I run weekday exercises on four of my Online Writing Group blogs (short stories, poetry, novels and scriptwriting blogs, the fifth being non-fiction) and I post a summary of them on this blog (scroll down on the front page and you’ll see the latest ones).

This page is designed is to either get your ideas flowing should you be stuck, use them at your writing group or just for fun! If you’d like something to work from, I also list over 1,000 (three-a-day) sentence starts plus 52 (one-a week) hints & tips in my 365-day Writer’s Block Workbook Vol.1 (available on Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukSmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes Bookstore and Kobo for just $0.99.

Volume 2 (1,000 sets of keywords plus tips) is also available exclusively to Amazon, see 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook (Vol 2) for details.

Below an example of the exercises I set on the writing group blogs. If you do decide to have a go at any of them, do let me know how you get on.

Story Writing Exercises 175: Monday 2nd September

Here are your four story exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

175 teen 192076You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: loser, baby, mend, wet, only
  2. Random: where would I be
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Monday Monologue: Your character is giving up alcohol

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what they say on the tin. You can start the beginning of the story with them or a later sentence but they’re a great way of kicking off.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the story but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • One-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = two characters, an object, a location, a dilemma, a trait. Mix them all together and you have a plot… hopefully.
  • First person piece or monologue (a one-sided conversation).
  • Dialogue only = this is where you literally just write a conversation between two people. No ‘he said’, ‘she said’ or description, just speech and the reader has to be able to keep up. 🙂
  • Second-person = some of you will know that I champion. The prompt can be in any style but has to be written in second-person viewpoint… oh, what a hardship. 🙂
  • Title: This is the title of your story.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!


  • Don’t forget your five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell
  • Show don’t tell: if your character is angry, don’t tell us he is, have him thumping his fist on the table.
  • Colours: Include at least one colour in your story. It does add depth.
  • Use strong verbs and avoid adverbs: Have a character striding instead of walking confidently.
  • Only use repetition to emphasise.
  • When you’ve finished the first draft, read the story out loud. It’s surprising how many ‘mistakes’ leap out at you when you read out loud… assuming you have any of course!

Picture above courtesy of morguefile.com

So, plenty to choose from if you’re ever stuck for a story, and / or you could take a look at my sentence starts page for other sentence beginnings. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Exercises

  1. marta chausée says:

    Thank you, Morgen, for a swell bunch of prompts and ideas. My writing group and I used a few this morning and produced some fresh, crisp stuff. You’re a Godsend!

    Marta Chausée, author
    Resort to Murder, a Maya French mystery


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