I’m not usually big on writing exercises. For some reason, it never feels “productive” to me because it’s not tied to an actual story I want to tell. I know that’s not the point of doing exercises. But I’m also the girl who goes to yoga class and hates the end part where we just lay there relaxing. Which, of course, is the key to the whole practice: relaxing.
But I digress. Writing exercises. As it turns out, I used a writing exercise to start one of my books. And a few weeks ago, that very book was sold to Walker and Company and will be my second teen novel with them. YAY!! The book is called Audition and Subtraction. And I can hardly roll my eyes at writing exercises now that I’m remembering how one led me to a contract. So, on the chance that it might do the same for you, I thought I’d share it with you.
The exercise: Write a scene about one of the most emotional memories you have from your teen years. I happen to have a fuzzy memory, but there are a few events that are seared across my brain. One of them is the day my best friend, Mary, invited her new boyfriend to sit with us in the cafeteria. Up until then, neither of us had ever had a boyfriend. We’d been eating together, hanging out together, joined-at-the-hip together for years. And when he sat with us, I recognized it for what it was: An irrevocable change in my life.
And that’s the scene I wrote about. And from that scene, I developed a story about a girl and her best friend. A girl who leans on that friend so much, she’s forgotten how to stand on her own. A story about boys and unexpected romance and shifting loyalties. A story about me, in that one moment frozen in time.
Funny enough, that scene never ended up in the final book. But it was a start.
Maybe it can be a start for you, too. Happy writing!