For those who are unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month is an annual online challenge for aspiring writers to complete a first draft of a short novel (50,000 words) during the month of November. The goal is to get people writing, foster creative thinking, output, as well as jumpstarting possible careers through the completion of rough first drafts writers can later revisit and expand on. If you’re already a writer and a yearly participator, then you’re probably well on your way towards your goal, and if you’re not, that’s okay too. Whether you’re reaching the pivotal moment where your character learns their true power or still struggling with that first twist, or hey even a name for your lead, we have a list of practice writing exercises and prompts to get your gears going for the day!
As you sit down to write for the day, choose one prompt or exercise and using it as your base, write for 15-30 minutes as a warm-up. You can use your current characters to help build their personalities for your main NaNo text, or jump in and create something new. You might be surprised by what you can make.
- Have a character be caught doing an activity or saying something atypical to their established personality and or interests. Have them then justify why they are doing what they are doing or why they said it.
- She walked into the room, closing her emerald colored umbrella.
- Pythons had nothing on this.
- These trees, naturally, were very good at killing people.
- “Put that down, it could rip your arm off.”
- The truth hung heavy on her wrist.
- By the time it cooled, we were ready.
- Have character reveal a secret to another character or to the reader.
- Parlez-vous français? Does your character speak another language? Have them have to use it.
- “Just carrying that in made you annoyed?”
- The face that broke her was one seldom seen.
- He chewed through the marshmallow, furious.
- They were there after all.
- “It’s not safe here,” she said, “meet me by the café at 11. Listen for the whistle.”
- Playing croquet was supposed to be boring, but the appearance of a lone ringed finger on the court made everything hysterical.
- He thought he was alone, until he heard an owl screech by the train car window.
- Eris Interrupting a Party: Have an obstacle, object or persion that everyone in one room wants for themselves or must overcome appear or occur in a room of your characters. How does each person try to get what they want?
- Luck was not a factor here.
- If it wasn’t for the jeweled dagger stuck through my hand, I would have laughed too.
- Make your character fiddle with an object while they think/speak.