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

How to Identify the Protagonist in a Story

how to identify the protagonist

Can you identify the protagonist?

In most stories, the protagonist is obvious: Harry Potter, Lisbeth Salander, and Katniss Everdeen are unquestionably the protagonists of their respective stories. But sometimes the protagonist isn’t so obvious.

In some cases, a false protagonist is planted to intentionally mislead the audience, but the story later reveals another character to be the true protagonist. In other cases, primary characters get strong roles within a story, making the true protagonist difficult to suss out.

George R.R. Martin is beloved and infamous for killing off main characters in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, and readers are often mislead or confused about which character is the protagonist at any given moment in the epic historical fantasy tale.

If we’re not sure which character is the protagonist, how do we go about identifying the protagonist? Read more

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers

what if writing exercises for fiction writers

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.

Good fiction includes many different elements: believable characters, realistic dialogue, and compelling plots. Every decent story has a beginning, middle, and end. Intriguing tales are built around conflict and are rich with themes and symbols. And those are just the basics.

It can be pretty overwhelming.

Fiction writing is hard work. It requires a complex and diverse set of skills. Stringing words together into sentences only scratches the surface of what goes into good fiction writing. Fiction that is truly worthwhile is layered with meaning. It’s made up of an infinite number of tiny parts. Most importantly, it has a sense of truth and realism that the real world often lacks.

Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” And Stephen King said, “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

In other words, fiction, at its best, feels truer than reality. Great writers make it look easy, but writing that kind of fiction, the kind that’s worth reading, is nothing short of magic. Read more

What is a Story Concept?

story concept

How can you put story concept and premise to use?

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter eleven: “Concept, Premise, and Loglines.” Enjoy!

Most audiences are first introduced to stories as concepts, premises, or loglines.

These are hooks used for pitching and marketing; they draw people’s attention, get them interested in a story, and compel them to buy it.

Writers often start with a concept or premise as the initial idea for a story. It’s certainly not the only way for a story to be born, but identifying a clear concept or premise early on can lend clarity as you work your way through the composition of a story. Read more

Fiction Writing Exercises: The Power of Prose

fiction writing exercises

Fiction writing exercises for crafting strong prose.

When we writers discuss fiction, we usually focus on plot, setting, dialogue, and especially characters. These, of course, are the essential elements of decent storytelling. But what we often forget to address is the prose.

The words we choose to depict action, express characters’ thoughts, and render their dialogue is another important, albeit often overlooked, element of storytelling.

Language can raise a story to new heights or it can make a story sink. If readers are struggling to understand words and phrases or if they’re constantly distracted by unnecessary words and repetition, the story will take a backseat to the poorly constructed prose, and you’ll risk losing the readers.

No matter how compelling your story is, if you can’t convey it through well crafted prose, it will get lost in the slush pile and end up in the discount bin. Today’s fiction writing exercises encourage you to set story aside and focus instead on the language, which is at the very heart of the craft of writing. Read more

Narrative Techniques for Storytellers

narrative techniques

Find out how narrative techniques can improve the stories you write!

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter ten: “Literary Devices and Narrative Techniques.” Enjoy!

Writers use literary devices to convey or illustrate thoughts, ideas, and images or to strengthen their prose. Narrative techniques are a subset of literary devices that are specifically used in narrative writing. Both literary devices and narrative techniques occur naturally in writing but are also used intentionally. Learning about the many literary devices and narrative techniques that are available will add weight to your writer’s toolbox. Read more

Writing Resources: Wonderbook

Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook.

Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook is not your average tome on the craft of writing. It’s more like a portal, and once you enter, writing becomes a strange and awesome adventure. Subtitled The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, the book addresses fiction in general but occasionally emphasizes speculative fiction; any writer will benefit from it, but there are extra morsels for science-fiction and fantasy authors.

Unlike most books on craft, this one’s packed with illustrations, photographs, and diagrams, which will inspire you and provide fresh perspectives on the concepts discussed in the book. The artwork is delightfully weird and certain to give your imagination a good workout. The primary artist is Jeremy Zerfoss, but the book includes a range of diverse artists and styles. One of my favorite pieces was a useful and creative diagram showing the life cycle of a story.

Here’s more about what you’ll find inside: Read more

Storytelling: Writing Chapters and Scenes

writing chapters and scenes

Writing Chapters and Scenes.

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter nine: “Chapters, Scenes, and Sequences.” Enjoy!

Chapters, scenes, and sequences are structural units of storytelling. These are the basic blocks of a story that contain all other elements, from characters, plot, and setting to action, dialogue, and description. Read more

Writing Description in Fiction

description in fiction

Tips for writing description in fiction.

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter eight: “Description and Exposition.” Enjoy!

Without description, readers wouldn’t be able to visualize what’s happening in a story. We need to see the setting and the characters. Because there are no visuals in prose, writers must use words to describe a story’s visual elements in a way that helps readers see the story playing out in their minds. Read more

Fiction Writing Exercises: Becoming the Antagonist

fiction writing exercises antagonist

Fiction writing exercises for crafting an antagonist.

 

Today’s fiction writing exercises are designed to help fiction writers gain a better understanding of their characters, including antagonists, by learning how to relate to contradictory or opposing viewpoints.

Remember, an antagonist is not necessarily a villain. An antagonist is anyone whose purpose is at odds with the protagonist’s goals.

The most effective characters are unique and complex, not cardboard cutouts of ourselves. That means we have to get into the heads of people who are strikingly different from us.

These fiction writing exercises will help you do just that. The idea is to try and view the world from a perspective that is completely different from your own. Read more