Write a conversation in which the participants talk about anything besides what is on their minds.
Write an interaction between two people without using dialogue; suggest their dynamic through gesture and other physical details.
Munro's story "Differently" begins, "Georgia once took a
creative-writing course, and what the instructor told her was: Too many
things. Too many things going on at the same time; also too
people. Think, he told her. What is the important
do you want us to pay attention to? Think."
Write your own story about a character attending a writing class. What is the feedback that most cuts her? Show why, in the context of her life, it is so cutting.
Write a narrative that contains these elements: The Secretary of Defense, labor pains, peanut brittle, pocket-sized French dictionary, small gray mouse.
Your breakup with your partner is imminent. You decide to go to the grocery store for cheese.
Describe your (or your narrative persona’s) favorite chair. Write a little story about it.
a) Describe a particularly momentous month in a character’s life in five sentences or less, using as many concrete, sensory details as possible and avoiding abstraction (“it was a hard month,” etc.).
b) Describe one seemingly ordinary moment within that month (brushing teeth, pumping gas, etc.) in great detail. To notice: What is extraordinary within the ordinary? What is the story within the moment?
You (or your character) have recently woken from a coma to discover that you don’t remember the person whom everyone says is your spouse/partner, or the job everyone says you held. What is your day like now that people who seem to know you are utterly unfamiliar to you? What do you think of all these people? What details form your impression of them? What do you think of yourself? Focus on a moment/interaction over the course of an ordinary day—a meal, a trip to the post office, etc.—paying particular attention to sensory details.