So this is not a post about dialogue even though it’s way overdue. This post is about my writing exercises. I’ve been kind of worried that their quality has plummeted over the last few weeks. It would be understandable: I’ve got a summer job which takes up tons of my time and I also have tons of other responsibilities that seem ridiculously pressing. However, this blog is my responsibility too and I need to take more time out for the blog. That’s why this week I want to try to give you guys a kick @$$ writing exercise. So let’s get started!

So remember those writing exercises I had you guys do eons ago? To be more specific: Writing exercise 1 and writing exercise 2? The idea generating exercises. So you need to get those things out and brush off the dust, get a face mask if you have allergies. It’s not that I don’t believe that you haven’t done the exercises just that you might not have looked at them after.

Don’t worry, I’m not upset. I actually expected it. I have a problem where I separate writing exercises from  my real writing. I don’t know if I’m the only one who suffers from this or if everyone else just gets over it more quickly. The point is that maybe, just maybe, bringing the two together could help us. Or just me. I’m just saying

Now I hate the idea of a traditional outline. Mention the word and I get a flashback to secondary school and learning about writing essays. These weren’t even the good essays where I had to get four pages of words. They were the short, flat essays that make me think of dust and spiders and too much of the same sort of history. But that’s beyond the point. The point is that I tried to shake it up with these exercises. To me, they were easier to read, follow and complete. So I want to keep using them.

Those ideas you created are different points on this new kind of outline but they’re jumbled. They’re a mess. For some of you there may be some sort of sequence to them, somewhere in there, but not all the way through. They’re what I’m going to call candy bar scenes. I came across the term many years ago and I think it’s perfectly suitable. A candy bar scene is one which brings you joy, you probably look forward to this point most. That’s why you need to dangle them in front of your nose so that you can write all the dull stuff leading up to that one exciting point. Writing that scene is your reward. Then you repeat the process.

There’s also the problem of the jumble. Your ideas, I mean. You know the ones you came up with when you did the writing exercises? So yeah, this paragraph should have come before the previous one. It would have been understandable sequencing. Then the subjects at the beginning of this paragraph sounded like a ramble. They’re repetitions and a little unnecessary. You know what ideas I’m talking about, I just spent the last couple paragraphs talking about them. The point of this? Another writing exercise.

Writing Exercise 9:

So get all those bits of paper or those word documents and see what you produced when you did writing exercises 1 and 2. Now this is what you need to do:

1. If you prefer using the computer you can easily cut and paste your ideas to manipulate them. If not you’ll need to get some of those huge cue cars and rewrite each idea and the write-up for it on that card. Work hard to make it fit. Use both sides if you absolutely have to.

2. Next you need to move them into order. If you’re using the cue cards you can spread them on a table top or use the floor, which I think sounds like more fun. Then you get to slide them into order. If you’re using the computer you can cut and paste the ideas into sequence but that doesn’t sound like much fun.

3. Now read through the ideas. Ask yourself what led up to Point A? Is that believable? Do you really think so? So what lead from Point A to Point B? Is that really believable?  No, really think about it. Summarise what leads up to that next point and really be critical. Is that really where it goes next? Does it raise any red flags? If you read that anywhere else, what would your reaction be?

What this exercise is doing is putting your ideas into sequence and then making you question if that’s where it’s supposed to be. And as much as you love that idea, does it really make any sense? Is it believable? Or will readers raise their eyebrows and go “Say what?”

Now honestly, you don’t have to concentrate on making every aspect of your story seem believable the first time around. Fan fiction is popular because the writers can do just about anything they want. They can fulfil their hearts’ desires. So why shouldn’t you do the same? Just remember, eventually you’re going to have to go back over it all and see how you can make everything believable. Even if you’re trying to explain a half demon with dog ears.

On a completely different topic, I know some of you might have noticed the lack of images in my posts recently. With the redesign of the blog, I felt that many pictures just looked garish and out of place when I inserted them in the posts. I have toyed with the idea of making the blog prettier but it’s been decided that an elaborate blog design would take away from the content. So until I find an appropriate middle ground. You’re all stuck with this. Please bare with me and my flood of words. Hopefully, the content was a lot better today and hopefully you enjoyed it.

Happy writing!

K, the Popinjay.