This is a writing prompt from Charlotte Nash.

We'd love to see how you go with this prompt - to receive free, anonymous feedback on your work, head to the workshops (and if you're new, here's a how-to). Remember to include "WP" in your title, so we know it's a writing prompt response!


Image source: Flickr / Vern

I've been extraordinarily lucky in my career to have opportunities to teach students in creative writing - partly because I love teaching, and partly because I learn so much from my students. One of the things that early writers often could work on is playing with language - stretching the boundaries of the sorts of words we often reach for. That's what this exercise is about - just one paragraph to stretch your language muscle. 

Here it is: write a single paragraph, focusing only on the sounds of the words you're employing - use similar sounds, odd sounds, words that come from the edges of your mental library. Strip the story out and put the words in. Do it before you begin to write for the day to stimulate the word part of your brain.

An example is included below from the first time I did this exercise, but you should do your own before you read it - this makes sure that it's your voice coming through.

Also, thanks to my dear writing sister Sally, from whom the idea originally came.

Crumble is cake and mountain slide, down, down into cavernous cowling, blistering frost this crevasse that needles deeper than divers, fathoms below where crush prevents breath space, leaves ooze and dead fall. It starts as a skittering, pebbles a-tinkering; then growling guttural, rockbed shuck, through air with whistling; crescendo Doppler rush. Strikes ice and fractures, interface tussle, foam and decelerate. Then long, slow, languid fall, buoyant but sinking, verdant and fading, azure become inky, til the earth meets seafloor, remembering, the crumble before.


Charlotte Nash is the bestselling author of romantic Australian fiction novels, and 14 speculative fiction short stories, spanning multiple genres. She teaches creative writing at The University of Queensland.


We look forward to reading your work!

samvanz's picture


Sam van Zweden was Writers Bloc’s Online Editor from 2013 - 2015. A Melbourne-based writer and blogger, her work has appeared in The Big Issue, Voiceworks, Tincture Journal, Page seventeen, and others. She’s passionate about creative nonfiction and cross stitch. She tweets @samvanzweden.