Monday, December 28, 2009

Memorable Gifts

What is the best gift your character ever received? What is the worst? What, specifically, made these gifts memorable, and (if they're objects) does s/he still have them?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Avoided Places

Most of us have places we don't like to go. For five minutes, write about a place your character tries to avoid and why s/he stays away from it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Stressed Out

People often act differently when they're tired or anxious. For five minutes, write about what your character does or says in times of fatigue and stress that s/he might not do or say ordinarily.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Distinct Voices

Write a scene between your main character and his/her closest confidante using only dialogue. Make sure to make each character's voice distinct so it's easy to follow the scene without being told who's speaking.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Favorite Food

What is your character's favorite food? What specific memories, places, or people does s/he associate it with?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Speech Patterns

We all have words and phrases we tend to overuse (often without realizing it). Make a list of the words and phrases that tend to pop up in your character's speech.

Monday, November 16, 2009


If your character had the chance to confront someone, who would it be and what would s/he say to that person?

Monday, November 9, 2009


We all need a break sometimes. For five minutes, write about what your character does to get away from "real life" for a little while.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Thanks to Halloween, I've been thinking about disguises. If you (or your character) could become someone else, at least for a little while, who would that "someone else" be and why?

Monday, October 26, 2009


Write about something your character has never told anyone. What would happen if someone else found out about this secret?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Forgotten Object

Your character is a half hour away from home when s/he remembers an object s/he left behind. For five minutes, write about the object that's so important, your character would go back home to get it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scent Memory

Memories are often triggered by a familiar scent. For five minutes, write about a memory you (or your character) associate with a specific smell.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rewriting the Past

Everyone has conversations they wish they could go back and change. Try rewriting a conversation you had with someone, making it play out the way you wish it had.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Omit Needless Words!

As William Strunk, Jr. often said: "Omit needless words!" Take a page of your writing (or someone else's) and cut out any unnecessary words. Try to get as much meaning into as few words as you can.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Often characters are too busy in stories to have time to read, but their reading habits can tell us a lot about them. For five minutes, write about your character's reading habits and what his/her favorite book might be.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Some people only need a few hours of sleep a night while others have to take daily naps. For five minutes, write about your (or your character's) sleeping habits.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Everyone lies; some people just do it more than others. For five minutes, write about a time when your character wanted to, or had to, lie.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Favorite Place

What is your (or your character's) favorite place? For five minutes write about this place and what makes it so special.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Superstitions can tell us a lot about a person. For five minutes, write about what you (or your character) are most superstitious about.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Speaking Photograph

Find a photograph of someone you don't know. For five minutes write from this person's point of view. Have the person tell us a little bit about him/herself. What does s/he like to do? What makes him/her interesting?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Dreams let our minds run free which is why they can be great sources of inspiration for stories. For five minutes, write about a dream you had, putting in as many details as you can remember. Then, go over what you've written and mark any events or scenes from your dream that you might be able to use in a story.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Training yourself to listen to and remember what other people say can really help with writing. Make a list of at least five interesting things you've recently heard people say. Now mark the one(s) you think could be fun to put into a story.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Valued possessions can tell us a lot about a person. Think of an object that's important to you (or to one of your characters). Write for five minutes about why this object is special and what you (or your character) would do if it was lost.

Monday, July 20, 2009


So many stories play out because a person is afraid of something specific happening. For five minutes write about what you (or your character) are most afraid of and why.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What If?

Pick any everyday situation (e.g. making a sandwich) and flip it on its head by asking "What if?" For example, what if I went to make a sandwich and found out that all the bread was gone? In fact, what if all the bread in the world was gone? What would I do then? For five minutes write about your own "What if?"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One day...

Stories tend to begin with a specific incident. Starting with the phrase "One day," write for five minutes about something that happened to you or to one of your characters.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Moody Weather

Weather can have a huge effect on our moods. Write for five minutes about how the weather today has been making you act/think/feel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I remember...

Many stories are inspired by memories. Starting with the phrase "I remember," write for five minutes about any memory that comes to your mind.