Archive for writing exercise

Ideas to Motivate Yourself to Write

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by Dawn Ross

Sometimes I just don’t want to write. It’s true. Sometimes it’s because I’m at a point that I hate, such as when it comes to editing. Sometimes it’s because I have writer’s block. And sometimes it’s simply because I have zero motivation to do much of anything. Here are some tips I use to get moving again. You can use them to motivate yourself to write as well:

Take Ten for Writers

Writing Exercises – There are a lot of books and even websites out there that provide writing prompts for you. Try one. They’re not only motivating, but sometimes even inspiring. One of my favorite writing prompt books is shown above. If you don’t want to buy a book, try the story idea generator on There are also apps for story ideas that you can get on your phone. I have one called Brainstormer.

Book Perfecting Plot by William Bernhardt

Read a Writing Guide – Sometimes when I review a technical writing book, I’m inspired to write better. I say reviewing because I’ve already read them. But even though I’ve already read them, reviewing them sometimes inspires new ideas or brings back that motivated feeling.

Do an Analytical Review – Don’t just watch a movie or read a book. Analyze it. Ask yourself what it was about the movie or book that made it worthwhile. Did it have good characters? Was the plot intense enough? Which parts were most intense and why? Which parts made you want to go to sleep and why?


Let Music Inspire You – I have certain music that I only play when I write. For a while, it was the music from the Lord of the Rings movies. Now it’s the Hobbit movies. Find your musical inspiration.

Nike Just Do It

The Nike Philosophy – Just Do It. No matter how you feel, just sit down and write. Write nonsense if you have to. Don’t think about it. Just do it.


Meditate – Not in the zoning out way. Think about what you want and why. Something inspired you to start writing. Think back on what that was and try to grab onto that feeling again.

Take a Break – Yes, sometimes the key to writing again is to simply take a break. As much as I love to write, there are times that I hate it. And I’m afraid if I continue to force myself, I will come to hate it even more. So I take a break. Try it for yourself, but don’t let that break last too long.

What do you do to motivate yourself to write?


Writing Exercise – Work

Posted in Other Stories with tags , , , , on March 11, 2017 by Dawn Ross

One of my writing group forums sets up a monthly writing challenge. It’s generally just a simple writing exercise turned into a contest. This month, it’s limited to only 75 words, not including the title, and the theme is work, either science fiction or fantasy-based. It only calls for one entry per person, but I couldn’t help but to practice with a couple more.


Waste Management Engineer Personal Log

No one thinks about how much crap I gotta put up with. Literally. They think my job’s easy, like all I gotta do is make sure the crap dumped at one end goes out the other. C’mon folks! We’re in zero gravity space. It ain’t that simple. Then there’s also the scrubbing, scraping, plunging, flushing, and, oh-yeah, don’t forget about all the verbal crap spewing from the crew. Bunch o’ stools, I tell ya.



A Warrior’s Duty

Muscles quivered. Sweat dripped. Breath heaved.

His body was heavy, heavier than normal, like rocks were tied to his back and all his limbs. Even his eyelids felt heavy. He leaned onto the hilt of his sword, pressing its bloody blade into the hard earth, and tried to catch his breath.

It was over. They were dead. All of them. Even the children. He’d done what he had to. It was his job. His duty.


Medieval Tapestry


Plight of the Princess

The bottle warmed in her delicate hand. Her fingers caressed the smooth glass while her thumb stroked the grain of the cork stopper. Its clear liquid glistened like raindrops.

One swallow and she would be free of him. No more dutiful smiles or imposed silence. No more longing from the window as he ignored her by day then occasionally used her at night. Her misery would end.

All he had to do was drink it.


Which one do you think I should enter? Would you like to write one as well? Feel free to write you own and post it here. I can’t enter it in the contest for you. But if you’re a member of, you can enter it there.

Take Ten for Writers – Writing Exercise 01

Posted in Other Stories with tags , , , , on March 4, 2017 by Dawn Ross

Take Ten for Writers

This writing exercise is set in the year 3010. I have just completed my mission and need to send an update to my commanding officer. But the system only lets me send up to ten words. This will be my title. The story itself will be my personal log. The personal log has to begin with, “After a long…” and it has to contain the words, “blindingly bright” somewhere in it. Here it goes:


55 Cancri e

Planet Celean Is Dead Thanks to the Bregonite Zealots

After a long month of interviews and interrogations, I have finally determined what I believe to have been the cause of the destruction of the planet Celean. The Bregonites started a nuclear war. Somehow, they infiltrated the Dominion of Sargon, accessed the secret nuclear control room, and set launched the warhead.

At first, I didn’t believe it was possible. Both the Dominion and the United Peoples have a myriad of checks, controls, and firewalls. But the Bregonites’ infiltration ran deep. And their zealotry and willingness to die was well beyond reason.

Of course, when the United Peoples’ capital city was struck, their leaders sought immediate retaliation. The Dominion barely had any time to figure out how it had all started. They tried to contact the United Peoples but they were either met with bureaucratic red tape or hostility. Their attempts to work together to find out what happened blew up in their faces… literally.

I arrived in time to see the final blow. It was blindingly bright and seemed to have encompassed the entire quarter of the northern hemisphere.

I admit, I was so angry at the breadth of this needless devastation that my interrogations were harsh; illegal even. Every Bregonite I’ve come across in this mission is now dead.

Some of the things I’ve done will give me nightmares. But the memory of the dead planet will haunt me for eternity. It will haunt all of you as well. No one will ever forget Celean. And hopefully, we’ve learned a valuable lesson and will never allow such an atrocity to happen again.


It’s not the greatest short story ever. But keep in mind that this is just a rough draft and it was done in about ten minutes. The purpose of these writing exercises isn’t to write some great fantastic story. It is to trigger the imagination.

Try your own writing exercise based on this set up. Don’t worry about your writing skill. Don’t worry about plot or direction. Just write and explore and see where your mind will take you. And most importantly… Have fun!


(c) 2017 Dawn Ross

Tips for Writing Mythical Creatures

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2013 by Dawn Ross

MC900432127 Troll

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to write fictional characters and I thought it would be fun to apply these tips for how to write mythical creatures. Some modification is needed, of course, so here it goes.

Get to Know Your Mythical Creature
First of all, let me point out that when I say mythical creatures, I am referring to creatures that are more animal-like than human-like. Getting to know your mythical creature starts with its history and nature. We will get into its description later below. Where does your mythical creature come from? Does it live in the mountains, sea, forest, desert, cave, or other?  Does it live by itself or does it live in a family group of other creatures? Has the creature been around since time began, was it thought to be extinct, or was the creature ‘created’ or bred recently? What does this mystical being like to eat? Is it a vegetarian or meat-eater; and if meat, what kind of meat? Does it walk like a man, on four legs like an animal, slither like a snake, or fly like a bird? Does it have a magic of some sort? What are its strengths, its weaknesses? What does it hate the most? What does it like the most? What do others think of this creature? Is it considered good or evil? Is it what people think it is or is it misunderstood? Is the creature considered a wild animal, a pet, or a beast of burden (like a mule)? Does the mystical being have human-like qualities? What drives your creature to do what it does? Is it motivated by instinct? Is it controlled by humans in some way, like how the Trollocs in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan are driven by the Myrddraal? 

Ask yourself some questions about how your mystical being would react in particular situations:

  • If your creature sees a human being, what will it do? Will it attack it, run from it, or something else? Ask the same question about what a person would do when they see it.
  • If your creature finds an object it doesn’t understand, how will it react? Will it try to destroy it, ignore it, check it out curiously, or shy away from it?
  • How would your mythical being react if it were injured and/or put in a cage?
  • If your creature somehow found itself in unfamiliar surroundings, how would it react? For example, if a forest being finds its way into a city, a water being is brought onto a boat, a desert creature is led into the forest, and so on. What sort of situation would bring it out of its element?

MC900444725 Fantasy Unicorn

Describe Your Mythical Creature by Showing, not Telling
As when you write fictional characters, show, rather than tell, your mystical being in the four following ways:

  1. Action – Show the creature doing something that reflects its nature. For example, describe it while it is on the hunt or while it is eating. If it lives with other creatures like itself, show that relationship.
  2. Sounds – What sort of noises does your mystical being make? Does it roar, grunt, howl, squeal, buzz, or can it talk? Animals make all sorts of sounds that can be described with words. Consider the plethora of onomonopias. In fact, looking up onomonoia on Google might be very helpful in finding the right words to describe the sounds your creature makes.
  3. Appearance – What does your creature look like? To help your reader get a visual idea, it helps to compare your creature with animals or beings that we are already familiar with. Remember to show, not tell. For example, “It soared high in the sky and cast a great shadow over the land.” This tells us our creature has wings and that it is large. Another example, “Its scaled skin glittered like the facets of diamonds.” This tells us the scales are small and skin-like similar to a snake and not large and armored like perhaps that of a dragon. You immediately get the idea that this creature is snake or lizard-like.
  4. Thought – Depending on the nature of your creature, this one might not be necessary. If your mystical being is more animal-like than human-like, it is not going to have comprehensive thoughts. We can show something of its ‘thoughts’ by asking ourselves some of the questions asked for getting to know your mythical creature.

If you are in a writing slump, consider these questions as a writing exercise and write a paragraph or two about your own mythical creature.

5187029_s Green Dragon