As I posted on AuthorStand.com message forum http://shop.authorstand.com/Boards/Topic.aspx?TopicID=25#53 I wanted to share with all of you about some ideas about writing exercises. We all know that exercising anything from muscles to our brains produces stronger minds and bodies. So, it is true that when we exercise our writing, we become better writers.
Please share here your writing exercises.
My favorite writer exercise takes an entire month to complete. It takes a writer on a frenzied writing experience while tossing their editor's cap across the room. Each November, National Novel Writing Month takes all who dare to participate on a wild and exciting experience for a lifetime while they write 50,000 words in a single month - the month of November. They offer prizes, but not ones you take to the bank. Amazon offers any who accomplish this frenzied writing of 50,000 words a free proof copy of their work or any work they wish to see in print. No obligation for self-publishing by Amazon...just a personal copy of your book.
Google it and read it for yourself. Then take the plunge into a wild and crazy month of abandon. Great forums and support both on line and in local communities - world wide!
Okay, that sounded like a promotional. I don't work for NaNoWriMo, nor do I gain anything from spreading the news about it....I did it last year and produced a reasonably publishable (still needs some editing when I get back to it) novel of 80,000 words. I plan to do it again this year.
Aside from that exercise, one exercise I do in order to get to know my characters as friends, enemies, or family, I ask them a lot of questions. Sometimes it is as though I am "digging things up" and learning who they are, what THEY want to do next or even what they don't want to do. Once we know our characters aside from ourselves, we can learn to appreciate it when they rebel and refuse to allow us to make them do something against their character.
Character Exercise: get to know your characters by asking questions. Type the conversation between you and them on your computer in a word document. Ask them why they are running through the woods like something is chasing them and what that something may be. Ask how they got to where they are in life - success, failure, drugs, marriage, etc. Where have they been all their life.
Yes, our characters must be real to us before we can make them real to the reader.