Tag Archives: writing exercises

1 to 20

So I met Valerie Parv the other day, my mentor extraordinaire/fairy godmother for the next year. It’s quite an experience getting your novel critiqued by a pro. Humbling, terrifying and exciting. I glimpsed the novel it could be, which I hadn’t even considered before – to me it just was what it was.

One of the best pieces of practical advice she gave me for finding solutions to problems was: Write the numbers 1 to 20 down a page and come up with 20 possible scenarios.

Possible outcomes from using this technique:

1. I write the best novel in the world.

2. My novel ends up with lists in it.

3. I break the literary mould and win the Man Booker.

4. My hero spends more time climbing in and out of windows than is strictly necessary.

5. Ditto singing inappropriate songs/discovering long-lost half-siblings.

6.  My staring-at-the-screen time will quadruple.

7. I will despair that I have far too little imagination to be a writer by about number 7 when I can’t think of any more scenarios.

8. I will learn to push through my limitations.

9. I will sit at my desk and laugh and say “Limitations? I don’t know the meaning of the word!”

10. My laughter may or may not turn maniacal.

11. Valerie Parv will be called to the asylum to explain herself (with magic wand in hand, one hopes).

12. Ich schreib’ meine Liste ganz auf Deutsch.

13. My hero comes back from war wounded in his soul.

14 My heroine has an uncanny affinity for wounded animals.

15. Oh, wait…isn’t that a Lisa Kleypas novel?

16. By about 16 my doubt turns to despair.

17. I realise that setting my Regency Romance novel in space is the best idea I have ever had.

18. It will be like Steam Punk on steroids/in a spacesuit.

19. I do the exercise and new bits of my brain open up.

20. I close the scary doors and use the rest to my advantage.