Tag Archives: Writing Exercises

How Did You Ever Think of That?

Idea Tree

When I read interviews with authors or books describing their writing methods one question always comes up: Where do you get your ideas?  Some get very defensive, “You’d think I had an idea tree I can just pick story lines from or perhaps I say an incantation and an idea demon comes to my rescue.”  Others are a little more practical, “Whenever I read or hear something new I get a story idea.  I spend a lot of time going through magazines and newspapers and they’re just full of potential stories.”  “I take two unrated ideas and find a way to bring them together.  This creates a story.”

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The 750 Word Challenge

750 word challenge - drawing by Trent P McDonaldNote – this is an old post.  I’ve updated the story list at the end through 2014, but have stopped.  For a complete list, see the page “The 750 Word Challenge“.

People who follow my blog may notice that I get a bit verbose, am often a little wordy, I go on for too long, I…  ooops, sorry.  Yes, my posts are often too long.  I understand that a good blog should be short and sweet, concise and to the point.  I understand and yet I still go on and on.  Of course it isn’t just my blog, I tend to get a bit wordy in all of my writing.  That’s one reason I like the 750 word challenge. Continue reading

Write a Composition?

Small clip of score - music by Trent P McDonald, phot by Trent P McDonald

I’ve created my fair share of music.  I’ve written songs and composed contemporary concert pieces, including some songs.

Now stop and think.  Does anything strike you about what I just wrote?  I’m sure a few of you noticed that I said I “wrote” some songs but “composed” others.  I often use the words “write” and “compose” interchangeably, but they’re really not the same.  So, what, besides pretension, is the difference between “writing” and “composing” a song?  While there are many arguments over the meaning of these words I tend to use the garage band test.  I’ll demonstrate. Continue reading

Getting Your Groove Back

Osprey Landing - photo by Trent P McDonald

Coming in for a rough landing after a trip?

The holidays.  A time to spend with friends and family.  A time to fly the friendly sky with 50 million of your closest friends.  The rush and crush of the mobs at the airport.  Parking nightmares.  Security lines that stretch half way to your destination.  Ugh.  I hate flying on the holidays.  This year I left early and returned late in an attempt to avoid the mad rush.  That put me away from home for over a week.  It’s nice to get away, but of course I dropped everything while out of town.  So, no creative energy used during the week of vacation.  No third draft of the novel.  No new short story.  Not even a blog post.  One measly little 12 word Facebook post.  Not exactly keeping the creative juices flowing, are we?

How does one recover from a week away from creative work, be it writing, music or the visual arts?  I know that I have dropped many projects after a too rewarding trip.  I’ve even temporarily dropped totally out of an active art upon returning.  There must be a way to get back into it, to get your groove on. Continue reading