Wednesday Writing Exercise: The Encyclopedia Entry


It’s easy to become too close to a story; to its characters. And when you’re too close to it and them, you stop to notice so much when things clang or stutter, or when those characters start acting out.

It’s also very easy to get your timeline mixed up or to forget that your character has a back story, an important one. It’s important because it’s what makes them them. And you want them to be them, right?

The first exercise will help you with all of that.

The second is just really fun.


If you’re currently working on a novel

Draft a Wikipedia entry for your main character as if they are a real person, now in old age. Using a neutral third-person voice, write sections detailing their early life, education, career and personal life, as well as the events of the novel.

You’ll never need all the information you come up with, but setting it out in order, with dates, can help you map out your story in your head. Writing about the character in the detached, academic style of Wikipedia will also help you see how they, and their actions, might appear to a third party – and to your reader.


If you’re in between WIPs, or you feel like doing something new


Hit the random article option on Wikipedia. You get three spins.

Write a short story of up to 2,000 words using one of its three suggestions.


That’s it for this week. We’re off to pen our epic about Cheltenham Wildlife Management Area. Or Grandview, Oklahoma (pop. 394). Happy writing!

We have new creative writing exercises for you every Wednesday. And if you can’t wait a whole week, join us every Friday morning for our QuickFic competition – write a story based on that week’s prompt for a chance to win a stack of books.


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