Sentence Structure Matters

Next to your individual word choice, your sentence structure is the basic building block of your voice. Your sentences tell your story, either simply or poetically. They pull your reader in and carry them along. It is possible to write a best-selling novel using basic...

The Power of Imitation

Imitation is a great strategy to begin playing with different styles, syntax, sentence length and complexity because it forces you to immediately adapt and stretch your writing skills. For example, look at the following selection “Hairs” from House on...

Single Syllable Story Prompt

One reason poets often write such beautiful prose is because they spend so much time choosing each individual word. Khalil Gibran said, “Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.” Hopefully you too use a dictionary and the...

Trading Places Writing Practice

When I write, I go to one of three favorite places: my corner desk, my comfy chair, or the red napping couch. I don’t nap, but it’s super comfy and a great place to write. I feel inspired in these places, and when I sit down in them, for some reason...

Write Outside the Box

This week in my Creative Writing class, I had students fill in the blanks to the following sentences. Try it. 1) Joe _________ the grape into his mouth. 2) The wind ____________ through the trees. 3) The dog ___________ the cat. 4) The snow ____________ under...

Writing Exercise – Show those Details

Think of something that happened to you in the past six months. It could be anything . . . something exciting, fun, sad, momentous, or reflective. In a few sentences, describe it. This should be a brief summary. Example: A few weeks ago, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada...

Dialogue Practice

Sometimes writing dialogue between characters can be tough, so we’re going to practice with characters you know pretty well. First, choose two of your favorite novels. Then, choose a favorite character from each of these novels. Maybe you like Alaska from John...

Dialogue Stalking Exercise

We talk all day long but often capturing realistic dialogue in our writing can be hard. If you struggle with this, start listening. For this exercise, grab your laptop or notebook and head to a public place and start listening. If your characters are younger, than go...