World of Words - writercize #15

Tonight I want to get inside your head a little bit.  I want you to pause and share the thoughts and feelings that waft through you as you embark on the memory of a very normal bit of everyday life. 

If you can harness the emotion and thought process of something simple in your own life, imagine how aware you could be of a fictional character you create or how deep you could go in examining a real person. 
In writing a story, you may not write about something as mundane as, say, grocery shopping, but if you know your character and have developed them in your mind, you should know how they would act in that grocery store.  You should know which aisles they'll skip and where they'll spend time, if they check the boxes for calories and corn syrup, whether they use self check-out or thrive on the 15-second banter with the checker.  You should imagine if they park close to the door or prefer to walk through the lot, whether they choose paper, plastic or bring reusable bags.  These things matter in understanding your character's environment and general outlook on life.  They may not make your story's final cut, or even a first draft, but it warrants the imagination to know who you are writing about.

writing exercise: Take a deep breath, and prepare to immerse yourself for just a moment in a recent memory, one of a place that every writer enters at some point.  You walk into your favorite bookstore, that world of words waiting to be discovered.  What do you notice, feel, smell, think?  Write a paragraph about those thoughts and feelings.

(Click "read more" to see writercizer sample response.)

writercizer response:

Powell's Bookstore

I throw open the doors to my favorite maze on earth, Powell's Bookstore, the self-proclaimed largest used bookstore in the world, located right in the heart of Portland, OR.  Glancing around, I revel in the beehive of activity, endless swarms of people weaving in and out of aisles, filling bags with stories and lessons written down by someone who once loved the story enough to write it down and imagine a stranger reading those words and sharing that imaginary moment in time.  It makes me smile.  It makes me breathe deeply.  I smell the light scent of must mixed with rain boots and coffee and feel giddy with wonder at what treasure I may find.  

I know whatever time-space continuum exists in the outside world cannot possibly permeate these walls.  The endless rows of books, stacked so high I would need four of myself stacked one atop the other to reach them all, for three floors up, down and around filling an entire city block, call to me, so I slip off my jacket and settle in for the long haul.  Ahhhh.

(writercizer note:  if you haven't visited Powell's Bookstore, go next time you are in Portland!!  It is an experience you won't regret.)


  1. I LOVE Powell's. I took my journalism students there when we were at a convention once, and we couldn't get enough of it. :)

  2. I know, it's the greatest! It is literally impossible for me to walk out of there without a bag full of goodies - I never know what I'll randomly discover. Love it.


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