent many an evening doing this exercise with friends. So how it works is you grab two blank pieces of paper and you write a single line of poetry on one piece. You then pass the paper to the person next to you, and they write the next line of poetry. The trick is, the person writing the next line of poetry can only see the line directly before they write their line. So, you will need a second piece of paper to cover the lines above – leaving only the most recent line visible. Do this until you get bored and then have someone from your group read your poem aloud.
Watch The Dead Poet’s Society.
I know this is not exactly an exercise, but I think watching The Dead Poet’s Society can be a great individual or group activity. This movie helps to illustrate the importance of literature, and was an impactful inspiration to keep me writing.
Write a story in 10 words or less.
It is as easy as it sounds. Sometimes the most impactful scenes or stories are impactful because of their brevity. Practice the art of brevity using this technique.
Fiction story assembly line.
Another group activity! Using 2 or more people, take turns writing a single sentence of a story. You will be surprised at the different directions your story will take with more than one author!
Use a picture for inspiration to write a short story or piece of flash fiction.
For all you Pinterest lovers, this is the exercise for you. Choose a picture from one of your Pinterest boards (or off of your browser’s images) as inspiration and write. My favorite pictures to use have been anime/manga images that I have found off of Pinterest. However, if you decide to post your story, just make sure you don’t post the image without the consent of the illustrator.
Write an essay about how you became a writer.
I wrote one titled “Prescription of a Writer.” You can find it on the “My Writing” tab.