"Have Fun with Words" by Joan Y. Edwards
After listening to John Claude Bemis at a Carolina's SCBWI conference in September 2011, I ordered a book that has exercises similar to the ones he mentioned. It is called Writing Open the Mind by Andy Couturier http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Open-Mind-Tapping-Subconscious/dp/B004JZWVOU/
In this book, Couturier has exercises to experiment with your writing by using different words, settings, plots, and other writing topics. It was fun for me to use words from unusual, random places. It gave me many new words and ideas for my project for National Novel Writing Month. Perhaps it’ll help you with your writing, too.
Keep a section in your writing notebook for the words that intrigue you. Put them on note cards or sticky notes. Here are ten words I chose because of their sound, emotion, or meaning:
- ten of your favorite settings, places you’d like to be;
- ten settings where you’d most hate being.
- ten names you like; ten names you hate.
- ten towns you like. ten towns you’d hate to be from (perhaps your antagonist can be from there)
- ten tragic things that could happen to the main character in your work in progress; ten ways your character can make them worse.
- ten jobs you’d love to have; ten jobs you’d hate to have
- ten most proud things that could happen to you or to your main character; ten most embarrassing things that could happen to you or to your main character
- ten of your favorite foods; ten of your most hated foods
- ten of your favorite sayings; ten of your most hated sayings
Choose words from newspapers, magazines, books, signs, websites, dictionaries, maps, television, movies, etc. Use words your family and friends say. Write down words that pop out at you or magnetize you. I even used a crossword puzzle book and wrote down all the words that called out to me.
I chose ten words and put them at the bottom of the manuscript I was working on at the time. I did free writing or writing that came to mind that was in tune with the story. When I used the word, I deleted it from the list. You can also put your list of words next to the computer and cross them off when you use them. Choose a way that suits you.
Set a timer and write 3 minutes using one of the words. Spend the next three minutes disagreeing with everything you wrote the first three minutes. That’ll add tension to your story. You can save this as a draft. Use what you like and save the unused part for another time and/or another story.
Have fun using words you like in your writing. Thanks for reading this blog. Please leave one or more of your favorite words in the comment area.
Good luck with your writing.
Celebrate each word.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards