Toward revision

Consider this exercise from the making of a story by Alice LaPlante:

  • Write about an event in your character’s past without which the current situation couldn’t exist.
  • Write about the current situation from the point of view of a character looking back from ten years in the future.
  • Make a list of the things that won’t happen to the characters as a result of the current situation. (554)

Write a note to yourself about how knowledge from this exercise might inform your revision plans.

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The mystery in your draft

Consider exercise #197 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley:

Embracing the mystery. Write a brief description of something you do not understand about the story or novel you are working on. It is quite likely you’ll begin to understand this mystery as you write it down, but try to avoid coming to a conclusion as long as possible. Describe the mystery as carefully as you can, leaving out explanations and rationalizations. (239)

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I am your draft. AMA.

Consider this Q and A exercise from Brian Kiteley’s outstanding The 3 A.M. Epiphany.

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2250 Names

From the outstanding Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively by Hans Ostrom, Wendy Bishop, and Katherine Haake, consider this exercise about names.

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Poems as dialogue

From David Starkey’s excellent Creative Writing,

Read published poems . . . and respond to them with poems of your own. It doesn’t matter whether you respond to the subject of the other person’s poem or just a single line or image. Generally it’s most effective to find the moment of maximum energy or tension in the published poem. Identify what excites you about the poem, then make the same thing happen in your own work.

Try this using either a favorite poem or one of the “2250 Five poems” at

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Poems as letters

From David Starkey’s excellent Creative Writing,

Write a poem in the form of a letter. Richard Hugo’s book 31 Letters and 13 Dreams is a great source for these types of poems. Hugo addresses poems to close old friends and to newer fiends he doesn’t yet know well. He brings these people detailed news of his own life and asks for information about their world. However, because the letter is in the form of a poem, Hugo condenses what he has to say and present the material as eloquently—and as imagistically—as possible.

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2250 Five poems

Consider these five poems.

We will talk about them in more detail during class.

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