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A simple moment of action unleashes a story

This entry is part 41 of 43 in the series Friday Sprints

Visual timed creative writing exercise

Some people find photographs useful when it comes to doing timed writing exercises. Visual prompts are a great way to get those creative juices flowing.

Finding something to write about is a matter of discovery. An action photo stops time, captures a single moment. As a writer, the trick is to get into that moment and tease out the story. That’s the task for this week’s sprint writing exercise.

You start with the photograph below. There’s a character, a setting, even action. Everything needed to get a scene moving.

A few simple tools are all you need

Writing tool - Use a novelty kitchen timer for timed writings

Kikkerland Owl Timer

Grab a legal pad, open a composition notebook, or start a new file. I like to use timers. I find themn useful when doing these types of fast exercises. To lighten things up, it’s fun to have a few kitchen timers on hand. Opens the door a little wider to play. Once you have everything you need to begin, set the timer and start writing. (No timer? Try the one on the oven or download an app for the computer or phone.)

Begin the writing exercise 

Take a look at the photo for a minute or two. Relax, let your mind rove. Once you begin, the idea is to write a white hot draft. No thinking, no doodling, just a moving pen on paper or fingers on keyboard with words spilling out. Once you start, don’t stop writing. Stay with the story and let it flow. Try to write toward an end.

Don’t stop to reread, edit, or question. Head for the middle and capture an end. (Scroll down for the after-writing process.)

Writing exercise using a photo to find a story

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. Did you capture the action?
  2. Did you connect with the character?
  3. Could you feel the character’s emotions?
  4. Do you have a beginning, middle, and an end to a scene?
  5. How did the writing go? Was it easy or difficult?

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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