Prompt: Pretend you can write.

This writing prompt is from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I’m going through it with the Leawood Creative Writing meetup. But I’ll sneak you a peak at this prompt.

  • Tune in to the source of the magic(pg 8).
    • Choose a work of fiction that you cherish. In a single sentence, try to state the major reason why you love reading this work.
    • Then list several ways with which you think the author achieved this effect. The reasons don’t have to employ any fancy terms and they don’t have to make sense to anyone but you. You’re simply trying to tune in to the source of the magic.
  • Write one word at a time (21).
    • YOUR TURN: Return to the work of fiction that you chose as a favorite. Get your hands on a copy of this story, then pick a passage that you especially like. Write out a page or so of this section, word for word, just to let yourself feel what it might have been like to create that particular arrangement of words. You may gain some insight into how the author did what he did. At the very least, you’ll see that everyone does it the same way—one word at a time.

I wrote out an entire chapter of Lois Lowry’s The Giver. It helped me to look at the ratio of action to dialogue. I wonder what kinds of things you’ll notice when you copy down one of your favorite writer’s words.

If you purchase any of these books from, I get a portion of the money. If you buy from Amazon, Jeff Bezos lines his pockets. If you buy your book from a local bookstore like the Booktable in Chicago (they can’t do online orders anymore), then my friend Eddy gets to keep his job. You can also buy from Powell’s books. This is a link to a used copy of Gotham Writers’ Workshop.

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