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15 Words to Prove That You Are Unique – Writing Exercise

Picture of man and girl with words You are unique

You Are Unique Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

“15 Words to Prove That You Are Unique – Writing Exercise” by Joan Y. Edwards

You Are Unique. Your experiences make you different from others. You have different likes and dislikes.

If you have a snack bag filled with multi-colored M&Ms, each of you might choose the same color to eat, once or twice, but probably not with the entire snack bag of candy. If you made a design with the M&Ms before you ate them, your designs would be different. Why? You have different likes and dislikes. (Personal aside: You can personalize M&Ms for special occasions: http://www.mymms.com/default.aspx?)

Below are 15 words to use in this writing exercise. Even though each of you uses the same 15 words, the stories you write will be different. Your life experiences and interests decide what you write. Start a new story, add to an old story, or write freely as it comes to you, but try to use all 15 words in your passage.

Although the words are the same, the passages may differ in the following:

  • Genre
  • Characters
  • Dialogue
  • Conflicts
  • Senses
  • Emotion
  • Time
  • Place
  • Weather

There are verbs, nouns, and adjectives. I used http://www.wordgenerator.net to help me choose these words.

Find exercises to stimulate your brain and put life into your writing in a book called, Writing Open the Mind by Andy Couturier: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Open-Mind-Tapping-Subconscious/dp/1569754764/. Using random words stirs up wondrous experiences and helps you create passages filled with life.

This is a great exercise for writing groups that meet either online or in person. We did this exercise in our Savvy Wordsmiths Writing Group meeting in Fort Mill, SC. No one used the same characters or situations. If you and another person have the same idea for a book, it will not turn out the same. Why? It will be different because each person is different. Enjoy being you. You are unique and a blessing to our world. Write and enjoy it.

Try this exercise. Ask a friend to try it, too. Compare your stories. I’ll bet they will be unique.

Directions for this writing exercise:

  1. Get out a sheet of paper (or open a new file on your computer)
  2. Print out this blog post.
  3. Take one minute to read, study, and think about the 15 words.
  4. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
  5. Write for 15 minutes making an effort to use all 15 words in your passage.
  6. Read your passage aloud at the end of your 15 minutes.

Enjoy yourself. You are a Master Writer. You have a gift. Go for it.

15 Words for This Writing Exercise

  1. spirited
  2. evaluate
  3. post office
  4. indulge
  5. newscaster
  6. muscle
  7. barrel
  8. incredulous
  9. slippery
  10. advertise
  11. annex
  12. sapling
  13. unveil
  14. tongue
  15. photograph

Now compare what you wrote with the passage I wrote at our writing group in the comments area. Please do the exercise before you read my comment passage.

If you’re willing to share your passage, copy and paste it into the comment area. It will be fun to read the variety of passages.

If you want to do this type of exercise again, you can choose 15 words at random from newspapers, magazines, wordsearch puzzles, or crossword puzzles, or your favorite books. Enjoy being you.

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Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards


15 Responses

  1. Here’s what I wrote using as many of the 15 words as I could during 15 minutes.

    Exercise passage written by Joan Y. Edwards Copyright 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

    Tim, the newscaster, went to mail his car payment at the post office. He thought it was unusual, but the sign on the barrel said, “Deposit your mail here for free delivery.”

    He wasn’t a young sapling, but he knew that kind of deal was incredulous. He’d never seen the post office advertise that way before. He had to evaluate the situation before he would put his hard-earned money for a payment into a barrel.

    On the barrel was a photgraph of a postman with a big protruding muscle on his arm.

    Tim noticed a lock on the barrel that said, “Made in China.” That made him decide it definitely wasn’t a legitimate mailbox.

    Feeling quite spirited, he indulged himself and dropped his letter in the regular blue mailbox. He never did unveil the reason for the barrel.

    I hope you had fun doing this exercise.

    Celebrate your uniqueness.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards


  2. Joan,
    I didn’t follow the exercise rules exactly but I did brainstorm on it a bit. My thoughts were to have an out-of-work newscaster take a temporary job at the post office. He had to sort barrels of mail. By the end of the day, he was considering becomming a photographer.

    Some workshops/writing resources suggest doing something similar to help a sagging section in a manuscript. How about the one you mentioned?


    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you did the exercise. It’s okay if you didn’t follow the exercise rules exactly.
      I guess the newscaster in your story, got so tired of barrels, that he decided even being a photographer would be better than that. Thanks for sharing your writing.
      Yes, I think doing an exercise similar to this would help a sagging manuscript. I believe the book, Writing Open the Mind, says so, too.
      Have a great day. Celebrate you!
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  3. Hi Joan . Here is my attempt to use all the words.

    The incredulous photograph in the post office had a mean spirited air about it. The men with muscle and the suspicious barrel that lingered on a tilt lead me to evaluate the photograph as something more than just a product they would advertise. The newscaster who flapped his tongue in blab about the reason it was in the post office in the first place seemed to indulge in the fact that the painting contained a sapling of slippery sticky sap that oozed on to the ground. He said this was an annex of ideas that they were to unveil later that evening at a gala.

    Susan Hornbach


    • Dear Susan,
      Thanks for reading my blog and for leaving a comment. Thanks especially for sharing the passage you wrote in an attempt to use all the words. I love that you had the newscaster flap his tongue! Awesome use of words. Your description of sticky sap that oozed onto the ground sounds just like sap does. I hope you have a wonderful day!

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


      • Thanks Joan.


        • You are very welcome.


  4. Thanks Joan. I’ll give it a try. Sarah


    • Dear Sarah,
      You are very welcome. I hope you have fun writing your story using the words.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  5. Joan, here’s mine:

    Joan’s writing exercise.

    So, okay, I wasn’t paying attention.I was in math class, the last class of the day, and Mrs. Hansen as nattering on and on about Truth, propositions, and stuff. Driven by boredom, I indulged in a whim and stuck out my tongue at Freddy Maxwell.

    “Susan LeBlanc.” Mrs. H turned and glared at me, incredulous. “Since you appear to need something to occupy your mind, please come up to the board and evaluate the second propositon.”

    My more spirited self took over my mouth. “I’d rather not.”

    “Detention for you today.” Mrs. H, to her credit, didn’t call me young lady.

    “But Mrs. H, I’m supposed to meet Dad at the post office.” Dad is a newscaster at the local TV station. He’s had his photograph in the paper and everything.

    “You won’t be there.”

    I hesitated. Dad asked me not to advertise the subject of his latest investigation. “He wants to take some photographs, you know, for a story.”

    “How unfortunate you didn’t consider that when you decided to act up in class.”

    While I was figuring out what to say, the bell rang for the end of school. I started to bolt, but Mrs. H, whose arms must be as long as an oak sapling in our front yard, annexed me before I could leave the room.

    I unveiled my last weapon. “He wants a couple of shots of you, too, Mrs. H.”

    “Umph.” That got her. She’s sweet on Dad. He likes her, too.

    “Couldn’t you at least pretend to pay attention in class, Susan?” she asked as we left the building. “You act as if you were raised in a barrel. It sets a bad example.”

    “Maybe when you and Dad get married, you can home school me. Then I wouldn’t have to be bored.”

    She grunted, and I skipped ahead. Life was good. School was over, at least until tomorrow, and Dad planned to take me and Mrs. H out to dinner.


    • Dear Margaret,
      Wow! You are great with your dialogue and characterization techniques.

      Thanks for sharing with us.
      It was a fun trip to math class for me as a reader.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


      • Joan, it was a really fun exercise. Interesting, as you say, to see how different the stories are.


        • Dear Margaret,
          I’m glad that it was a fun exercise for you. It is interesting to see how different the stories are. It definitely proves that each of us is a unique person. Thanks for writing.

          Never Give Up
          Joan Y. Edwards


  6. […] were. You will have to hop over to Joan Edward’s totally ADDICTIVE blog and look here….https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/15-words-to-prove-that-you-are-unique-writing-exercise/    Then you can do the exercise, too.   […]


    • Dear Karen,
      Thanks for doing the exercise, posting your passages on your blog and referring your readers to my blog post with the writing exercise in it.

      I loved reading your passages. It’s amazing how everyone’s stories are different.

      Celebrate you today.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


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