This game is actually some paraphrased advice my mother (also a writer) gave me about a draft I was summarising for her. I'd written what should probably be a 5-10,000 word story inside of 2000 words, and achieved this largely through 'telling' most of the story instead of showing.

Now, telling isn't always evil. Sometimes it's necessary to summarize information that might be tedious to show, or show a long transition of time, etc. There are many (valid) reasons for telling, and some solely-told stories can still be entertaining if the character's voice is strong and interesting. That (probably) isn't the case, here. It was just me being impatient to get the story 'out'. As a result, entire subplots are largely lost, and the viewpoint character (it's in first person) is essentially a set of reader-goggles, with no discernable personality of his own. Not good.

The game is two-fold: take a piece of text and separate all the sentences. Basically, open it up in Word / Open Office and insert a page break after every full stop. I'll explain why in a moment.

Now, take each sentence and flesh it out - turn it into entire paragraphs, explore it thoroughly. Take a page or so per sentence. Don't try to join it up wo thte preceding sentence, or segue into the next; treat each as an individual piece of writing (that's why you put page breaks, so you can't necessarily see what the next sentence is). When you're done, you'll end up with story-swamp, a giant mess of 'stuff' about the story that you're trying to write.

After a fortnight or so, you can come back to it, read through your swamp and pull together what you want out of it - but the important part is to let your brain fill in all the possible nooks and crannies of the story - you may find that the story you're trying to tell isnt the one that that idea needs. Or even that you're trying to fit two mutually exclusive stories in one (or that you only have half a story there). 

Tags: Writing: Pacing,Outlining
Topics: Writing Games