Setting in Time

fiction writing exercises setting in time

Fiction writing exercise: setting your story in time.

Today’s fiction writing exercise is an excerpt from my book, Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises, which imparts lessons and techniques on the craft of storytelling and provides practical exercises for study and practice. This exercise focuses on setting and more specifically, making sure readers know where every scene in a story takes place. Enjoy!

Setting in Time

An aspect of setting that is often overlooked is time—when a story takes place. This is an element of setting that historical authors pay close attention to, often conducting deep research to get every detail right—the clothes, the methods of transportation, and the society and culture as it existed at a particular moment in history.

But even authors of contemporary fiction must remain cognizant of a story’s timeline. When do the story events occur? What year? What season? What time of day?

In addition to establishing when a story takes place, we need to make sure readers always know where they are in a story’s timeline. If there’s a scene jump, did an hour pass? A day? A month? How do readers know? Read More

Plot Points: A Storytelling Exercise

fiction writing exercises plot points

How to use plot points for creating stories.

Today’s fiction writing exercise is an excerpt from Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises. This exercise focuses on plot points, which you can use to construct stories and to resolve issues with a story’s plot and structure. Enjoy!

Plot Points

Plot points are the events that move a story forward—the twists, turns, and developments that push the characters toward the climax and resolution. Each plot point is a significant moment in the grander scheme of things. If a character loses her keys as a way to show us she’s absent-minded, then it’s not a plot point (it’s characterization). But if she loses her keys when she needs to drive to the emergency room in a life-or-death situation, then it becomes a plot point. Read More

Sneak Peek at Story Drills: Character Arcs

fiction writing exercise character arcs

Fiction writing exercise: character arcs.

Today’s post offers a sneak peek at my forthcoming book, Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises. This exercise examines character arcs. Enjoy!

Character Arcs

In storytelling, an arc is a path of transformation. A character arc is the journey that a character experiences throughout the course of a story, which leads to a significant change.

Changes can occur internally or externally. Characters can acquire or lose knowledge, skills, or emotional strength—or they can gain or lose relationships, material possessions, or status. Some of the best character arcs are a combination of both internal and external transformations. Read More

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: Haiku

101 creative writing exercises - haiku

Haiku, from 101 Creative Writing Exercises.

Today’s writing exercise comes from my book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises, which takes writers on an exciting journey through different forms and genres while providing writing techniques, practical experience, and inspiration.

Each chapter focuses on a different form or writing concept: freewriting, journaling, memoirs, fiction, storytelling, form poetry, free verse, characters, dialogue, creativity, and article and blog writing are all covered.

Today, we’ll take a peek at “Chapter 7: Form Poetry” with a poetry exercise simply called “Haiku.” Enjoy!  Read More

Fiction Writing Exercises: Step Out of Your Shoes

fiction writing exercises

Step out of your shoes with these fiction writing exercises.

I recently shared a writing exercise that encouraged you to get into a character’s head. Today’s exercise asks you to go a step further and explore characters and ideas that are your polar opposites.

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of being a writer is creating characters. It is an opportunity to step outside of your own reality and take on a completely different persona. Unless you’re an actor, an undercover agent, or just plain crazy, you don’t get many chances in life to do that. Read More

Getting Into Character: Fiction Writing Exercises

character fiction writing exercises

Fiction writing exercises for developing characters.

Writers are not actors, but sometimes we need to get into character.

To truly understand the nature of a character, a writer must step into that character’s shoes. You can use character sketches and descriptions while you’re creating a character, but the character will remain two dimensional until you can get into the character’s head and understand what makes them tick. Read More

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: Your Gang

101 creative writing exercises - your gang

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: Your Gang.

Today’s writing exercise comes from my book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises, which takes you on an adventure through the world of writing. You’ll explore different forms and genres while learning practical writing techniques. You’ll also get plenty of writing experience and ideas for publishable projects.

Each chapter focuses on a different form or writing concept: freewriting, journaling, memoirs, fiction, storytelling, form poetry, free verse, characters, dialogue, creativity, and writing articles and blogs are all covered.

Today, we’ll take a peek at “Chapter 3: People and Characters” with an exercise called “Your Gang.” Enjoy! Read More

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: Couplets and Quatrains

Couplets and quatrains

Couplets and quatrains, a poetry writing exercise.

Today’s writing exercise comes from 101 Creative Writing Exercises, which takes writers on an adventure through different forms and genres while offering tools, techniques, and inspiration for writing.

Each chapter focuses on a different form or writing concept: freewriting, journaling, memoirs, fiction, storytelling, form poetry, free verse, characters, dialogue, creativity, and article and blog writing are all covered.

Today, we’ll take a peek at “Chapter 7: Form Poetry” with a poetry exercise called “Couplets and Quatrains.” Enjoy! Read More

Fiction Writing Exercises for Stimulating Creativity

fiction writing exercises

Stimulate your creativity with these fiction writing exercises.

Do you ever feel like the story you’re writing is bland? Like it needs to be spiced up? Or maybe you want to write a story but you’re fresh out of ideas.

Fiction writing exercises are perfect for toning your storytelling muscles. They can also provide you with a wealth of ideas for writing projects.

Today’s fiction writing exercises are designed to stimulate creativity and get you thinking about storytelling from fresh angles. Read More

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: The Great Debate

creative writing exercises

Creative writing exercises: the great debate.

Today’s post is from 101 Creative Writing Exercises. This exercise is from “Chapter 9: Philosophy, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving.” It’s called “The Great Debate.” Enjoy!

Logic, order, and organization are essential in clear and coherent writing, whether you’re telling a story or writing a poem. Critical thinking is a fundamental writing skill.

If a story doesn’t stand up to logic, or if a poem has holes in its philosophy, readers will become disenchanted. If a character does something outrageous but doesn’t have a reasonable motive, readers will become disengaged.

Writing requires foresight and analysis. We use what-if questions to create, and we use if-then arguments to substantiate everything we write. Read More