Weekend Writing Workout ~ Really!

My friend Jennifer and I were walking in the park yesterday with her daughter, enjoying a crisp late afternoon under a canopy of bright leaves. When I grew thirsty, she offered me her tic tacs.

“Wow,” I said, “I haven’t had one of those in years.”

“Just put one in your mouth,” she said. “Trust me.”

I did as I was told and instantly had a memory of a shopping mall where my best friend and I bought treats on the way to school.

“It tastes like the 70’s,” I said, sucking on the tiny white thing. “And  bit medicinal.”

“I know, right!” she said, excited. “They’re really small, but so potent. You only need one, and, BAM, you’re transported back in time.”

She was right. There was something about that kick of taste that brought me back to my childhood.

What small, simple objects transport you back in time?

What small, simple objects transport your character back in time?

This weekend, write about a memory that strikes your character without notice. That hijacks their thoughts. That intrudes on their mood, their day, their conversation.


1) Pick one of your characters to use for this exercise.

SET YOUR TIMER for 7-10 minutes.

Start with the line:
She/he stopped in her tracks, for on the ground was a …

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

2) SET YOUR TIMER for 10-12 minutes.

Start with the line:

“What’s that!” she/he exclaimed, pointing to the …

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

3) SET YOUR TIMER for 15-20 minutes.

Now write a SCENE in which this object INTRUDES upon your character’s activity, be it a walk, a fight, a conversation, a meal. Have it invoke a memory, and a feeling along with that memory. Have it TAKE THE ACTION in a new direction.

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.


And have a great weekend!


  1. Eliza
    Oct 25, 2013

    Totally using this! I’m in the middle of plotting, and I think this could help uncover some of my MC’s deeper motivations regarding her mother. Thanks for posting!

    • Danika Dinsmore
      Oct 25, 2013

      Hey, thanks, Eliza. It’s nice to know one of my exercises actually inspired someone. 🙂

  2. Jack Remick
    Oct 25, 2013

    Danika: it’s a good workout. I’m glad you posted it for the Louisa’s Group South.

  3. 4amWriter
    Nov 1, 2013

    Love to see your workouts again. I’m sure I’ll be using this very soon!

  4. Danika Dinsmore
    Nov 1, 2013

    Thanks Jack and Kate… it’s good to be back in the game again. My time has not been my own since July. I feel like a new era has begun. 🙂

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