Will six of you writers join me in this group writing exercise? This week I have been reading essays in Creating Fiction: Instruction and Insights from teachers of the Associated Writing Programs, edited by Julie Checkoway. At the back of the book are several writing exercises. Writing exercises can pull out powerful material buried deep inside us. But like flossing, I often fight doing them. But not today.

Dinty Moore, Penn State Altoona, contributed this exercise. He says that that the resultant seven-sentence stories are strained and inelegant. But that they help us break away from predictability and familiar plots.

1. Write first sentence, introducing one character.
2. Introduce second character and establish conflict.
3. Problem grows more complex.
4. First character speaks.
5. Second character speaks.
6. Climax
7. Resolution

Okay – don’t leave me hanging. Here’s my first sentence. Next poster writes sentence one and adds number two and so on.

1. Sixteen year old Sarah Janson snuck out of her parents’ house every night.