Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Have some fun with your writing doing useful ‘warm-ups’

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You can have some fun with your writing and stimulate those “creative juices” for the day by doing some useful “warm-ups” to get the words flowing.

One of the most useful writing exercises, and certainly one of the simplest, is to look at a story or news article — look online, check your local newspaper, try your favorite magazine, etc. — and simply ask yourself, “what if …” then fill in the blank.

Here’s an example of something like that. My wife and I get a kick out of watching old “Malcolm in the Middle” reruns. (I think it is one of the zaniest, best-written and best-acted sitcoms in recent decades.) One we saw recently involved a supposedly “super genius” kid in Malcolm’s gifted students class. In the course of the plot, the kid mentions that his memory is so good that he remembers in detail everything about his own birth. Immediately (well, maybe not “immediately”), my brain popped up something like: “What if the kid could have sent out his own birth announcements?”

Okay, so that’s a bizarre “what if.” But you get the idea. And if you write fiction, you know the value of “what if,” even when the “what ifs” come out rather bizarre. It’s meant to be a starting point. For every good, useful “what if” you come up with, you’ll probably have dozens, even hundreds, of useless rejects.

But that’s all part of the creative process to get those juices flowing and words pouring out, isn’t it?

May you have a busy and productive writing day today!

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