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Let dialogue lead you to story

This entry is part 40 of 43 in the series Friday Sprints

Hear the story, set the scene

Using visual prompts is a great writing exercise to warm up those creative muscles. Many writers like to add the extra A calm, even playful scene can often cast a benign overlay over darker undercurrents. This week’s exercise is meant for you to mine the hidden elements for 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.

Assemble a few writing tools

Use kitchen timers for timed writing exercises

Novelty kitchen timer

If you’re going to time your writing exercise, try using a kitchen timer. They’re a great tool for writer’s to keep handy. Grab your pen and paper, your journal or composition book, or open up a computer file. Then set the timer. (Don’t have a kitchen timer, use the oven’s or download a phone app.)

Ready to write? 

Once you start, don’t stop writing. Now, take a look at the photo below. Instead of focusing on the visual details, get quiet and listen. Can you hear the conversation? What about the subtext? Are the tones light and breezy or is something else going on? Follow the characters, stay in the scene 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.)

Use a photograph as a writing tool and writing exercise

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. Were you able to hear the different voices?
  2. Did you hear a story in the making?
  3. Did the conversation reveal any undercurrents and subtext?
  4. Could you feel the character’s emotions?
  5. Do you have a beginning, middle, and an end to a scene?
  6. 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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Series NavigationMine a group’s dynamic for plotA simple moment of action unleashes a story
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