Last September I blogged about a book called "What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers." One exercise asked the writer to kill a dog. The thought being if an actor can portray a serial killer with realism, writers must be able to write about things they have never done and may never do -- rob a bank, rule a country, kill a dog.
My nephew, Hunter, also a writer, is living with us this summer. He and I kind of moped around most of the day, not really wanting to do anything but not wanting to sit around either. We both knew we should be reading or writing but hey, sometimes it's hard to be motivated on a lazy Saturday.
When he suggested we try an exercise from the "What If?" book, I thought it'd be fun to do a timed writing prompt with him. He chose the 'kill the dog' exercise. The pressure of a 30-minute exercise really jumpstarted my creativity and motivation to write. I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting short story. (I killed two pitt bulls with rat poison pressed into a raw rump roast. Hunter killed a jack russell terrier by wrapping its legs in electrical tape and then backing up over it with a car. You really need to read the full stories.)
I'm looking forward to more writing exercises this week at the Taos Writers' Conference.