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Resolve to Write: 52 Writing Exercises to Hone Your Craft

WritersdontcryWant to be a better writer? Resolve to write! Writing regularly is the single mostBlankpage important thing you can do to improve your craft. After all, practice does make perfect. Of course, this obvious answer is easier said than done. The muse is notoriously fickle, and half of just about anyone’s dedicated writing time gets compromised by a lack of inspiration, by more “important” things to do (dinner, laundry, work…), and by the lure of the ever-present internet.

So, this year, to help make resolving to write easier, I’ve pulled together 52 writing exercises inspired by some of my favorite books. Each of these is intended to go from one paragraph to around a page, and there are 52 of them so that you, too, can write every week. Remember, these are just writing exercises—if you want to turn them into a full-length project, please make sure you’re not violating any copyrights.

Happy New Year, and most importantly, happy writing!


Week 1: Write a haunting description of the eldritch beauty of an abandoned elf kingdom. (Inspired by The Lord of the Rings)

Week 2: Write a page of dialogue between a dying but powerful dragon and the boy who stumbled into his lair in search of something with which to save his people. (Inspired by The Riftwar Saga)

Week 3: Write a fight scene between a priest wielding a holy spiked chain and a vampire. (Inspired by Realms of the Dead)

Week 4:  Write a humorous scene about a warrior who is brave in battle getting all nervous when getting her ears pierced in preparation for a ball. (Inspired by Song of the Lioness Quartet)

Week 5: Write a description of a macabre party in the catacombs under Paris. (Inspired by Revolution)

Week 6: Write a page of dialogue between a man who was a changeling (a faerie that takes on the appearance of a child) and the child whose life he stole. (Inspired by The Stolen Child)

Week 7: Write a fast-paced chase scene between a thief and a bounty hunter through narrow cliffs on gliders. (Inspired by Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind)

Week 8: Write a romantic fight scene between two assassins—one hired to kill the other, only to find they have instant chemistry (Inspired by The Book of Jhereg)

Week 9: Write an epic battle speech for an outnumbered people fighting to protect their homeland. (Inspired by King Henry V)

Week 10: Write a page of dialogue between two teenagers and the devil they have managed to accidentally capture. (Inspired by Brimstone Angels)

Week 11: Write an ominous description of the most terrifying door you possibly can. (Inspired by the works of Lovecraft)

Week 12: Write an inventive fight scene between a bounty hunter and an escaped convict in a room with no gravity. (Inspired by Ender’s Game and Cowboy Bebop)

Week 13: Write humorous letter from Famine to War (of the four horsemen of the apocalypse). (Inspired by Good Omens)

Week 14: Write a romantic scene involving one person who can’t touch anyone without burning them, due to a magical curse, and the person they love. (Inspired by Downshadow)

Week 15: Write a page of dialogue between a man and the devil he’s looking to make a deal with for unparalleled skill with a guitar. (Inspired by Reservation Blues)

Week 16: Write an awe-inspiring description of a giant, night-blooming garden in an alien world. (Inspired by The Neverending Story)

Week 17: Write a suspenseful scene in which a character, hiding in a closet with a romantic interest, discover his boss is involved in a treasonous rebellion. (Inspired by Tigana)

Week 18: Write a heart-wrenching fight scene between a man and the possessed body of his father—the man who taught him to fight—on a series of narrow ledges over a pool of acid. (Inspired by The Dark Elf Trilogy)

Week 19: Write a chase scene around an old castle and its grounds between a young witch on a broom and an angry dragon. (Inspired by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

Week 20: Write a humorous page of dialogue between a barbaric orc and the faerie queen having tea together. (Inspired by The Art of Fiction)

Week 21: Write a breathtaking description of a dwarf kingdom’s forge in the Golden Age of the dwarves deep below the mountains. (Inspired by The Hobbit)

Week 22: Write humorous fight scene between a half-giant and a swashbuckler on a mountain. (Inspired by The Princess Bride)

Week 23: Write a resourceful fight scene on a bridge between an army of animated broken umbrellas and a zombielike brigade of men wielding smog over a book. (Inspired by Un Lun Dun)

Week 24: Write a sensory description of what it would feel like to be able to walk through a mirror into another world. (Inspired by Through the Looking Glass)

Week 25: Write a suspenseful scene of an apprentice poisoner sent to steal shed dragon scales from a dragon’s cave—with the dragon still in it. (Inspired by Dragons: Worlds Afire)

Week 26: Write a page of witty dialogue between a canny but blind priest and the rogue trying to steal from him. (Inspired by The Lies of Locke Lamora)

Week 27: Write an ominous description of a kelpie (a murderous, fae, water horse) emerging from the water. (Inspired by Tithe)

Week 28: Write a fight scene between a devil that escaped from a bottle and a faerie trying to recapture it. (Inspired by Blackbringer)

Week 29: Write a letter from the Grim Reaper to readers about the events of WWII. (Inspired by The Book Thief)

Week 30: Write a suspenseful scene of someone hiding, clinging to a cliff face, above a pair of killing machines sent to hunt you down in a stone maze. (Inspired by The Maze Runner)

Week 31: Write a page of dialogue between two old magicians—one of whom practices book-learned magic, the other of whom advocates intuition-based magic—as they watch The Lord of the Rings. (Inspired by The Night Circus)

Week 32: Write a description of a dark, gothic cathedral in which all of the gargoyles begin to spill the secrets of the things they have seen. (Inspired by Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell)

Week 33: Write a fight scene between two warriors whose blood hardens into armor when they are cut. (Inspired by The Scar)

Week 34: Write a humorous dialogue exchange between two monsters on poetry and the ways to lady monster’s heart. (Inspired by Crypt of the Moaning Diamond)

Week 35: Write a chase scene in a forest between a small woman good at hiding and a man good at camouflage and the group of people hunting them. (Inspired by The Hunger Games)

Week 36: Write the dialogue between a brave mouse seeking to save her family from impending disaster and the wise but predatory owl from whom she seeks aid. (Inspired by Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh)

Week 37: Write a description of what it feels like for a young water witch to channel magic for the first time. (Inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Week 38: Write a humorous fight scene between two wizards for whom rhyming lyrics are the key to magic. (Inspired by Her Majesty’s Wizard)

Week 39:  Write a romantic scene of an illicit affair between an angel and a satyr—whose peoples are at war. (Inspired by Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

Week 40: Write a scene inspired by the famous first line: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (Inspired by Anna Karenina)

Week 41: Write a page of dialogue between a witch who can tell you the secrets of the world--but demands a steep price--and a girl who seeks knowledge from her. (Inspired by The Faerie Locket)

Week 42: Write a description of what it feels like to turn into a wolf--as driven by the onset of winter rather than the moon (Inspired by Shiver).

Week 43: Write a scene based on the popular lyric: “We could have had it all” (Inspired by Adele’s Rolling in the Deep)

Week 44: Write a fight scene between an ancient wizard and a young sharpshooter from the old west in a forgotten temple over the powerful relic the wizard has been guarding. (Inspired by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

Week 45: Write a suspenseful scene of sneaking through a powerful, sleeping faerie’s sweets-encrusted lair. (Inspired by The Once and Future King)

Week 46: Write a fight scene filled with romantic tension between one person gifted with battle skill, and the other gifted with foresight. (Inspired by Graceling)

Week 47: Write a page of dialogue between a teenage prince on the run from his own people and the teenager on the opposing side whose life he has just saved. (Inspired by Leviathan)

Week 48: Write a description of what it feels like for a young recruit to ride dragonback for the first time. (Inspired by Eragon)

Week 49: Write a fight scene between two dragonriders, each on dragonback, fighting on opposite sides in a battle. One dragon is metallic and clockwork, the other is a real dragon. (Inspired by His Majesty’s Dragon and Havemercy)

Week 50: Write a suspenseful scene in which two characters are hiding in a vent from the near-mindless vampires that are trying to sniff them out nearby. (Inspired by The Passage)

Week 51: Write a page of dialogue between a politician and her clone whose organs will be harvested to save her life. (Inspired by [spoiler, so highlight text to read] Never Let Me Go)

Week 52: Write a description of finding and walking through a magical door in a wardrobe that leads you into an amazing, wintry world. (Inspired by The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)


Happy Writing!

Read more Writers Don't Cry
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Interesting suggestion of how to write! You are kidding, aren't you?

for 50, what if the vampires have colds and can't use their noses right and the characters are like "hey there is our key to escaping" and then they do a high five

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