Concrete Detail

Erika Hayes, Author – Write like a reader, read like a writer and edit like a beast!


Epiphany: an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. A revealing scene or moment

Deep in the trenches of writing, the words swirling around, intoxicating.  Fingers can barely keep up with the movement of the story.  Characters are both troubled and witty, they climb the arc you’ve created and the scenes are seamlessly flowing together. The bliss is real.

Then there are those times that you sit BICFOK, (butt in chair, fingers on keyboard) and nothing.  The silence even successfully eliminating the chirping of imagined crickets.  Inner critic pointing out every plot hiccup, how very flat that character seems, the arc resembles a flatline and the dialogue is dead.

That is when you need to be direct.  Writing Prompts are fantastic for getting us started and even creating new pieces but what about those times when you need to work on particular aspects of the craft?  When you are entrenched in a piece and you are desperate to complete, not move on to something new.

I am happy to say I have a few suggestions for you.

  1. The 3 am Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  2. The 4 am Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction.  (A companion to the 3 am Epiphany.)

Both of these books are written by Brian Kiteley and are available on Amazon.  I read about these books in the DIY MFA, also available on Amazon and am again grateful to Gabriella Pereira for introducing me to these amazing books.  What makes these two books of writing exercises effective is the manner in which it is designed.  In both of these books are writing exercises that are broken into elements of the craft.

This helps us to work on the specific issue we are struggling with inside our work.  Just picking a writing prompt at random will not help a writer work through the element that is troubling.  Some of the items elements covered in The 3 am Epiphany include: thirteen different exercises for Point of View, ten for Images, Characters and Ways of Seeing has almost twenty and many more.

I am including the topics inside The 3 am Epiphany, these can also be seen using the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon.

Exercises include:

Point of View, Images, Characters and Ways of Seeing, Women and Men, Children and Childhood, Conversations, Thought and Emotion, Biography and Autobiography, Time, History, Description, Sentences–Butting Up Against Eachother, Other People’s Sentences, Play and Games, Sports, Work, Humor, Travel, Internal Structure, Exercises for Stories in Progress.

I believe all writers can benefit from these two books.  I suggest that you take time to read the introduction as it better explains different ways to utilize the books.  There are several other focus-driven writing prompt books that I am sure I will discuss another day.  I have been editing and inside that process, I have found these exercises continue to help build my writing muscles in areas that were weak in my manuscript.


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