Like many of you, I’ve participated in several writing groups. As a result, I’ve critiqued hundreds of stories – some mine and some not. Eventually, I noticed some common area for improvement. One of those areas is a tendency to pick vague words. For instance, using “wood” instead of “oak”. To counter this tendency, I developed a series of writing exercises.
First, take a look at these pictures:
Now, make a mental note of these words:
The challenge is to write a short scene (50 – 100 words). Use one of the pictures for the location of your scene. Include a character that has a strong connection to the location. Do not use any of the words listed above.
If you feel a full story line develop, run with it. Some writers get their best ideas from themes in a writing exercise.
The cleric glanced at the pristine marble image of the Mother. The smokey surface had been smoothed from years of caresses from the naive hands of desperate pilgrims. How could something with such elegant beauty hide so many flaws? Without a backward look, he left, his sandals firm on the cobblestone street.