Last night I had an idea during my evening meditation for something I could do to help improve my writing. I would’ve done it earlier in the day, but I’ve been busy since today was the second day of classes. But now I have some time since I finished my homework and I thought I’d share my idea and its fruits before I start cooking dinner.

My idea was to write a short little piece of writing–maybe 1-3 paragraphs–whose sole purpose was to tell a scary story in as few words as possible. Basically, it’s an exercise in scaring people in as few words as possible. BOO!

Why am I doing this? Several reasons: one is that if I can write these vignettes and see how people react, I can get a better grasp on how to polish up my craft in terms of writing and scaring. The second reason is that any one of these little vignettes could lead to a full-length story, should I find them helpful enough in the story writing, if I particularly enjoyed the story depicted within, and if reader response is positive enough. And finally, it’s also a marketing ploy. Yes, a shameful marketing ploy. I’m hoping that if people react positively to these exercises, I can get them interested in my longer works, like The Quiet Game or Reborn City (out November 1st).

I hope to get these out once a week, giving me time to come up with new ones and so that people don’t get sick of them. I also plan to list all the Weekly Exercises on its own separate page, with every exercise listed with the most recent first. I hope at least I’ll benefit from these exercises, and so will my readers in the long run.

So without further ado, here’s Weekly Exercise #1:

She was awoken by the baby screaming and immediately closed her eyes, hoping it would quiet on its own. When it didn’t, she threw the covers off and got her robe on. Was there a night that it would just leave her be? She’d never wanted this stupid thing that couldn’t take care of itself, and it was reminding her of that every night with its ceaseless screaming. Well no more. Either it shut up tonight or she would shut it up for it!

She reached the baby’s room, her fingers clenching and unclenching, ready to strangle it or snap its neck for some decent sleep. But then she saw the baby floating in the air, fast asleep. And then she realized that the screaming she’d heard wasn’t coming from the baby’s room anymore. It was coming from behind her.

  1. Michael Ungar says:

    Creepy start to a story….

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