Write On

Martha Stewart Living - - Out & About -

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.

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