“Everyone over the age of 21 has a book in them by virtue of having survived adolescence.  Many have the calling, but most of us  fall for our own carefully constructed excuses.  It is our readers’ loss.” -- RWW


This Page is for Writers . . . and for Readers who want to write -- and should write.  If you didn’t have the calling, you wouldn’t be reading this.  A simple question: What’s stopping you?


Writing Exercises developed by RWW that will give you the kick in the pants you need -- and deserve, if you’re not getting your story down on paper.

                Post comments or questions -- or send a favorite writing quote -- via email to: sanibelflats@yahoo.com      -- Steve Grendon, web designer


    Note from RWW:  “Any person who has endured their teens has a book in them. The longer you’ve lived, the more books you have within. Most readers are also writers. No need to travel to exotic places, to participate in revolutions, to meet famous people. If you’ve spent your entire life in a small town, working a nine-to-five job, your experiences and insights – as filtered through your eyes – are extraordinary because they are unique. If you have the calling to write do yourselves a favor and write.  Over the next few months, I will post a series of writing exercises that I assign at an annual seminar hosted to raise money for an archaeological research center. The merits of these exercises are demonstrated by the fact that several attendees are now published by legitimate publishers and magazines. Each exercise is assigned a deadline for a reason. Deadlines, in fact, are inexorably freeing because they eliminate the option of procrastinating.  A deadline demands that you set your story free.  If you do the exercises, be tough on yourself. Check your watch, set an alarm clock. I enforce the deadlines to the precise second. Writers who write to publish have a professional obligation to meet their deadline. If you take writing seriously, you will take these deadlines seriously.” -- Rando

EXERCISE # 1:  Write the dust jacket copy for the book you hope to write. Write as if your book has already been accepted, as if you've already received your advance payment, and as if what you write will appear on the book when it is published. The well schooled PR people in New York write the jacket copy, not the authors but it does not matter in this exercise. The prose is often florid but, when professionally done, it emphasizes key why-you-must-read-this-book elements that will put you, the author, in better touch with your novel or work of non-fiction. Do not start this exercise immediately. Today or tonight, take down some favorite books and ready the jacket copy. Read it over and over. Even if the writing is hyperbolic, it should portray the story line accurately. It should establish key characters and plot elements. Also note that the word count is structured to fit. No more than 250 words, no fewer than 225 words. No exceptions. I suggest, later tonight, or tomorrow morning, you go into a space alone, turn off the TV and the Internet, and dedicate your full attention to this exercise: Write your dust jacket copy as described above. Deadline: 20-minutes.

A deadline demands that you set your story free!



    “There's no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn't write.”    --Terry Pratchett

     “The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything.”   -- John Irving

   “Writing is the flip side of sex – it's good only when it's over.”

       -- Hunter S. Thompson



“My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.” -- Elmore Leonard


“The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak.”
-- Friederich Nietzsche

    “My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.”
-- John D. MacDonald

EXERCISE # 5: Write a SCATHING review about the book on which you’re working.  Let the wrath and indignation roll.  Nail specifics, drop all pretenses and niceties.  This is a very interesting exercise because, done passionately, your conscious and subconscious will join to reveal your genuine writing weaknesses -- and also your writing fears. 250 words.  DEADLINE: Twenty Minutes

EXERCISE # 4:  Write a RAVE review about the book on which you’re working.  Wild praise is encouraged, and make sure to include plot details, and comparisons with other writers.  This exercise will add to your knowledge of the book’s structure, and also clarify your goals.  An ego boost?  You bet -- but enjoy it while you wait for Exercise # 5.  250 word minimum. DEADLINE: Twenty Minutes.

EXERCISE # 3:  Look ahead ten years, and write the “About the Author” copy that will appear in your latest book.  Write in glowing terms (You’re a successful author!)  List titles of five previous books, include awards, compare yourself to writers with whom you want to be compared.  Don’t hold back, BE INVENTIVE.  Ten years is only 120 months away.  Detail, clearly, where you want to be, and who you want to be.  Three paragraphs, minimum, and at least two drafts.  Write it, hone it, take this exercise seriously.  DEADLINE: First draft, TEN MINUTES.  Second draft: THIRTY MINUTES.

EXERCISE # 2:   Summarize the plot line of your book (beginning, middle, and ending) in one sentence.  That’s right, ONE sentence.  The most common error writers make (myself included) is trying to jam two or three books into one.  I have found that, if I can’t summarize the book on which I’m working in one sentence, I do not have the reigns of the storyline firmly in hand.  Rather than use one of my own books as an example (I’d give the ending away) I’ll use THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA:  An old fisherman, who is much admired by a village boy, reflects upon his life while battling a giant marlin that, ironically, is destroyed by sharks as the man triumphs.           


(This is the most important exercise you will do here) -- RWW

EXERCISE #6 will be posted soon.  Until then, keep writing!  (Steve Grendon, web designer)

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