Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Writing Workout

Meet my pal, Linda Skeers:

Linda's picture books are filled with humor and heart.

She's one of those naturally funny people, a popular speaker who even leads workshops to teach others how to write funny. For today's writing workout, Linda has agreed to share an exercise she's used with both children and adults. Enjoy!


Kids love to laugh. Editors love to laugh. Heck, everyone loves to laugh! But what do you do when you sit down to write something that will have everyone giggling and you just stare at the blank page, feeling anything but funny? Here's an exercise that will help you create some silly situations, crazy characters, and get you laughing out loud in no time.

First, get three paper bags. Label one CHARACTERS, another PROBLEMS, and the third SETTING. Next, cut paper into strips.

Now, let the fun begin! Quickly write down possible characters on slips of paper. For example:  pirate, walrus, alien, dentist, zookeeper, and cowboy. Drop them in the appropriate bag.

Move on to problems or situations:  lost, new school, hungry, broken leg, digging for buried treasure... don't censor yourself, just jot down whatever pops into your head. Put them in the PROBLEMS bag.

Now for settings:  deserted island, Mars, playground, bathtub, snow fort, jungle. Add them to the SETTINGS bag.

You don't have to come up with ideas on your own. Ask family, friends, other writers, kids, your mailman... for things to add to the bags.

Now, draw a slip out of each bag and tell a story with those three elements. Mix and match until you get the giggles, and then that blank page won't look so scary!


Thanks, Linda! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

Jill Esbaum


Carmela Martino said...

LOVE this idea. Thanks for sharing it, Jill, and special thanks to Linda. I can see doing this in one of my classes and letting the students come up with ideas to put on the strips.

Jill said...

I'll pass that on to Linda. :)

Kenda Turner said...

What a playful way to jumpstart ideas. Going to give this a try... :-) Thanks!

Jill said...

Good luck, Kendra!