#WritingAdviceWednesday – Writing Exercise: Risky Business

Writing Advice Wednesday

If you like these writing exercises, they form part of my One Hour Screenwriter course. Go from the shred of an idea to 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 a variety of writers.

This week, you and your character will be taking a gamble:

Describe a chance you took

Sit back and remember your most risky behavior. It could be an act of rebellion, a gamble (successful or unsuccessful), a brief adventure, a moment of daring, a crazy scheme, a wild leap of faith, a transgression, a crime, or any other reckless activity.

What exactly did you do? Did you get away with it? What consequences did you pay? Was it worth the risk? Or did you have regrets?

Describe as completely as you can a situation when you left caution to the wind. Who or what prompted you to undertake this dicey activity?

Was anyone else involved? What was their contribution to the situation? How did you feel before, during and after taking the chance you took?

Can you remember what the day was like and what you wore? What are your other sense memories (sight, sound, and feeling) of that risky moment in your life? How did the situation or activity engage all your emotions?

Did you make a personal leap of faith to do this? Did the activity make you feel stronger or more confident?

Did it make you feel foolish? Was there a letdown afterward? Was there relief? Was there exhilaration? Write about everything you felt.

Was this activity something you agonized about and summoned the courage to undertake over time, or was it an impulsive action taken in the heat of the moment?

What made the experience memorable?

Take 10 to 15 minutes to complete this exercise. Do not censor yourself; write whatever comes to mind. Don’t be worried about being articulate, artistic or interesting, just write. Let your memories flow freely.

Now write this exercise from your character’s point of view. What is the riskiest thing your character does in the story? How does that make your character feel?

Ask your character the same questions above. Your character should have several risky moments in the story. What are they?

Video Essay of the Week

Tony Gilroy creates something unforgettable with the film Nightcrawler. The video essay talks about “empathy” but I believe the key is vulnerability.  We are interested in a sociopathic character because we see flashes of his vulnerability (his desperation driving him to take more and more risks in pursuit of a story – and keep his job),

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, things take a more romantic turn…

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

– Laurie



  1. Reply Rosie Dean 11th October 2017

    Reading this, it dawns on me how far I am from being a risk taker…

    • Reply Laurie Hutzler 11th October 2017

      Hi Rosie– Baby steps! Go out today and do something unexpected.