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

Week Two

A Person
(title of the completed exercise will be the person's name)


Jack Spratt
The man who ate no fat


Junior (big boy) Dummenkopf
The laziest man I have ever known

warm up exercises:

How to do them:

1.  Do them all before you even think about doing the main exercise.

2.  Write at least a paragraph on each.  Don't just respond to the prompt, take advantage of it.

3.  Write quickly, five minutes per prompt.  If you really get interested in one of the warmup exercises, you can use it for the main exercise.

4. Pay attention to detail.  See physical objects, colors.  Hear sounds.  Smell smells. Touch textures.  Focus upon images.

The Prompts.

The strongest person you have ever seen

The oldest person you have ever talked to

A person you try to avoid

A person who tries to avoid you

Write these up, and go on to the main exercise

 mail your images

Turn Page

The Full Exercise
(an example)

Sol Leverman

"We do things different here."

Sol Leverman was shorter than his two sons, shorter than his daughter, shorter than any man who ever worked for him, and there were a lot of them.  He would come out of his office, arms folded over his chest, a large, one might call it immense, cigar clenched in his jaws, and survey the business he had built.


The paragraph above is an example of how I might begin a profile, in this case of a man I once worked for. 

Let's try another:

Henry Williams

When Henry Williams came out of the police academy, he was already 43 years old.  He was built right for a cop, tall, but not so tall as to be gangly,  and muscular in a loose and graceful way.  He didn't look like a rookie, not at all.  When he stepped out of a squad car and approached a "subject" that "subject" somehow found the means to be polite.

The paragraph above is an example of how I might begin a profile of a man I once worked with.

In both of these examples, I  fictionalized my person.  That is to say, I changed his  name and would, if I were to continue, change certain details.  Enough to protect the identify of the original. You may do the same if you wish. 

 why fictionalize?