November 16, 2007

cause & effect - plot exercise

I admit it, I'm swamped and as a result, I totally stink about keeping the Creativity exercises coming. I hope everyone can forgive me. The book is due mid-December and I promise, after that, I'll be a good little blogger.

Today, though, I do have a writing exercise for you. One to help with plot.


Tear a sheet of paper into 12 even slips. On four of those slips, write the name of your character and an action they are taking such as:

Elizabeth tore up the envelope.
Elizabeth dumped her purse onto the bed.
Elizabeth answered the phone.
Elizabeth shot her sister.

They can be small actions. They can be grand actions. You can do four slips for the same character or you can mix it up and choose four different characters from the same piece.


Now, create your "EFFECT" slips. Take your remaining 8 slips of paper and write on them general things that happened. Don't include a character name. This is a general statement of something that happened such as:

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, flooding her childhood home.
The Bible was lost in the move.
The dinner was a disaster.
Her neighbor knocked on the door asking for milk.
Everything fell apart.
The toilet overflowed.
They reunited.
The camera stopped taking pictures.

Very, very general statements such as these. You can even flip through random books to pull sentences so you're not thinking too much.

Put your Cause slips in a bowl and your Effect slips in a bowl. Pick one from each.

Write for ten minutes and explain how your Characters Action in the Cause slip resulted in What Happened from your Effect slip.

Do this four times. Give yourself 10 minutes for each Cause/Effect. See what you learn.

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