Writing Dares: The 2012 Edition

Is your interest in your story guttering away? Let’s rekindle it with the very first volume of the Writing Dare Collection. Go on... I dare you!

We’ve all been there: the scene is guttering like a candle in the wind and now the entire story threatens to fade away before your eyes. Your writing has lost the spark that kept it alive, kept it absorbing and dynamic and fresh. You need to return that spark to it if you want the story and your interest in it to survive. But how?

Allow me to introduce the writing dare. It courts conflict. It’s unexpected. It’s different. And it’s what’s going to rekindle your sputtering scene.

What is a writing dare? It might be a line, a secret, a character, an animal, an event... The list goes on. Your challenge is to include as many or as few of them in your story as you want.

Interested? If so, then...

Writers, I dare you to...

Introduce a character who knows your main character's darkest secret. What will your protagonist do to make sure that secret is never exposed?

Include an outbreak of sickness or plague in your story. How will this affect the characters? Will one of them catch it?

Have your protagonist caught in the middle of a torrential downpour.

If your story takes place somewhere hot, add some camels. And some camel spit. Everyone loves to hate camel spit.

Use a line from the last song you listened to in the next chapter of your story.

Wherever your characters are, whatever they're doing, add a fight scene to your novel right now!

Have your protagonist wrongly accused of something. Bonus points if they are imprisoned for it!

A circus rolls into town. Your protagonist finds that their long lost love/relative/friend is part of it—against their will. What happens next?

Send a white rabbit running through your next scene.

Write a scene in which lots happens—action, conflict, intense mental battles, whatever you want—but no one speaks.

Send an angry mob/badger on a rampage through your next scene.

Give a minor character a terrible secret, one that your protagonist just has to figure out.

Take your current scene and ask: 'What if...?' Use the first thought that comes to mind and run with that.

Take your characters to a derelict library.

Ye gods, what is that horrible smell? Let your characters decide in your next scene.

Write a scene in which you describe the sea to a blind person (character can be blind from birth or became blind later in life—your choice).

Introduce a character who could be described as a 'rapscallion', 'rascal' or 'rogue' in your next chapter.

Have a character kidnapped in the next scene.

Give your character a sugar rush and wreak havoc.

Have a character lose a sense (e.g., sight, hearing) or the ability to speak, either permanently or briefly. How do they cope?

The Writing Dare Archives
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