Poetry Writing Exercises 203: Wednesday 16th October

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

203 horseshoe 533405You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: key, booze, unhinged, giveaway, currency
  2. Random: looking for something
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Sentence start: The drums…

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!


  • Don’t forget your five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell
  • Show don’t tell: if your character is angry, don’t tell us he is, have him thumping his fist on the table.
  • Colours: Include at least one colour in your story. It does add depth.
  • Use strong verbs and avoid adverbs: Have a character striding instead of walking confidently.
  • Only use repetition to emphasise.
  • When you’ve finished the first draft, read the story out loud. It’s surprising how many ‘mistakes’ leap out at you when you read out loud… assuming you have any of course!

Pictures courtesy of morguefile.com

I love to talk about writing so feel free to email me. I’ll be pasting these prompts in this blog’s Facebook Group so you may find some other comments there.

If you’d like to submit a poem for critique on this site, see Submissions. The other critique writing groups are:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Thank you for reading this and we look forward to your comments.


7 responses to “Poetry Writing Exercises 203: Wednesday 16th October

  1. Pingback: Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 16 October 2013 | Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog

  2. WASP

    Small, below palm sized
    the power in it leaves me unhinged
    never one for the booze bottle
    my inability to sleep without the wont to scratch
    its venom having traveled a key hole
    first my finger then silvered the back
    my hand’s currency shredded
    I swallow a non drowsy label
    those words a giveaway;
    twilight noon time a certainty.

  3. I love this. I had to read it more than once, it’s so intricate. Thank you, Lenore. I’ve mentioned your poem on the Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/388850977875934/

  4. Thank you very much. I appreciate the word prompts: never, never expected that the word booze would fit into my poetry!

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