Writing Exercises

Author Aerobics: Make it Fresh Challenge

Want to join in? Here’s this week’s Author Aerobics challenge. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you use this writing prompt, post a link to your entry in the comments below, and I’ll update this post with links to yours. Everyone’s welcome!


Make it Fresh Challenge

Most of you likely write to avoid stereotypes and clichés like the plague, but they can be fun to work with too. These become popular often because the tropes work, and a deft hand can make them feel fresh again.

Let’s have a look at the quintessential Don Juan. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and can sweep a woman off her feet with a moment of eye contact. She’s intrigued by the element of mystery, his skill at dancing, his knowledge of fine wine, and his passionate kisses.

Now for a twist. What if Don’s true love died, and he’s dead inside because of it? What if Don rips off wealthy women at the resort, because he’s got 10 kids to feed at home? Or what if it’s Donna instead of Don? What if Donna seduces unsuspecting women while in drag?

I think the key to freshness is recognizing the stereotype then adding an unexpected element into the mix.

The challenge: Take a stereotype, cliché, or topic that’s been done to death, and write a scene (1000 words or less) that infuses a fresh spin on things. The theme: sparkle? hah just kidding! “Thirst”

OK, I’ll admit it, this is really just an excuse to write about vampires.

Further Reading


This week’s stories!

  • Robin Bonnett by Aidan Fritz – Foiling the Sheriff of Nottingham with well aimed lazerbolts and deft hovercar maneuvers.
  • Once and Future by Stephen Watkins – Not Sir Galahad, but Rob the accountant is destined to revive the once and future king Arthur.
  • Thirst by T.S. Bazelli – In the desert there are so few chances for survival.
  • The Maiden’s Resolve by Harry Markov – Every blow cost 100 lives. The princess wept.

13 Comments

    1. LOL You know the funny thing is, I never purposefully add in that twist! Maybe my brain just doesn’t process in straight lines hehe. Is it a challenge? Well maybe not as tough as the others but it’ll still be fun 😀

    1. It’s a double-edged sword, really. We read (and some of us write) fantasy because we like those tropes. They tickle us the right way. But if what you’ve got to offer is nothing but tropes and reused cliches, it comes off pretty thin. It’s a fine line to walk to try to fulfill the promise of those tropes, and sate the hunger for them, while also keeping it new and fresh. I think I get fairly close to the line, sometimes, but I lack a gymnast’s natural balance…

    2. T.S. Bazelli Author

      Exactly! I think I may have to write a post about the dietary reading habits. It’s a bit like comfort food. You keep going back for it because you like it, but after a while a steady diet of mac-and-cheese can get really boring. The cure might be to vary the diet by switching to taco’s, or you could throw some Parmesan and Gorgonzola into the sauce to make it a gourmet meal instead of Kraft dinner. I think I watch too much Food Network…

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