When I interviewed novelist Yuvi Zalkow, I suggested everyone view his presentation, “I’m a failed writer.” If you missed it, today’s challenge is for you.
Pop over to his site. Watch all 14 minutes of “I’m a failed writer #1: Revisions.” You’ll be entertained all the way through, I promise, and you’ll learn something, too.
When you get to the part where Yuvi lists exercises to force yourself to look at your manuscript through a different lens, pay attention. Slow down, or back up and pause, then pick one of his prompts. Open a blank document (or a notebook) and write.
Here are two images from his presentation to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
That’s today’s challenge. Thanks for jotting down so many great ideas, Yuvi! I’m confident this exercise will inspire and/or unstick writers, whether they’re working through a first draft or a fifth one.
Feel free to leave comments about your results here or over on Yuvi’s site. And if you have an idea for a writing challenge, send me a note at laurastanfill at hotmail dot com. If I choose to your suggestion as a future challenge, I’ll credit you and link to your site or blog (or both). It’s another way I’m trying to build community around here.
I never finished watching that video, and now, I wish that I would’ve! I actually had the thought last night while cooking about writing a flash fiction piece with no dialogue whatsoever! It’s a challenge I hope that I can do justice because I feel like I rely on dialogue too much at times, and I want to work on using other ways of revealing certain aspects of my stories. Great post, and I do plan to finish watching his video and working on this challenge!
Thanks for your comment, Emerald–and I’m glad I could issue a reminder to go watch Yuvi’s presentation! It’s great that one of the prompts struck a chord with you already. I think I’m going to write 700 words about a minor character, although there are other ideas embedded in his presentation, too, so I may change my mind!
I need to do something along those lines! I’m just stuck in my novel. I haven’t had the drive to write it lately, and I don’t know what to do. I’m hoping some prompt writing might work!
Very nice of you to suggest my video, Laura! It’s funny — when I first wrote those suggestions, I scribbled them down very fast, just ideas off the top of my head… Some of them, of course, were exercises that I had already taken on myself to get unstuck in my writing. But some of them were things that I’d never even thought of before. So I tried some of them afterwards…. And they turned out helpful. Most recently, I did some free-writing about a minor character that I knew I hadn’t explored enough within a particular scene in my novel. It was a useful way to figure out who he was– without the pressure of the scene he was in.
Anyway, I’ve enjoyed your great posts on your blog.
Thanks for loaning me the screenshots, Yuvi! Prompts are such a great way to unstick oneself and to generate new content or a new perspective on your old content. I love the idea of pulling a minor character out of the story and exploring his/her personality more. My novel world is so full of forces that are acting upon my protagonist that I think such an exercise would be really beneficial at this stage in my draft.
Laura, I’m catching up on blog reading, and I stopped by this post last night — perfect! The video is just what I needed, and I love the list of prompts.
Thanks for stopping by, Christi! I think all writers need to watch Yuvi’s presentations. They make me so happy–and they’re really useful, too.
I needed to see this. Right now. Today. Thank you, and Yuvi!
Glad you found the post and Yuvi’s awesome presentation. He’s so great. And I love it when I stumble on something that I needed to hear on that particular day!