Fiction Writing exercises

Basket of stuff

Created by Kimberly Ward, Community Healing Arts Program Coordinator, Spartanburg SC (July 9th, 2009)
Use a basket or bowl to gather some random items from your home. OR take a look at the picture below of a basket of random items. Possible items include: a model car, paintbrush, candy, dice, playing card, cow bell, a smile sticker, small teddy bear, and a comic book.


Choose a random trinket that you find interesting. Take the item in your hand and think about a story relating to the item. It can be a memory or a fictional story. It can be happy, sad, funny, even quirky. If the object spoke to you, what would it tell you?

Fiction Writing exercises

Two people seen from afar

This exercise was created by Jeff VanderMeer, a multiple World Fantasy Award winner is best known for his Ambergris Cycle. VanderMeer is also an anthologist, a blogger for, and the assistant director of Shared Worlds, a creative writing camp for teenagers at Wofford College. VanderMeer offers a two-part exercise that immediately gives participants a vivid image (two people on a beach) and asks you to look closely and notice revealing detail about human interaction.

Part 1: Two people are walking on the beach. You see them from afar. Describe what they’re saying just from their body language. (In other words, don’t use any dialogue.)
Part 2: Now, write the same scene (two people walking on the beach as described by their body language), but this time write the scene all in dialogue with no description.

Fiction Writing exercises

Writing Exercise: A picture is worth a thousand words (aka Fictional postcard)

Created by Taylor Fenig (Wofford ’12)

Icebreaker (to get the writing juices flowing)

Describe a vacation. Describe the best trip you have ever been on. Or describe the trip that you always wanted to take. Answer the Where? When? What (did you do)? Who (are you with)? questions. Most important… Why is it “the best” vacation for you?

Writing exercise

Choose a picture from a location that you’ve never been to before. Choose from one of the images below or one you find from a magazine or the internet. Imagine this picture is the front of a postcard from the location where you are on vacation right NOW. Close your eyes and picture yourself there. What would you be doing? Why are you there? What time of year is it? Who are you with or who are you not with (alone)? Write a postcard note to a real or imaginary person from this place that answers those questions.


We love to do this exercise on damp and dreary days! Dream! Picture yourself doing all sorts of amazing things. Enjoy and please tell us about your pretend journey in the comments below.