Weekend Workout: Starting Something New

Well, here I am. The start of a new story. Don’t know about you, but I get pretty excited with the journey of a new story before me. I’m all wound up from the writing exercises I’ve been doing on my protagonist for the past few weeks and ready to rock and roll! Right?

And then . . . I find myself procrastinating to the page. Durn.

But I have a tool box! I can do this! I’ve done it before! (that’s big me psyching little me up)

As I start out on page one of a story, I like to do warm up exercises to get the creative juices flowing, and to give my work focus.

Whatever phase your story is in, warm-up exercises are a great way to begin your writing day. Timed exercises (no editing, judging, crossing out, etc) are the way to go for me.

Set your timer for 5-7 minutes and warm-up with the start line:

The story I’d like to write is about…

This is slightly different than “this is a story about” (which is a standard start line I use, especially when I’m stuck) because it’s about what you’d like to say through your story. What you aim to achieve through this story. You can do this in short sentences,  chaining, one long rambling sentence, or a combination. It matters not, just that you are writing and revealing to yourself what it is you want to say.

You can continue that as a warm up every day for focus if you want, then do 1 or 2 more exercises from the list below. For the start lines below, set your timer anywhere from 5-10 minutes (depending on how long you have to write) and run through the list. Rotate through them so that you do them all at least once.

I stress this all the time, but here it is again: do not stop writing during the exercises! No one ever has to see them, so there’s no pressure. The gems don’t come off the top, nor do they come from wracking your brain, they come unexpectedly while digging ever deeper. Sometimes the answer to a completely different question is answered in the process. Just remember that writing inspired writing and keep going.

My protagonist’s exterior goal is…
(What is it in the outside world that the protagonist wants in order to succeed)
My protagonist’s interior need is…
(what is it that the protagonist needs in order to heal – i.e. to forgive himself for his brother’s death)
If my protagonist does not achieve his/her goal then…
(what are the stakes, sometimes they are personal, sometimes they effect the world: if Indiana Jones allows the arc of the covenant to fall into Nazi hands they will take over the world)
My antagonist enters the story when…
My antagonist’s deepest fear is…
My antagonist’s secret is…

After you have done your warm-ups, then it’s time to write. I like to set a timer for my actual writing as well (usually 30-40 mins). It helps me to get into it. When it goes off, I do some physical stretches, refill my coffee, etc and decide if I want to keep going. Rinse and repeat.

Have a great weekend and happy writing!

3 Comments

Filed under weekend workout, writing exercises

3 responses to “Weekend Workout: Starting Something New

  1. Pingback: Weekend Workout: PrepWork, NaNoWriMo, and an Invite to Join the Insanity « The Accidental Novelist (Writes Again)

  2. Pingback: Prepping for NaNoWriMo: The Sequence and Beat Sheet! « The Accidental Novelist (Writes Again)

  3. Pingback: Weekend Workout: Prepping fo NaNo (or not) | The Accidental Novelist (Writes Again)

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