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The Usual Suspects: Questions to Unearth a Powerful Personal Narrative

Several of the questions from this list were pulled  from The School of Arts and Enterprise, re-posted here with edits. The majority of the questions come from my own experience and brainstorming. The hope is to make this a comprehensive and solidly available resource for those writing personal narratives.

How Can I Choose a Personal Narrative Topic?:
Questions to Help You Discover Your Story

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Writing Exercise: A Letter to Your Muse

I started TA work on Tuesday for an Honors Intro to Creative Writing course with Dr Laura Hamblin. In the two class periods that have taken place so far, I already have about five items I want to port over as blog entries. We’ll start with this exercise, where you will write a letter to your muse.

Muse letter exercise.

A Letter to Your Muse

Bare-bones description: In this exercise, you will write a letter where you ask for your muse’s help and make commitments on what you will do to earn your muse’s favor.

What this exercise accomplishes: The goal of this exercise is to help writers identify what makes them feel creatively in-tune, approach their creative resources proactively, and to accomplish these goals in a creative framework.

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Attaching the Flesh: A Character Questionnaire

Attaching the Flesh: Character Questionnaire

Characters easily make or break a story. It’s not about having a “good” or “bad” character; rather, it’s a difference of dimensions. To give your characters that third dimension of presence requires adding layers to who they are—patching sinews of flesh onto their waiting bones.

Okay, that’s a bit morbid. The point is that it’s crucial that you take time to develop your characters. This questionnaire will help you start thinking about your character in a deeper, fleshier way.

It’s 50 questions long (with bonus and sub-questions to boot), so I won’t be saying anything extra after the last question’s been asked. Hop past the break to start the survey.

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The Literally Game (a Metaphor Exercise)

Metaphor Lesson Series

Metaphor Exercise 2: The Literally Game

Not ready yet? Go back to basics.
Want to step back to the previous entry in the series? Go to figurative vs literal language.

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9 Metaphor Exercises to Empower Your Writing

Metaphors Be With You

As you probably know, I’m in the process of creating a series of lessons and exercises that help you improve your ability to work with metaphors. Here are the nine exercises, which I’ll be discussing in greater detail later on.

1: Metaphor Madlibs

What it’s for: Helping people recognize and understand metaphors.

How it works: These three “madlibs” have players supply the objects and verbs. The random selections are then put into famous metaphor-based sayings, a metaphor-rich story, and other metaphor frameworks. Players are able to dissect what makes a metaphor in a simple and enjoyable way.

The full entry can be found here.

2: A Little S&M

What it’s for: Helping people differentiate metaphors from other types of language (including simile, hyberbole, literal descriptions, and euphemisms).

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