Coffee-break exercise: Creative solutions

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This week's creative writing exercise is all about carrying out a repair job on a piece of writing that isn't working

 

This week's creative writing exercise is all about carrying out a repair job on a piece of writing that isn't working

Most of us have got a writing project that we've had to shelve because we can't make it work. It might be a poem, a short story, or a longer piece of writing – but whatever kind of writing it is, it bothers us because for some reason the words we've put on the page don't match our expectations of what we hoped to create.

For this exercise, it's important that the piece of work is not physically in front of you. Let's imagine it's in another room. If you've got the file open, close it.

Now, for five minutes, make notes on how you would like this piece of writing to turn out and the effect you want it to have on a reader.

For another five minutes, write down what isn't working – and any ideas you have about why that might be.

For the last five minutes, create a five-point plan for how you could tackle the problems you've located to create the piece of writing you envisage.

This 15-minute exercise isn't about rewriting the piece, but thinking clearly about what you wanted to write and identifying the reasons it's not working. Now you've done that, you might like to go back to the document and, with your re-drafting head on, see if you can resolve the problem. Good luck!

 

Does one of your creative problems relate to dialogue? We've put together all the advice you need on how to write dialogue in a story.