Writing Exercises

Author Aerobics: Emotion Challenge

Here’s this week’s Author Aerobics challenge. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you want to participate just post a link to your entry in the comments below and I’ll update this post with links to yours. Everyone’s welcome!


Emotion Challenge

My work is emotionally autobiographical. It has no relationship to the actual events of my life, but it reflects the emotional currents of my life. I try to work every day because you have no refuge but writing. When you’re going through a period of unhappiness, a broken love affair, the death of someone you love, or some other disorder in your life, then you have no refuge but writing.~ Tennessee Williams

Love, hate, joy, pity, anger, righteousness, boredom, confusion… how many emotions do we go through in a day? How do you translate those emotions, these truths of our existence, to the written page?

Emotions provide a vital piece of connection to the characters we create. As a reader, perhaps I can’t  always relate to the exact situation a fictional character finds himself in, but I can understands what it is to be happy, to be afraid, to be in love and what it would be like to lose love. Emotions also provide conflict, or simply provide truth that binds reality upon an impossible tale.

I find it’s easy to lose touch with emotion when I’m wrapped up in the middle of a long complicated plot, or busy searching for the perfect line. Do you ever feel the same way?

The challenge: Keep one emotion in the forefront of your mind while you write a scene (1000 words or less) but do not tell us what that emotion is. The story should speak for itself. The theme this week: “flight”


This week’s stories!

  • My Mother by J.P. Cabit – Natasha works at an airport and she’s having a bad day. What could go wrong?
  • Edmund’s Flight by Aidan Fritz – A story about a teleporter and a boy with a flying bee carpet.
  • The Guardian by T.S. Bazelli – Saving lives is thankless work.
  • The Steed and the Page Boy by Stephen A. Watkins Jr. – Two survivors remain on the bloody field: a dragon, who has lost his fire, and a page boy who has lost his master.
  • The Secret Last Thoughts Of… by Harry Markov – “They pull the metal plate I lay on and lead me through the kitchen. It is a slow procession as if I am a Sunday ritual.”

24 Comments

  1. Hmm. I like this prompt. Things are going to be hectic when I get back to Cincy from my “vacation” this weekend, but I’ll see if I can find the time to drum something up… (Maybe one of my blog vignettes. I’ve been itching to write one, but the right emotional trigger hasn’t come up yet.)

  2. Lua

    Sounds intense 🙂 Lots of emotions come to mind when I think about ‘flight’: fear, disappointment, excitement, survival, hope… Can’t wait to read your piece on this Tessa!

    1. Someone has stolen my speed crown. Congratulations. I’m with Tessa, I’ll wait until I’ve written mine to read (although hopefully I won’t be as slow at reading the other entries as I am this week… will get to them soonish 😉

  3. I was just thinking to myself this morning: “Self! There are far too few dragons on your blog. There should be more dragons on your blog.”

    And then you post a writing prompt with a them of “flight”.

    Now what am I supposed to do?

    1. Thanks. Although, my school doesn’t do “GPA” per se… they claim they don’t do “grades”, but really they do, they just don’t give them the traditional A,B,C.. designation, and they’re based on a fairly rigorous “curve”.

    2. Thanks Aidan. So far, so good. Got my grade back on one exam, it was pretty good. Don’t expect the other back until next week at the earliest (since I just took it).

      And… managed to bang out an entry for this challenge, barely. Here.

    1. Thanks Aidan. I usually try to pick something I’m currently wrestling with in my own writing, and right now for me it’s emotions too. I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have for topics, if you have any, or what you would find helpful.

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