#WritingAdviceWednesday – Writing Exercises: Taking Out the Trash

Writing Advice Wednesday

I hope you’ve been enjoying Writing Advice Wednesday for the last few months, but I’m trying something different for the rest of the year’s posts. As well as a relevant video essay I’ve found, I’ll be giving you writing exercises to perform, if you’re keen to either get some practice, or need some motivations to start a new script or novel. It’s exercises like this that form part of my One Hour Screenwriter course, which will help you write an entire feature film script in 22 weeks. You can purchase it at the shop here. You can also read testimonies here that show my methods have worked for plenty of other people.

This week, your rubbish. That’s right, yours!

Describe what your trash says about you

Objects can define people. What people buy, what they own, what they use, what they keep and what they throw away can tell a very interesting and illuminating story.

Take a look into your own trash can (not your wastebasket, the big barrel you haul out to the street). Or, if you live in an apartment building, the bags you dump down the garbage chute.

Mentally examine the items in your personal garbage. Pretend you are an archeologist or an anthropologist.

What does this garbage reveal about your lifestyle, ethnicity, gender or marital status? What clues about your love life are in the trash?

What does the trash say about your income level?

How could the garbage be a clue to how much money you spend?

What does the trash say about the composition of your household? What kinds of personal and family clues are in the garbage barrel?

What kinds of food items are in the barrel or trash bags? Are there the leavings of home-cooked meals, convenience foods or take- away containers? Are there any junk foods, fast food or snack items? What kinds?

What was wasted? What was used up except for a few crumbs or dribbles? What does the garbage say about your culinary skills?

What does it reveal about your time pressures or stress levels?

What kinds of papers or packaging materials are in the trash? What does the garbage say about your purchasing habits? How “green” are you?

If someone rooted around would they find personal correspondence in the trash? What about bills? Could someone tell if you are in debt by looking at the trash? How?

What does trash say about your health? Drinking habits? Personal hygiene? Vanity? Pets? Children? Secrecy or security precautions?

Could someone tell if you are male or female by looking at your garbage? How? What would tip them off?

Now write about what’s in your character’s garbage? What would your character’s discarded items tells us? Answer all the above questions for your character? How do trash items define your character?

Discuss your character’s household and personal habits based solely on the items found in the garbage. Be specific.

Can you write a comic scenario involving your character’s garbage? Can you write a sad or serious scenario?

Can your write a scenario where your character has a profound realization, makes an important discovery or has a personal epiphany by looking at or emptying the trash?

Video Essay of the Week

You’d be surprised how much an exercise like this will reveal- Film & Stuff’s excellent essay on a scene from The Incredibles backs up what I’m talking about:

Let me know what you think of this week’s writing exercise by emailing me at ETBHelp@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you as we go forward with more of these writing exercises. Next week, you’ll be provoked…

Until then, remember- all you need to do is Get Started and Keep Going!

– Laurie

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