Monday, July 20, 2009

Entering Your Story through the Smallest Detail--an Exercise with Buttons

I'm moving to a new home and office this month, so I'm cleaning out forgotten closets and cupboards and files. I found a large jar of buttons collected from friends who love to sew.

So when a writing colleague passed along this great exercise, I had to try it. It's by writer Roz Goddard, and it uses the tiniest of ojects--a button--to get deeper into a story. I tried it in my classes and many of the writers found it helpful for uncovering aspects of character that had eluded them.

Click here to try it out.

Imagine using it for one of your main players in your book. Let your limitations go, and see what comes. For memoir or nonfiction writers, use your imagination while trying the exercise, then ask: How is this person I've just written about similar or different to someone in my book? (This brings your freewrite back to factual truth, which is essential for these genres. But the imaginative qualities of fiction-writing will open doors you won't believe!)