When the Slushbusters began a couple of years ago, we did a writing exercise at the end of every meeting. The group grew. Submissions got longer and we got more of them. We got to be less regular about writing at meetings. Stephanie would say, "and tonight we're gonna do a writing exercise." But we critiqued until Panera started turning out the lights on us and it didn't happen. And then Steph's writing exercise became a kind of inside joke, which is unfair really, since she has our best interest at heart.
I have a spiral notebook specifically dedicated to these exercises, and I date them. It had been fourteen months since our last group writing exercise. (I imagine the Slushies are gasping in shock as they read this. "Really? That long?")
Last night the drought broke. After we all commented on how well drawn Lisa's new characters were, she mentioned that she had written a list of character traits to help her develop them. "I read it on a blog," she said. Sarah had seen it too. So we all did it as an exercise. Each of us wrote 20-25 traits for one of our characters. We read them aloud. Steph wrote hers in first person in full sentences, like a journal entry complete with how the MC feels about these facts. Alison learned that she doesn't know JoAnna as well as she thought she did. Joan seems to know her MC pretty well. And I found out that mine has a tendency to mix weird food combinations, like cottage cheese and peanut butter. Who knew?
Thanks to Sarah for finding the original blog post and emailing it to us later on.