I have a confession to make: I don’t like writing essays. I’m not proud of this fact, but I don’t lie about it. I hate writing essays for a living, and I especially dislike writing exploratory writing exercises aimed at helping a professor understand my creative process. However, as a writing coach, I’ve developed a soft spot for writing exercises. I want to share with you the benefits of writing exercises and how you can use them to improve your fiction writing.
The Purpose Of Writing Exercises
The purpose of writing exercises is to help you discover the things that your characters might say in the scene that you’re writing. In a way, it’s like brainstorming with your characters. Through brainstorming, you discover their thoughts and feelings. Then you can write what they say, and the dialog will spark the imagination of your readers. It’s a two-way street: not only will the writing exercises give you ideas for your writing, but your writing will also give you ideas for the writing exercises.
The Advantage Of Using Dialogue
One of the primary advantages of using dialogue in your writing is that it enables you to practice writing natural, human language. You can write about anything you want to, but it’s usually not going to be easy. Trying to write natural, human language is a challenge. However, when you’re practicing, you discover the things that you might miss if you were writing naturally. For instance, when a character speaks, the reader usually knows what character they’re talking to. In a writing exercise, your goal should not be to trick the reader but to engage them. Engagement makes for a more immersive and interesting read.
Once you’ve got the hang of writing dialogued scenes, you can move on to the next step: creating scenes where multiple characters interact. Having multiple characters in a scene increases the complexity. You can’t possibly plan out every bit of dialogue, and that’s what makes it so much easier when you write it all down first and then go over it, adjusting as needed. Going back and trying to adjust something after the fact can be quite frustrating.
Writing dialogue is not an easy task, but if you approach it systematically and work at it every day, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Once you’ve mastered that, it’s a step up to creating more complex scenes where you need to think things through more thoroughly.