Blog Archives

Writer’s Road Trip: Traveling the Exterior and Interior Landscape

April 18th 2018

WRITING EXERCISES: PATRICIA ANN MCNAIR offers a strategy to bring structure to short stories: ‘When a student says they don’t have anything to write about, or when I get stumped myself, I know that it is not content we yearn for, it is structure…’

How to Perform an Exclamectomy

July 10th 2017

Author MARY O’DONNELL guides us through an excision of the exclamation mark in fiction: ‘So, how to perform what I call an Exclamectomy? For most of us, it’s actually a question of becoming more aware of the sound of things, and of the voice in which a phrase is uttered…’

How to Create a Sense of Movement in a Story

November 2nd 2015

WRITING EXERCISE: SHAUN LEVIN, creator of the Writing Maps guides for writers, looks at movement in short stories and how to check you’re getting enough: ‘Kafka manages, in a 181-word story, to include an account of: 1) what is happening, 2) questions regarding what might actually be happening, and 3) a mention of what had been happening before all that is happening started…’

Overcoming Bumps, Blocks and Barricades

March 30th 2015

The journey to the end of a story can be littered with plot holes, hold-ups, plans that need constant revision and, worst of all, a complete blockade. Enthusiasm will only get you so far…’ LYNDA NASH shares some valuable strategies to help overcome the dreaded writer’s block.

Kaleidoscope Storytelling

September 17th 2014

ALEX RUCZAJ explores the shapes and patterns of story writing: ‘In Kurt Vonnegut’s wonderful lecture on the shapes of stories, he draws curve after curve on his blackboard, showing the story arc – the ‘beautiful shapes’ that all traditional stories follow…’

Writing In The Dark

September 3rd 2014

LYNDA NASH guides us through a selection of exercises to battle those writing demons: ‘It’s difficult to write when your inner critic is telling you that your ideas are stupid, that you couldn’t string a decent sentence together to save your life, and that if you were a ‘proper writer’ you wouldn’t get blocked in the first place…’

To Tweet, or Not to Tweet

February 24th 2014

WRITING EXERCISE: Writer and tutor EMMA STRONG suggests a way in which Twitter might revolutionise your writing day: ‘Does it provide us with a forum to share and discuss work, to give and receive feedback, or is Twitter just a narcissistic time-waster, best ignored?’

Read All About It!

February 20th 2013

In ‘Read All About It’, ANNABELLE CARVELL walks us through the steps of a news story writing exercise that’s sure to get your fingers itching.

Starting Block — An Exercise

March 21st 2012

In The Sound of Music, Maria sings: ‘Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.’ That might be the case if you’re an ex nun in the Swiss Alps but it doesn’t work so well in short story writing.

The Short Story Day Trip

November 21st 2011

Author DOUG CRANDELL goes on a day trip and sets us a writing exercise.

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