Writing Exercises

Want to join in? Here’s this week’s Author Aerobics challenge. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you use this writing prompt, post a link to your entry in the comments below, and I’ll update this post with links to yours. Everyone’s welcome!


Make it Fresh Challenge

Most of you likely write to avoid stereotypes and clichés like the plague, but they can be fun to work with too. These become popular often because the tropes work, and a deft hand can make them feel fresh again.

Let’s have a look at the quintessential Don Juan. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and can sweep a woman off her feet with a moment of eye contact. She’s intrigued by the element of mystery, his skill at dancing, his knowledge of fine wine, and his passionate kisses.

Now for a twist. What if Don’s true love died, and he’s dead inside because of it? What if Don rips off wealthy women at the resort, because he’s got 10 kids to feed at home? Or what if it’s Donna instead of Don? What if Donna seduces unsuspecting women while in drag?

I think the key to freshness is recognizing the stereotype then adding an unexpected element into the mix.

The challenge: Take a stereotype, cliché, or topic that’s been done to death, and write a scene (1000 words or less) that infuses a fresh spin on things. The theme: sparkle? hah just kidding! “Thirst”

OK, I’ll admit it, this is really just an excuse to write about vampires.

Further Reading


This week’s stories!

  • Robin Bonnett by Aidan Fritz – Foiling the Sheriff of Nottingham with well aimed lazerbolts and deft hovercar maneuvers.
  • Once and Future by Stephen Watkins – Not Sir Galahad, but Rob the accountant is destined to revive the once and future king Arthur.
  • Thirst by T.S. Bazelli – In the desert there are so few chances for survival.
  • The Maiden’s Resolve by Harry Markov – Every blow cost 100 lives. The princess wept.

13 Comments

Writing Exercises

Want to join in? Here’s this week’s Author Aerobics challenge. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you use this writing prompt, post a link to your entry in the comments below, and I’ll update this post with links to yours. Everyone’s welcome!


Layered Conflict Challenge

Conflict is what moves your story along. There are two main types of conflict: external and internal. External conflict includes the physical obstacles to your protagonist’s goal. It is what is happening around him/her. Internal conflict includes the dilemmas within the head of your protagonist.

I’ve also heard of including interpersonal conflict. Interpersonal conflict overlaps with the external and internal modes. It may, or may not, be important, depending on the type of story you are writing, but I find it’s a simple way to add extra depth any time there are multiple characters in a story.

This week’s challenge: Write a story (1000 words or less) that involves multiple layers of conflict. This week’s theme: “shadows”.

Further Reading:


This week’s stories!

  • Nipping at Mani’s Heels by Aidan Fritz – Lothar will do anything to vanquish the shadows for his daughters. He makes a bargain he may regret.
  • The Shadow Pilgrim by Stephen Watkins – Do you know why night flees the day, and why day flees the night?
  • Quick Draw by T.S. Bazelli – The sun was shining and the air smelled of rain. It was a good day to die.

16 Comments