Archives for Writing exercises

#FlashPIC 17 Stairs to Who Knows Where #writingprompt #amwriting

A spiral sweeping upwards to the sky, a slope to stride up and run down, flushed by the heat of the sun and blinded by reflections. As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series, here is a FlashPIC photo to beat writers’ block – it could be used for a historical, timeslip or science fiction short story. Imagine… You are walking up the walkway at the Reichstag in Berlin, a guidebook is in your right hand, your right hand is pressed to the earphone in your ear as you listen to the audio guide; You imagine the craftsmen who built the original building, and the men who built the modern extension. The building was finished in 1894 after 10 years of construction. In 1994, architect Sir Norman Foster re-designed the damaged building and added the glass dome. As you stand and look at the view across Berlin, a Tall Man brushes past you, hurrying upstairs. Beneath his arm he carries large rolls of parchment. He is in a rush, his brow is sweaty. Outside, the Tiergarten is full of summer visitors. Overhead, you hear the drone of an airplane. It is a loud, guttural noise, unlike a modern airliner. The engine stutters,
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 16 St James Park, polite notice #writingprompt #amwriting

When you live in a place, you cease to see things. We all become victims of subjective vision. Try looking around you, at your everyday scene, as if you were a stranger. Take an ordinary object and start writing. Here’s a FlashPIC writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series. This is a sign from London’s St James Park, discouraging cyclists from leaving their bicycles. Try this scenario:- You are a student on holiday in London, this is your first visit; Choose a nationality, and decide how much English you can a) speak and b) read; You have your own bike and need to leave it unattended in the park, outside a park building for some reason [you decide what]; Do you ask for help? Ignore the sign? Walk away? Perhaps a passer-by stops to help? And what happens as a result of your actions? Are you arrested? Is your bike stolen? Write 500 words based on this photograph. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Beach Plastic bag Anonymous People What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel,
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 15 Beach #writingprompt #amwriting

This photograph was taken in India but this beach could be anywhere. This FlashPIC writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series challenges the concept that things are not always as they seem. Empty your mind of preconceptions about beautiful beaches, your local beach, the beach you played on as a child. Without over-thinking, consider this beach to be a good place and write down 10-12 words. Now repeat the exercise, but look at the beach as bad. In what way it is bad is totally up to you: a bad memory, an accident, toxic water, an aggressive confrontation. Now write a short story using both views of the same beach. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Nothing of Value Left Overnight Red sign ‘Pedestrians’ Go! Anonymous People What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 14 Plastic Bag #writingprompt #amwriting

Here’s an everyday scene from any city. Use this FlashPIC writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series to kickstart a flash fiction story. Study this photograph. Describe the colour tones, the textures, the movement and the feeling of the breeze which is blowing the bag. Now use this situation either by putting yourself into the action, or by creating a storyline based on the photograph. Are you running after the bag, did it slip from your grasp and you must catch it, no matter what? What would it mean to you to lose the bag? Who are the people, the two dark shadows on left and right? While your eye is caught by the bag, are they closing in on you? Is their intention helpful, sinister, threatening? © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Feet Looking Over the Parapet Cranes on the Skyline What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 13 Train Window #writingprompt #amwriting

This is the view from a fast-moving train. Here is a FlashPIC writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters  series to inspire you today. Study this photograph. How does it make you feel? The blurring gives a strong sense of motion. Close your eyes and concentrate on how you feel, are your senses heightened, or does dizziness dominate? Describe how you feel in one paragraph. From that paragraph, pull out three key words, and write 1-2 sentences about each. Using the sensations you experienced, give them to a character caught on the edge of speed – standing on a motorway bridge, balancing on rocks beside a fast-flowing river, waiting at the kerb to cross the road as racing cyclists fly by. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Coffee Shop Death Valley Looking Over the Parapet What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 12 Moon Rocks #writingprompt #amwriting

As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbuster series, here is a picture to kickstart a flash fiction short story. Study this photograph. What does it look like: rocks on the moon? A work of art? A space in a community garden? Look a little closer… at the texture, the colours, the shapes. Is it daytime, or night? Is there sign of life… is that a cigarette butt I see? Describe the setting in 1-2 paragraphs. Next, put into it a character you have already created, someone you are familiar with, and see what happens. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Red sign ‘Pedestrians’ Go! Anonymous People Arrivals Board What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they
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Categories: Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 11 Red sign ‘Pedestrians’ Go! #writingprompt #amwriting

Red means warning. Use this writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbuster series to inspire you today, or to kickstart a flash fiction short story. Use one of these phrases in your first paragraph, using the photo for inspiration. Red light means Stop. Green light means Go. “I’m confused.” He knew it wasn’t the right sign, but there wasn’t another sign to use. So he did what he was told. “Not there, you wally. If you put the sign there, the people are all gonna walk over the ….” “Some joker’s left it there, haven’t they. That arrow points at the wall. That can’t be right… can it?’ John could see a red blur about a metre ahead and, erring on the side of caution, as always, he tapped the red thing with his cane. It sounded metallic. Not for the first time, he missed Petra. She felt her front wheel fall into nothingness, the pavement disappeared, and as her bike fell forwards, the red sign fell into the hole on top of her head. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Anonymous People Arrivals Board Belisha Beacon What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 10 Looking Over the Parapet #writingprompt #amwriting

Are you looking down, or is it your character? Why are you there? What do you plan to do next? What do you actually do next? Use this writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series to help you develop a character for your Work-in-Progress.   Examine the photo, and then use one of these phrases as the starting point for an exercise:- Down, down, so far down, she leant further forward, the edge of the stone parapet cutting into the spare flesh at her waist. We could put a glass roof over it, that would keep the rain out and let the sunshine in… but will Alexi say yes? I should never have come, he’ll see me. That’s his desk there, the second window from the right, if he looks out of the window he can’t miss me here. It felt like flying, it wasn’t quick at all, she expected it to be over in the minutest part of a second, but she was still here, floating, like a bubble blown from a child’s bubble wand. He crouched behind a wall, listening for the sound of marching boots. He was breathing so hard from running, he had to hold his
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 9 Nothing of Value Left Overnight #writingprompt #amwriting

Today’s writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbuster series is a sign in a shed, though it could easily be a sign in a van or truck, on an office door or the front window of a house. Imagine a situation featuring this sign and  use one of these prompts:- A shed, bought off eBay. What happens when you take it apart to transport it home? Jessica and Charlie took it in turns to smoke the cigarette, puff after puff, trying not to swallow the smoke so it wouldn’t be seen. This was their secret place, it was derelict, their den. ‘Nothing of value’? Isn’t the notion of value a relative thing: one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure. Boot sales exist on that very notion. Home for mice, or rats… or a homeless man. Why is he there, where has he come from? Where does he eat and wash and… This is a joke sign my husband fixed to the window of his allotment shed. All there is of any value in there is beer. Cans and cans of it. Home-made. Tastes disgusting. Marnie painted the outside of the shed all over in Translucence, supposed to be a gentle white,
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 8 Death Valley #writingprompt #amwriting

You are alone. No one knows where you are. You do not know which direction is north or south, east or west. You are in Death Valley, USA. As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbuster series, here is a writing prompt to kick start a flash fiction story. Use the photo as the starting point for a short story, or use some of the following phrases in a writing exercise:- Emptiness Vacuum Solitary Mist Desert Wasteland Rough Grey Forlorn Planet Valley Water Scorching © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Nothing of value left overnight Cable We are watching you What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

The ‘Allergic to E’ Challenge

I’m not allergic to anything, except penicillin, and when I was a child I was allergic to wasp stings. So thanks – perhaps, not sure what I’m getting myself into here – to Lizzie at My Little Book Blog for nominating me for the ‘Allergic to E Challenge’. When I saw the incoming tweet I was a little perplexed, but once I read Lizzie’s post I realized what a clever little challenge this is.  The idea is to construct and write a paragraph that is between four and six sentences without using the letter E once. Here is my attempt:- Darya thought of Sasha, as boy and girl, at school, as companions in January snow and August rain, and thought of his ultimatum: to splash big, splash grand, splash wild, to splash again and again. Today, Darya is 80 not 8, but Sasha is not. Still, a thrill of holding hands with him, jumping from pond to pond, is as strong as now painful arthritic joints.  This paragraph is based on a writing exercise about Darya, a Russian character in Connectedness, the follow-up novel to Ignoring Gravity. Darya has early dementia, and surrenders to her childhood memories of playing with her neighbour,
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Categories: On Writing and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… secret

We all have secrets, don’t we? Secrets lie at the core of most fiction. So if you are having difficulty putting pen to paper today, try this writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters. What’s the biggest secret you didn’t keep? Now write one word answers to the following prompts:- What Why When How Where Who Write one paragraph about each response. From those six paragraphs, choose one sentence and use that as the beginning of a flash fiction piece of 250 words. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Wordstorm: Run Two Empty Glasses Coffee Shop  What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because each exercise is based
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 3 Belisha Beacon #writingprompt #amwriting

As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbuster series, here is a writing prompt to kick start a flash fiction story. You can simply use the photo to energise your writing, or use some of the following phrases:- Orange Warning Road Traffic Impact Flashing Black and White Beacon Zebra Bang Crash Skid © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPIC writing prompts:- Death Valley Moon rocks Plastic bag What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because each exercise is based on a subject unrelated to whatever you are struggling with. I am not looking over your shoulder.   Ebooks coming in 2019 at Amazon… Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FirstParas Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… run

Run… competition, striding, marathon, running, dribbling, flee, organise… Try this WORDstorm writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you put the first word on the page today. Look at the three words below and, without thinking, write the next words that come into your mind. Write until you can think of no more words, you may have 10 words or 50. Allow the words to come into your mind without prompting, they will seem unrelated to each other. Now use these words as inspiration to move you onwards. You should find that your mind has taken you way beyond the subject of ‘run’ and that you write about a completely different subject. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Oak Bookshelf Deckchairs What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… lament

Lament… sorrow, memory, regret, heavy, loss, betrayal… or joy? Try this WORDstorm writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you put the first word on the page today. Look at the three words below and, without thinking, write the next words that come into your mind. Write until you can think of no more words, you may have 10 words or 50. Allow the words to come into your mind without prompting, they will seem unrelated to each other. Now use these words as inspiration to move you onwards. You should find that your mind has taken you way beyond the subject of ‘lament’ and that you write about a completely different subject. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Music Bronze Push Button at Pedestrian Crossing What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… oak

Oak… nature, strength, longevity, acorns, leaves, ships, carpentry, solidity… Try this WORDstorm writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you put the first word on the page today. Look at the three words below and, without thinking, write the next words that come into your mind. Write until you can think of no more words, you may have 10 words or 50. Allow the words to come into your mind without prompting, they will seem unrelated to each other. Now use these words as inspiration to move you onwards. You should find that your mind has taken you way beyond the subject of ‘oak’ and that you write about a completely different subject. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Evidence Anonymous People Grassy What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… berries

Here’s a #FirstPara and photo writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you to start writing today. Study the photograph, then use the sentence below as the beginning of a new short story. “Were the berries edible, she wondered….”  © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Wardrobe The Meaning of Purple Between the Train Seats What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because each exercise is based on a subject unrelated to whatever you are struggling with. I am not looking over your shoulder. Ebooks coming in 2019 at Amazon… Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FirstParas Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FlashPics Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 WordStorms Can’t wait? Feeling uninspired
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… grassy

Grass… green, mown, scent, brown, long, short… Try this WORDstorm writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you put the first word on the page today. Look at the three words below and, without thinking, write the next words that come into your mind. Write until you can think of no more words, you may have 10 words or 50. Allow the words to come into your mind without prompting, they will seem unrelated to each other. Now use these words as inspiration to move you onwards. You should find that your mind has taken you way beyond the subject of ‘grassy’ and that you write about a completely different subject. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Green Apples Plastic Bag Dirt What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… dirt

Try this WORDstorm writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you put the first word on the page today. Look at the three words below and, without thinking, write the next words that come into your mind. Write until you can think of no more words, you may have 10 words or 50. Allow the words to come into your mind without prompting, they will seem unrelated to each other. Now use these words as inspiration to move you onwards. You should find that your mind has taken you way beyond the subject of ‘dirt’ and that you write about a completely different subject. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- The Queen Bronze Nothing of Value Left Overnight What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#WritingPrompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… bronze

Try this WORDstorm writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you put the first word on the page today. Look at the three words below and, without thinking, write the next words that come into your mind. Write until you can think of no more words, you may have 10 words or 50. Allow the words to come into your mind without prompting, they will seem unrelated to each other. Now use these words as inspiration to move you onwards. You should find that your mind has taken you way beyond the subject of ‘bronze’ and that you write about a completely different subject. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Water The Meaning of Purple Feet Beneath the Table What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible.
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.