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Writing exercises and resources for authors

There's more to writing than just sitting down and writing a novel from start to finish. In fact, there are many ways to approach writing and people use it for different things. If you're an author or an aspiring one, it's a good idea to experiment with your writing and develop your skill. This can bring out a whole new side to your writing that you didn't even know existed. This is where writing exercises and resources can come in very handy. This blog post is going to go over some of these exercises and resources you can try to develop your writing.

Streams of consciousness

This is an exercise where you set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Once the timer begins, write continuously without stopping or editing. Forget about everything else (even your time limit) and get as much as you can on the page. This exercise helps loosen up your writing and tap into your subconscious. It can also help to put in words some of the ideas that have been floating around in your brain.

Character interviews

Create a list of questions for your characters and answer them as if you were the character. This helps you understand your characters' motivations, fears and desires better. This is something you can do with characters you've created or you could even start from scratch and create a character as you go. Another option is to interview a character that already exists, from books or TV shows you've read or watched before.

Write in different genres

I am a big believer in trying out different genres. In fact, this is how I got into writing science fiction. From reading it, I never thought it would be a genre that I wrote. However, after trying out some different exercises, I found my own voice in the genre. So challenge yourself and try writing a short story or scene in a genre you're not familiar with. It helps broaden your skills and can spark new ideas.

Writing prompts

This is a great option if you're not really sure what you want to write. There are a wide range of writing prompts to try out online. Check out some of the writing prompts on Sophie's Proof.

Alternatively, you can use writing prompt generators or books to find prompts that inspire new stories or scenes. They can be great for overcoming writer's block.

Writing templates

Writing templates are a pre-designed format or structure that writers can use as a starting point for their work. There are a wide range of templates that can help you with a variety of different parts of your writing. For example, templates for character planning, world building and even templates that can help you plan your novel. You can even get templates that help to support your writing journey such as writing schedules and consistency trackers. Templates will vary depending on what kind of writing you're doing. The internet is full of a wide range of templates, and how convenient, I've created some writing templates to help you with your writing journey.

Rewrite a scene

Take a scene from a favourite book or movie and rewrite it in your own style or from a different character's perspective. This is a great way to practice your writing skill, while also learning about other author's writing style while also adapting your own.

Visual Inspiration

A picture is worth 1,000 words right? Find an interesting image online or in a magazine and write a story or scene inspired by it. This can be a great way to let your imagination run wild, while also working on your world building skills.

Dialogue Practice

Writing dialogue takes some practice. There's a balance you need to find as an author to get information out into the open, while also displaying a natural conversation. A good way to work on this skill is by writing a dialogue-only scene between two characters. Try to focus on conveying emotion, subtext and character development through dialogue alone.

Some writing resources to take a look at:

Books on Writing

There are a wide range of books out there that can help you to bring your writing skill to the next level. Most of these books will also include a number of different writing exercises to try out. Some great examples include Stephen King's "On Writing," Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird," and Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style".

Online writing communities

This can be a great way to connect with other authors and do some social networking. Websites like Wattpad, Scribophile and Reddit's writing prompts subreddit offer communities where writers can share their work, receive feedback and participate in challenges.

Writing workshops and courses

Many universities and online platforms offer writing workshops and courses taught by experienced authors. They cover topics ranging from fiction writing to memoirs and poetry.

Grammar and style guides

Invest in a good grammar guide such as "The Chicago Manual of Style" or "The Associated Press Stylebook" to polish your writing.

Literary magazines

Reading is one of the best things you can do to improve your writing skill. In particular, literary magazines can expose you to different writing styles, genres and emerging authors. They will often accept submissions, providing a platform for aspiring writers.

Writing software

Tools like Scrivener, Ulysses, and Grammarly can help organize your writing, improve your grammar, and streamline your editing process.

Podcasts and YouTube channels

And finally, listen to podcasts like "Writing Excuses" or watch YouTube channels like Brandon Sanderson's lectures on creative writing for valuable insights and advice from established authors.

By incorporating these exercises and resources into your routine, you can continue to grow and improve as an author. It's all about being open, trying out new things and taking your time. The worst thing you can do is put pressure on yourself. After all, you started with passion, meaning if you're struggling, you have lost your way, you will find yourself back on track.


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