Like to Write?  Nonfiction Writing Workshop for Beginners    back to opening page 

Week three

In this exercise we are going to use human behavior itself as a topic.  Since we can't talk about everything humans do (and shouldn't try) we are going to narrow it down to certain specific customs.  What customs?  It is going to be up to you.

Follow the warmup prompts and you should get the idea.

warmups--to be done as before.

1.  Something your father (or mother, or grandfather, or grandmother, or some other adult you remember well from your childhood) did, without being required to, on a regular basis.  The more regular the better.

2.  Something you presently do on a regular basis without being required..

3.  Something you have observed others doing on a regular basis, without being required.

4. A custom you have observed a non-human creature following.

Have a bit of fun writing these up.  Keep loose and don't torture your sentences.
Send the results off to me.  If I have time I'll comment.

 paul pekin

The full length exercise:


You are going to go for at least 1000 words, so figure you will need a few extra things to talk about. 

Let's try an example:

There was a custom in my home town that didn't really have a name, but it involved drinking after work.  Men, blue collar working men for the most part, would stop in the neighborhood tavern with their friends after work.  Sometimes they would forget to come home.  Eventually their wives, knowing full well where they were, would call the tavern.  The bartender would answer and call out to the crowd.  'Is Joe here?"  And Joe would reply,  "I'm not here."

Oh well, this is not much of a custom.  But oh, how it brings back memories.  It brings back people I remember, some long dead, and places I remember, some now torn down, or remodeled.  It brings back a whole way of life that is so different from my present way of life that I could well write about it.

In short, in writing about this custom, I will ramble a bit.

Don't let anyone tell you that rambling is a bad thing.  As long as you find your way back to the place where you began, go for it.

Obviously, this is an exercise that asks you to have some fun with it.  But it can be done quite seriously to.

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