I attended an amazing writing workshop by author Drusilla Campbell. Aside from a great discussion of her newest book, Little Girl Gone, Drusilla gave so many great writing techniques. The first writing practice we did was called the “To Be” practice. Essentially, you use the words “To be” at the beginning of seven sentences to describe yourself in different ways. By doing this, you learn so much more about people than the typical, “Hi, my name is …” All the workshop participants completed this exercise and read aloud.
Here’s my “to be” practice with a few more than seven sentences.
To be Leah … you must be a mother who loves her daughter so much it sometimes makes her cry.
To be Leah … you have to wonder how you can love said daughter so much yet you count the minutes until she goes to bed at night.
To be Leah … you know there’s an entire next chapter of your life waiting to begin.
To be Leah … you literally feel the power and happiness that words bring to your life.
To be Leah … you have to like pets because there are two dogs and two cats sleeping on your bed.
To be Leah … you know anxiety and fear are the best motivators.
To be Leah … you have to crave solitude and love the hours of 9 p.m. to midnight when the house is surrounded in sleep (with the exception of Leah).
This is also a great technique to try with characters you are writing. One thing Drusilla pointed out is how you start to see contradictions within the sentences. And contradictions are what make people (and characters) interesting.
So are you ready “to be” you? Let me know if you give it a try.