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Find the story in a face

This entry is part 36 of 43 in the series Friday Sprints

Every face is a story’s landscape

The start of a story often begins when a writer sees a face. Writers are quick to notice the ever so slight droop around the eye, the nearly imperceptible bump on the nose, the swift peek of the tongue between the teeth. From there, their minds begin the calculations that add up to the sum of a story.

The photograph below provides a starting point, a visual prompt to catapult you into a story. Faces easily capture our attention and pique our curiosity. So enjoy this quick, easy exercise to get you into the story-writing mood.

Kitchen timers are great tools for writers

Crack the exercise

You need a few writing tools

Plan to spend 5 minutes writing. A fun kitchen timer is a great hlep. Use whatever writing tools are at hand: pen and paper, journal or composition book, even a computer file. Set that timer for 5 minutes. In a pinch for a timer? Try the one on the oven or use a smart phone app.

Ready, Set, Write

Start writing and don’t stop. Capture the person and slip into the character. Stay in the scene, in the moment. Allow your imagination to propel you into a scene. What is your character doing? Why? Stay in character and write to the end.

Don’t stop to reread, edit, or question. Head for the middle and capture an end. (Scroll down for the after-writing process.)
Aviator receives kisses from his dog for the first time in eight months

Once you’re finished, read what you’ve written but don’t make any changes. Think about the following questions, then write about the results of your writing exercise.

Read and reflect

  1. What did you read about the character by looking at his face?
  2. Did you get a sense of the person?
  3. Did you hear his voice?
  4. Did you sense a story within this character?
  5. Did you sense any undercurrents?
  6. Could you feel the character’s emotions enough to write about them?
  7. Do you have a beginning, middle, and an end to a scene?
  8. How did the writing go? Was it easy or difficult?
  9. Did you have any problems? In what way?

That’s it. You can stop now or expand what you’re written. Share your thoughts below, and if you’re still in the writing mode check out the other visual prompts in the series..


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Series NavigationCrack this Olympian writing exerciseStart your story in the middle of action
  • Ed

    Great article.