Multiple jigsaw pieces to represent structure and piecing a story together

If you’re struggling with structure in your creative writing, try some of these exercises to help:

  1. Write three paragraphs beginning with the word ‘yesterday’. Then write another three paragraphs starting with ‘the day before yesterday.’ Finally write three more paragraphs beginning with the word ‘today’.
  2. Think up five story endings. Then pick one and work out how to get there.
  3. Start and end with a declaration. E.g. “I knew I was right. They’re lying. I know I’m telling the truth.”
  4. Write three paragraphs about a character getting up in the morning. Then write three about what happened to them in the afternoon. Finish by describing the thoughts that go through their head before they fall asleep.
  5. Write one page each on a childhood dream; middle aged reality and a deathbed scene of the same character.
  6. Begin with a character with a normal life. Reveal a secret that changes their life totally. Finish with their life one-year on.
  7. Write a dramatic opening scene – a crisis, a physical event, a shock of some sort.
  8. Write a descriptive opening passage to create a warm, complacent or dark and harrowing mood.
  9. Turning points: Think of opposite reactions of a character to an event. Write a piece that swings from one extreme to another.
  10. Think of a character. Write the worst possible case scenario.
  11. Write a story that occurs on a bus/train/boat/plane. Begin with getting on, finish with getting off.
  12. Write a story that ends with “And that’s how I became a star.”
  13. Think of three times in history, three places in the world and link them together in a story.
  14. Start with an ending and write how the character got there – i.e. A flashback.
  15. Start with “This is the happiest/scariest/funniest/weirdest story you have ever heard.”
  16. Start with, “It was never meant to happen like that.
  17. Start with, “I knew it was all over when…”
  18. Write three paragraphs on the beginning of the world, three paragraphs on any moment in history and three on the imaginary end of the world.
  19. Choose an object, e.g. a plant, a pet, a mobile phone, and write a story in which the start begins with its purchase and ends with it being abandoned.

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