Objective-based exercises

Winkletter  •  10 Feb 2024   •    

I’m getting to the point where I can put together a week’s worth of daily newsletters in one night. Each week has a theme, and I’m using ChatGPT to help me brainstorm the themed exercises now.

Rather than jump ahead to the next week’s set of exercises, though, I’m starting to work on objective-based writing exercises. These would be distributed to the paid tier (currently 0 members), so I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. But I want to sort out the details ahead of time and also have some examples in place when I finally tackle marketing.

My plan is to create a set of linked exercises that walk through the creation of a particular type of fictional work: dramatic monologue, children’s story, or horror story for example. I would publish a single post that links to a set of exercises and gives an overview of the objective, encouraging the writer to not just finish writing the piece, but submit it for publication as well.

  • Flash Fiction: This month I want to post the first set, which will focus on seven types of flash fiction, from “six-word stories” to “short short stories.” This seems a good place to start since each exercise will be stand-alone.
  • Zero Draft: Next I want to try something a bit more challenging: Creating exercises to generate a zero draft for a short story. This would end up being a linked set of 21 exercises (three per day) that focus on writing “into the dark,” but with a structured approach. Day 1 the author would write about two characters and a relationship-based plot thread. Day 2 they would write about a setting, terrain-based plot thread, and action. Once all these parts are written, the author should have everything they need to generate a first draft for a short story.
  • NaNoWriMo: My stretch goal won’t happen this year, but the ultimate form of these objective-based exercises would be a set of exercises in October for a book proposal, and an entire month’s worth of exercises in November for NaNoWriMo. But that feels like more of a 2025 thing.

Of course, all of this depends upon the central question, “Are objective-based exercises useful for writing fiction?” Yet another good reason to start working on these ASAP.


Wait, did I just notice you write about fiction writing?

phaidenbauer  •  10 Feb 2024, 7:41 am

I do. It’s how I procrastinate from actually writing fiction.

Winkletter  •  11 Feb 2024, 12:01 pm

I do something similar. Reading about fiction writing to prevent myself from actually starting a project 🙈

phaidenbauer  •  12 Feb 2024, 7:51 am

Shameless self-promotion: I use AI to help generate daily writing exercises focused on skill-building. They’re all available on my free newsletter.

Winkletter  •  12 Feb 2024, 3:57 pm

I’ll have a look at it :)

phaidenbauer  •  12 Feb 2024, 6:26 pm

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