Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Info-dump Podcast   Leave a comment

I’ve just listened to the 335th podcast in the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast by KM Weiland, and very interesting it is too. I’ve been impressed by the quality of the information in this series since I came across it, but was particularly interested in this episode on Info-dumps where she outlines four different types of exposition a writer can succumb to when writing.

According to her, these categories are:

  1. Back story
  2. World building
  3. Technical
  4. Emotional

The emotional info-dump was new to me. KM Weiland defined it as when a character shares their state of mind, their emotions, or their current thinking. I found this interesting as an idea because I recognise that I’ve been guilty of writing this way from time to time.

So, I guess I need to set myself the task where of showing my way out of passages where I have the urge to share the emotions of my characters, so that readers can see the inner conflict, rather than being told about it. This might be harder than it sounds…




A Writing Game Through the Post   Leave a comment

Following on from the last post about a writing game I thought I’d post another example of a fun way to get writing.

There are a number of variations of this game but the one I’m going to describe involves envelopes. Also this is slightly hard to set up by yourself so like a would be magician, you may need a glamorous assistant to help you get started.

First of all you need five envelopes. Write on the front of each of them in turn the words: Character, Conflict, Weather, Setting and Object.

Ask your assistant to come with a list of words or phrases for each of the five categories. Now, I know you could do that yourself, but you might opt for an easy selection where everything could associate in a straightforward way. Your assistant should be encouraged to think of wildly different words or phrases for each group. Hopefully (s)he will come up with items you would never have considered.

The only other stipulation should be that you need twice as many characters as anything else (that’s if you are going to play the game until you exhaust all the words on the lists!)


Characters might be an undertaker or fishmonger

Conflict might be mistaking someone for someone else, or one of the characters discovering (s)he is adopted

Weather could be anything from a showery day to a blizzard

Setting might be in a convent or up a scaffolding

Object might be a magic lamp or a pen knife

You really don’t want to see the listed items at this point. Ask your assistance to cut them into single items and drop them into the appropriate envelope.

His/her work is then done. What’s next is your challenge. Take out two characters, and one item each from the remaining envelopes. The six items (including two characters, remember?) in front of you need to be woven into a piece of writing in whichever format you prefer.

Easy, do you think?

Posted June 12, 2011 by Alan Clark in Exercise, Game, Poet, Poetry, Short story, Story, Writer, Writing

A Writing Game   1 comment

I’m not sure where this came from originally (though I know we played with it in our Writers Group) but it’s a fun creative writing exercise…

You need two characters.

Put the name of the first character down on a piece of paper.

Then spend five minutes listing what that person would be carrying. For example, what they are holding, what’s in their pockets, or what’s in their bag.

Then, on another piece of paper, write down the name of the second character, and repeat the process for another five minutes.

The next thing is to image a scene where these two characters meet for the first time. You should use the things they are carrying to guide you – include them in the passage if you can.

If possible try and set out the scene as a conflict between the two people.

Finally, sit back and admire your handiwork 🙂



Posted June 6, 2011 by Alan Clark in Dumfries Writers, Exercise, Writer, Writing