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Creative Writing Exercises for Craft

Work on Craft and Technique

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No matter what stage you're at with your writing, it's always beneficial to work on craft and technique. These creative writing exercises target common problems and weaknesses.

Switch Point of View

Both first person and third person have their strengths and weaknesses; what works for one story may not work for another. This creative writing exercise will help you observe the effect of writing in the point of view that's less familiar to you.

A Day Without Modifiers

While modifiers -- adjectives and adverbs -- can add to a story, too many, or the wrong ones, can bog down your prose and lead to weaker nouns and verbs. This writing exercise, by forcing you to hold off on modifiers altogether, will challenge you to choose your nouns and verbs with care.

Avoid Back Story

Unlike the other creative writing exercises on this list, this one asks you to work in another genre. Think like a screenwriter to create forward-moving fiction, conceiving a scene visually and strictly adhering to the present moment.

Create Your Own Metaphors

Spend time thinking about figurative language with this exercise, which helps add metaphors and similes to your writing toolbox.

The Drama in Everyday Life: A Creative Writing Exercise

Author Alix Ohlin uses this creative writing exercise, set in a mattress store, to help her students find the drama in everyday life.

Listening for Dialogue

Not everyone starts out with an ear for dialogue, but fortunately it can be developed, like any other skill. This exercise gets you out to listen to how people really talk.

Description Creative Writing Exercise

Who's the most memorable person you've ever met? Think you can do them justice on the page? Work on your powers of description with this writing prompt.

Exercises from the Monthly Writing Challenge

Each month from September to May, the fiction writing site at About.com supplies a monthly writing challenge and posts reader responses. It's a good source of new writing prompts and exercises, and the responses provide examples of how the exercise might be approached. (If you attempt the current challenge, be sure to submit a response of your own.)

Find creative writing exercises for new story ideas or creative writing prompts here.

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