Writing Exercise 4 – Good beginnings

Prompt: Begin in the middle. Write your own opening line that begins in the middle. Establish characters, situations, and conflicts with a few choice words. Then drop your readers right smack in the center.

They said it was a bad idea. I was thinking battery licking bad. Maybe bobby pin in the light socket bad. I didn’t think Kirsten and me’d be running down East 9th at 1 AM with an angry flash mob chasing us. I’m not exaggerating. Some of these maniacs are still wearing tap shoes. The pounding of their feet is a sharp, concussive rat-a-tat-tat that reminds me of Tommy gun sound effects from Saturday afternoon gangster movies with the folks.

We’d probably be better off being chased by gangsters. Dancers are in great shape. I’m already huffing phlegmy Darth Vader breaths. Kirsten’s hand in mine is sweaty, but she’s got a grip like a pit bull. “Babe. Babe, your nails are killing me!”

“Shut up!” Everything she manages comes out in short bursts, not too different from our usual conversations, I guess, just louder. “Fire escape.” She points ahead. It’s rusty and looks like maybe it’s only halfway invested in clinging to the side of the building. The ladder is hanging too low. Good for us. We’re not dancers fueled by espresso and rage. At this point, I’ll take salvation with a side of wtf am I doing. It beats death by flash mob. Can you imagine that obit?

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Roadblocks – Part I: Rejection

When thinking about roadblocks to success in writing for this week’s meta post, I nearly succumbed to analysis paralysis. There are so many. It made sense to cover it in a series, because what ties me in knots may not be a consideration for someone else. Our challenges are as unique as we are. However, one challenge that every writer faces in taking the leap from writing for themselves, friends, and family to writing for pay and a wider audience is rejection. Fear of rejection stops some people from ever submitting at all. The first taste of it is enough to discourage others from continuing. I’ve discovered that I fear something else entirely, but that’s a subject for another time.

Continue reading Roadblocks – Part I: Rejection

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Writing Exercise 3 – Tone

Prompt: Rewrite the following story as it might be told in the style of any of the following four people: a stand-up comedian, a prime-time reporter, an evangelical minister, or a gangster rapper.

A string decided to look for trouble, friends. Yes, this string didn’t have enough drama in his life. (Make no mistake. Boredom is the Devil’s tool.) This string took himself down to the local bar, sauntered up to the nearest empty stool, and had himself a seat. He took a seat in this den of iniquity because he was looking for something we all want in our lives, a little companionship, some entertainment maybe, but most of all a change of pace. How many of us have been there, friends? How many of us make bad decisions just because we’re itching to make decision? Continue reading Writing Exercise 3 – Tone

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Writing Exercise 2 – Description

Prompt: “Write about your greatest childhood fear.”

They boiled up out of the ground in a loud thrum that was primal in its rage and awakened something in me I’d never felt before. Fight or flight blossomed faster than thought could process, and of course there was only one right answer. You can’t fight a swarm. I ran. Continue reading Writing Exercise 2 – Description

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Writing Exercise 1 – Playing around with dialog

Part of the purpose of The Writer’s Block is to get you writing spontaneously without going into a lot of pre-planning or outlining, so for this first exercise I just picked the first prompt that grabbed my attention and ran with the first thing that came to mind. None of these exercise posts will be complete stories. That’s not what they’re for. This is also a good exercise for me in letting go of judgment or fear of it, posting things I know aren’t polished and letting them stand as-is. I hope they’re moderately entertaining and at the very least they give you a behind the scenes glimpse of a writing process and how dramatically something can change from beginning concept to end product.

Continue reading Writing Exercise 1 – Playing around with dialog

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