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January 9: Using third person, write about a moment when a character who usually feels (and perhaps is) painfully awkward temporarily feels singularly beautiful, handsome, sexy, and at ease.
January 10: Make a list of 20 angry words—they can be words related to anger or words that just sound mad. Now write about something you love/cherish/revere using as many of these words as you can.
January 11: Frame story: Two people are in the midst of an intense moment—a break-in, a breakup, a breakdown. At the height of the dramatic action, one person illustrates a point by
offering an anecdote about a similar situation. Delve briefly but deeply into that example, giving it as much richness as the framing narrative. Then return to your original story about the two characters. Don’t worry about neatly resolving their tale, but explore if the anecdote has changed the pair…
January 12 from Aimee Bender (author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake): Very quickly, write down a list of ten locations. Pick #3. Set two characters in this location, and use one of the objects you might easily find in this location. Let the two characters talk a lot about this object, or these objects. (If it’s a diner, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich. If it’s a meadow, a daisy chain.) Put them in a situation where they have to use this object. But one of the characters isn’t saying everything he/she is feeling. There’s a secret underneath, but the character will not reveal it. You may not even know what it is at first. Let this tension come out in how they talk about the object, without building to a big ‘reveal’.Try it again, with location #7.
January 13: Dance break: Narrate a character’s thoughts while he or she is in the midst of some serious dancing. (The character can be the most reluctant hoofer ever or Balanchine himself, but in this moment, this guy is getting down.)