- Do a free write of prose, a Person/Place/Action exercise, or a Step-By-Step Story.
- Distill the text down to a 30-Word-Story (or fewer words not counting a title). What is the essence of what you are saying?
- Give the text a Working Title. You can change it later. (Thanks to Charles Hobson for this concept.)
- Create a grid that is 5 x 6. Put one word in each box near the top of the box.
- Examine each word separately and see if it is the best word, or if you can find a livelier or better choice. Write new words under the old words.
- Circle all of the best words, one in each box.
- Copy over the revised story and use it in a book, if you like, or send it off to the Safety Pin Review.
- Try the exercise with the grid again, this time completely changing the words, not just using synonyms, but looking at parts of speech: try a new noun for your original one, a new verb, etc..
See how different words change the meaning and how they contain emotions within them. For example, suppose you use the word "seeing." It could be replaced by: looking, noticing, glancing, ogling, examining, spying, understanding, or watching. Which one has the right emotional resonance for what you are trying to say?