creative writing exercises

Writing tips and writing techniques

4 Tips to Improve Your Writing Instantly

If the “Pro Tips & Techniques” theme of the September 2016 Writer’s Digest sounds a little vague, I’ll fess up: That’s by design. Our most reliable contributors have a way of occasionally pitching outstanding articles that just don’t happen to fit with any of our issue themes. And as I was reviewing a batch...

Writer’s Block

With a book deadline fast approaching and an empty document tormenting you on your laptop, you realize you need a change of scenery to get your work done. You go to the airport and take the next flight out. Your travels take you to the gorgeous country of Ireland. But now you need a...

Love Boat

After a long, hard breakup, you decide to treat yourself and go on a two-week cruise. You get onto the boat, put your bags in your room, and take a stroll around the deck. As you look around you, everyone seems to be in couples and everywhere you look, lovebirds are spending time together....

Surprise on the Doorstep

The doorbell rings. You check the alarm clock and notice it’s way too early for someone to be visiting. You crawl out of the warm bed and scuffle across the house to the front door. You crack it open and no one is there. Upon opening the door, you notice an unmarked package on...

Home Sweet Home

After months of living in a bug-infested apartment, you decide it’s finally time to get a new place. While you’re shopping for a new place to live, you drive past a beautiful Victorian house with a large lawn. A sign in the front says “FOR SALE,” so you decide to call the realtor out...

The Beautiful Voice

You've received a bill in the mail and it's incorrect. There's a phone number to call so you give it a ring. The person who answers has a beautiful voice. After several minutes the issue is resolved, but you can't help wondering who this person is with such a beautiful voice so you take...

Crime Log

Opening up the daily paper, you decide to catch up on the local news. When you check the crime log, you notice a familiar name: yours. The log says you’re wanted for a crime you didn’t commit. Suddenly, you hear three loud knocks on the door, followed by a man yelling, “Police! Open up!”...

Technovision

We all stare at our phones, laptops and televisions more than we probably should. But what happens when the screens have made us go blind? Describe a morning where you’ve lost your sight and are forced to find your way to work without your eyesight. Don’t forget: everyone else is blind, too!

Telling Your Life Story

On the long flight to a foreign country, you wind up telling your seatmate much of your life story. Only it isn’t yours. You’ve always wanted to pretend to be somebody else, just for an hour or two, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Only now you find yourself falling for your seatmate,...

Post-apocalyptic Wasteland

It’s 50 years in the future, and the world is at war. Luckily, when the nuclear bombs dropped, you had a bomb shelter under your house to hide out in. When your monitors tell you it’s safe to go outside a year later, what do you find? Who is still alive? Have the plants...

Cat Got Your Tongue?

You wake up for work one day, brush your teeth, pack your computer bag and head out the door. But when you walk into your office building and try to say hello to the receptionist, you can’t speak. What’s got your tongue? Can the receptionist speak, or is her voice gone as well?

Angry Doppelgänger

You decide to spend the day enjoying the sunny weather. And that's great, until you see him (or her)—but who? The person looks exactly like you, but you know that you don’t have a twin. And what's this, he (or she) is approaching you—angrily. Who is this, and why are is this person so...

Dear Me

Opening up your lunch box, you expect to find your normal mixture of baby carrots, a slightly-mushed sandwich and a clementine. But today's different. Instead of the food you swore you had packed that morning, there's a mysterious note signed by—yourself? What does it say, and why can't you remember writing it? Perhaps most...

Enter the Void

At first it's like any other day. You wake up, shower, start to brew your morning cup of coffee, and that's when you notice—outside the window, there's nothing there. Just an endless black void. What happened? Where are you? How do you get back to reality?

Running With a Ghost

You start training to run a half-marathon. Things are going well and you've developed a route that you like to run. One day you notice someone peeking out the window of one of the houses you pass, though you think nothing of it. But then the next day the peeper is back again. And...

All in a Days Work

As a doctor for hire you’ve met a fair share of odd folks. Nothing quite like this though: A man in his mid-thirties stands before you, clutching a wound just given to him by another man sprinting down the street. Now the perpetrator trips and lands on his own knife. Screaming for help and...

Olympic Trip

You have been chosen to help carry the Olympic Torch for the 2016 Summer Olympics. It’s finally your turn to carry the Torch and you are so nervous you might throw up. You take the Torch from its previous carrier and start running. As cameras flash and the world watches, you trip and go...

Rejection in Writer's Digest

A Proper Sendoff for “Reject a Hit”

It’s always hard to say goodbye to a dear friend. Even when you know it’s time for them to go. I first had the idea for what became WD’s Reject a Hit column back in 2010. We’d been combing through the crumbly, leather-bound Writer’s Digest magazine archives, which date back to 1920, in preparation for a...

Wedding Crashers

You are standing at the altar waiting to marry the person of your dreams. The preacher says, “Should anyone here present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.” You smile at your soon-to-be spouse, ready to get on with the...

Alligator Whisperer

You are an expert at capturing alligators—they call you “The Alligator Whisperer.” Your work has helped scientists gather extensive information on the life of alligators and you are hailed as a hero in the scientific community. Everything is going great until one day the alligators start hunting you. What do you do?

I Can Hear You

You were involved in a terrible car accident and have been in a coma for the past three months. What your family and the doctors don’t know is that you can hear everything that they say. Write the scene.

Books and Characters

Write a story that begins with the title of the book you’ve most recently read and ends with the name of your favorite character that you’ve written.

Killing Clichés

Write 10 sentences using a different cliché in each. Now, rewrite the sentence to eliminate the cliché and find a more clever and creative way to convey its meaning.