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Weak Words

Weak Words

Write a few paragraphs introducing a character who has spent months training for their first bodybuilding competition, without using the words: very, really, actually, good, strong, awesome, big, nice, was, is, are, am, all, think, often.

About this exercise: strengthen your language by finding ways to replace weak words.


Sensory Overload

Sensory Overload

Write a few paragraphs about a boring day at the office, using as much sensory detail (sound, sight, touch, smell, taste) as possible.

About this exercise: make language rich and descriptive by focusing on all five senses.


New Jobs

New Jobs

Come up with new euphemisms to describe each of these professions: teacher, IT technician, carpenter, art gallery host, real estate developer, mechanic, dentist, administrative assistant, film producer, government lobbyist.

About this exercise: utilize language to help your reader see something in a new light.


Secret Language

Secret Language

Create a glossary of 20 terms used in the secret language between two siblings who have been sent away to boarding school.

About this exercise: getting creative with language to keep your readers hooked.


Teach an Old Cliché New Tricks

Teach an Old Cliché New Tricks

Come up with a new phrase to replace each of these 5 clichés:

“Home is where the heart is.”

“Diamond in the rough.”

“Reading between the lines.”

“This too shall pass.”

 “The early bird catches the worm.”

About this exercise: strengthen your language by retiring old clichés from your writing.


Nature Walk

Nature Walk

A character walking in the woods has the building feeling that they are being followed. Come up with 5 ideas for symbols that could be used to reflect their growing unease.

About this exercise: intensifying suspense through use of symbols.


All Alone

All Alone

A busy office tower is placed on lockdown during a state of emergency. Brainstorm ideas and then write a scene in which one character is separated from the rest of their colleagues.

About this exercise: build suspense by isolating a character during a potentially threatening situation.


Loose Ends

Loose Ends

Two characters are driving in a car while a serial killer is hiding in the backseat. Come up with 5 ideas of outside events that could build tension in the scene before the killer is revealed.

About this exercise: build suspense by adding details that tell the reader something is awry.