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If you are a teacher, and you want to order an examination copy of The 3 A. M. Epiphany, click here. And here's a site in Britain to order the book. I'm always. She stares at me, curious. Her fine, mousy-brown hair a frizzy halo about her round face. Some of those spots are freckles, others are red and. Epiphany offers more than intriguing writing exercises designed to help you think, write, and revise like never before - without having to wait for creative inspiration. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley Paperback.
Beginning writers tend to control their characters too much, so in this exercise you should work hard to let the characters surprise themselves as well as you. You might also consider other ways of indicating instability - voices in italics , commands, or out-of-body perpectives. You might consider keeping several characters permanently stuck in different rooms in a house, communicating by shouts, cell phones, intercoms, Dixie cups, or telepathy. For a moment I understand how the evil Queen felt. Using language that is simple and straightforward, describe intensely and exhaustively a moment of true feeling between two characters. Usually, an unreliable narration is spoken in first person, so what happens when you give us a slightly detached, yet still unreliable narration?
All three people—the listener in the room, the caller, and the person on the other end of the line—are involved with each other in some way not necessarily romantically.
Let us hear the other end of the conversation, without actually hearing it. The listener in the room can guess what the person on the other end of the line is saying, but try to keep this guessing to a minimum, and make sure this guesswork is done with integrity—well after the unheard speaker has spoken.
Underground History. Reread your own older fiction—one story or as many as you want to. Find the ten most common words from this fiction excluding small and uninteresting words. Use these words as hidden titles for ten paragraphs of prose. By hidden, I mean that you should operate as in the above exercise, but after several rough drafts, eliminate the titles.
Choosing these ten words is obviously going to be somewhat subjective, unless you have a program that allows you to do some of the work for you for instance, you could pick a word that seems to occur commonly, then do a MS Word global search—the find icon under edit.
This exercise may help you uncover the trends and unexpected subject matter of your fiction. Write a story backwards. Murder mysteries are told backwards, in a sense. What then? Make sure this does not become simply a device. The structure should be inherently useful to the material, which is good advice for any fiction. Jointly Held Story. Speak the beginning of a story with someone else. Choose a good storyteller. One person starts the story and continues for a few sentences.
The next person continues for another few sentences, and so on for a while. End when you feel things getting exciting. Let it sit in your memories for a day or so. Be faithful to the growing story and the characters created on the spur of the moment. The two stories that result from this exercise ought to be quite different from one another. The different etymologies of these two words are instructive.
Home originally referred to village or hometown. House has in its earlier meanings the notion of hiding, of enclosing oneself. Now house indicates any house, and home is the place that is central to our notions of ourselves. Use a home in a story fragment words.
Think about the power of rooms kitchens, basements, unfinished attics, walk-in closets on psychology and conversation. In this fragment, make the house a unique participant though a passive one in the unfolding events. The room need not be in a typical house.
Think about all the other rooms we become familiar with—classrooms, office cubicles, public toilets. What are their personalities? How do the more public spaces we inhabit affect our behaviors? You might consider keeping several characters permanently stuck in different rooms in a house, communicating by shouts, cell phones, intercoms, Dixie cups, or telepathy. In the Belly of the Beast.
Describe an unusual interior space, one with lots of interesting appurtenances and gadgets sticking out: Again, do not yield to the easy use of this scene. The boiler room, for instance, we all expect to hide a creepy axe murderer-type.
Put two innocent children in it instead, romping and playing among the glow and roar of the fire and steam vents as if this were a sunny playground their father is the superintendent of the building, and he prefers to keep the kids where he can see them. Construct a character who is not present. You have many options here: How do we know of people?
Examine the ways we build characters in our minds and in our social environments before and after we meet them. Ways of Seeing. Imagine a person with an idiosyncratic way of seeing the world for instance, an occasional drug dealer, who, because of his amateur status, is more than usually prone to seeing danger where there is none; an entomologist who tends to categorize the world dryly, as if seen through a microscope; a world-class athlete whose clarity of vision is almost hallucinogenic.
Have this character witness a traumatic event that does not directly involve him or her. Narrate the event from a first-person point of view, making sure that the perspective is carefully built around the idiosyncrasies of this personality. Also, as a hidden aspect of this character, imagine him or her as some kind of unusual animal. Create a character around this sentence: Nobody has ever loved me as much I have loved them.
Do not use this sentence in the fragment of fiction you write. Resist the temptation this exercise offers for a completely self-indulgent character. Of course, some self-indulgence will be fun with this character.
Write about a person you love. This apparently simple instruction may be more difficult than you think. What makes us love people? How do we avoid being sentimental when describing the attributes that make someone loveable?
You will immediately be faced with the decision of writing about someone you love or loved romantically or as a friend.
Your greatest challenge will be to make your reader love this person, too. Put two characters in a situation that demands improvisation, on both parts, which also demands that the two characters interact and compromise with each other in the improvisation.
We should be able to observe the surprise, pleasure, and frustration that result from this improvisation. Remember that most of life involves one form of improvisation or another.
Beginning writers tend to control their characters too much, so in this exercise you should work hard to let the characters surprise themselves as well as you. True Feeling. Using language that is simple and straightforward, describe intensely and exhaustively a moment of true feeling between two characters.
In a word scene, have one character teach another character something that changes the teacher. But this exercise asks you to go another step beyond the first layer of reality. It should teach you how to play with more than one level in your fiction. The teacher learning something from her student is surprising, though not so unusual as you may think.
Imagine how much more interesting the film might have been had Jack learned something from what he taught Rose, rather than simply dying handsomely. The Bunny Planet. The basic problem she sets for each book is that a child in the form of a young bunny has a bad day in prose. What I want you to do in this exercise is only very tangentially linked to this trilogy. Use this hinge device that Wells employs so deftly.
For the first part of your word piece, tinge the world in darker hues, show us a narrative style that reflects frustration, sadness, alienation, whatever. The Argument. Two people are arguing—a man and a woman. Each is convinced he or she is right. You, as the writer, do not know—and do not want to know—who is right, but you will have exquisite sympathy for both points of view, both sides of the argument.
How do men and women argue differently? Couples tend to disagree over relatively minor issues, which often stand for larger issues. Give us enough background and history, but try to stay in the moment as much as possible. Nothing changes. Nothing ever will. I reach out, our fingers separated by nothing more than a thin sliver of glass. She nods, knowing exactly what I mean.
Who have I ever disowned for failing to be pretty? No-one, of course. What a stupid question. Posted by Beaulah at Email This BlogThis! Beaulah , Challenge 4. It occurred to me that this exercise can be combined with the literary technique of apostrophe, in which the author talks directly to non-human objects or abstract concepts, in this case speaking directly to social anxiety. The technique is rarely used anymore and lends itself better to poetry and prose than to fiction.
Still, I thought it was an interesting way to approach the exercise. I might attempt this exercise again to create a story with a plot, setting and characters. Posted by Anonymous at Challenge 2. Wednesday, October 10, Challenge 4. You might also consider other ways of indicating instability - voices in italics , commands, or out-of-body perpectives. Perhaps a situation where a person is under such stress they cannot think straight?
Good luck participants. Posted by Beaulah at 9: Challenge 4 , Challenge Rules. Wednesday, September 26, Challenge 3. Unreliable Third Write a fragment of a story from the POV of an unreliable narrator - third-person limited or attached narration. Usually, an unreliable narration is spoken in first person, so what happens when you give us a slightly detached, yet still unreliable narration?
You have to both believe the lie and show it to be a lie. Good luck. Posted by Beaulah at 2: Challenge 3 , Challenge Rules. Tuesday, September 25, Challenge 2: I have posted my response to challenge two over here: Posted by Beaulah at 5: Beaulah , Challenge 2. Wednesday, September 12, Challenge 2 - Restart.