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writing-exercise-rebecca-devereauxI had the opportunity to sit and read at the local bookstore the other day. I love to read and write so when I came across the reference section devoted to “How to write” I stopped looked and read! I pulled out several books and made my way to the small corner with a table and chairs overlooking the outdoors mall and read!

I started reading the book “Fiction Writer’s Workshop” by Josip Novakovich. Normally I can tell if I will like the book within the first couple of pages. Most writers cannot hold my attention but this book sparked some interest. “To be a good writer, you must have the paradoxical trait of being a gregarious loner.” As I read this, I chuckled out loudly. My husband sitting across from me asked what I had read. I told him. He said, “so true!” My thoughts are to be a good writer one must have the ability to communicate thoughts through the eyes of others.

In the book, the author discussed each element of a good story and then suggests certain activities to do to help you explore and creatively describe each element. For example, Chapter 1: Sources of Fiction, discusses that it is best to have experienced what you are writing about or have the ability to empathize with the person who had experienced it. One of the author’s exercises: Go to a bar or restaurant, observe a person sitting alone, then write three paragraphs about this person’s actions or interactions. Do the same with others: bartender, a couple, or a group of people. Note conversations, expressions or feelings that they are experiencing.

This exercise was easy and fun for me. Ed, my husband and I like to “people watch.” One of the games we play is to sit and watch people and try to figure out their occupation. It can turn into a great conversation with many different conclusions.

Here is part of one of the exercises that I did from Chapter 3: Character. The exercise was to look in the mirror. Write one page describing what you see: freckles, scars, frown lines, or gray hair. How did you get them? This exercise was difficult for me because most of the time I do not like to admit things about myself but here it goes (only a paragraph and do not judge!)….

The sun has taken its toll on the fair skinned lady from Indiana. It is riddled with freckles on her cheeks. The once bleach-blonde hair is speckled with grey, also showing its age. She has always been a happy soul bubbling with smiles. Still joyful smiles don’t show everything she has seen and experienced. She has seen many things through those blue eyes, but nothing so wonderful as her life now.

It is not perfect but I would not have thought to write it before I read the book. Just food for thought!

Each chapter has so many things that sparked my creative. The layout of the book is insightful and the each activity builds on the ones before it. If you are interested in a book that helps you think about writing in a new way that has clear description of their ideas, then I suggest you read it. I know that I enjoyed it. Please leave a message and let me know if you enjoyed it also. Here is a link to the book on Amazon, if you have not seen it. Fiction Writer's Workshop


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