It’s National Novel Writing Month, when aspiring authors vow to finish one in 31 days. Stretch your creativity with these journal exercises from short- story maestro Karen Bender, author of The New Order (Counterpoint Press).
I Spy Specifics Try describing a person you know using only concrete details. “Ban all abstract adjectives, like beautiful or boring,” she says. Jot down the look of her eyebrows and her smile.
Use Your Nose And eyes, and ears. “Sensory details— what you see, smell, touch, or hear— get you into a story,” says Bender. Take in the trees on the park trail, the aroma of the fire.
The Waiting Game “Novels can take so many forms, but they are all, on some level, about urgency,” says Bender. Make up a character, or picture someone you know. What is she waiting for? What does she want? Write it down.