10 Line Writing Exercise

I’ve been a long time lurker on the Write Anything website. They have a lot of good articles on writing and every once and a while they post these fun little exercises.

I’ve normally just done them off-line, but I thought I would share this one.

The point of this exercise was to write a 10 line story about two estranged family members coming together after a long time. The story had to be 10 sentences long – max. Not only that, but each sentence had a prompt for it. They are broken down like this:

1) describe the weather
2) describe a sound
3) describe an object
4) update the weather
5) describe a piece of clothing/ accessory
6) update the sound
7) using the object, write something about the mood of the scene
8 ) describe an action or movement using the article of clothing or accessory
9) describe a physical trait of one of the characters
10) end with a single line of dialogue

So, I’ve done my best to complete this prompt. I’m not saying it’s very good but it definitely helps you try to infuse description into every line. It makes you think about how each line needs to have a purpose, and how a story can be told in just 10 lines (161 words in my case). Below is the story I came up with.


It was raining, just like old times. The pattering on the tin roof of his trailer brought me back to the last time I had sat across from him, so long ago. He was puffing on his pipe, like always, and I willed for him to speak. The rain was getting harder, thunder and lightning drowning out the sound of his pipe.

My blackberry vibrated for the tenth time inside my purse, but ignored it again. The rain on the roof was beginning to sound like one continual drum beat, and it did nothing to soothe the ache in my chest.

He finally set his battered pipe down on the table, “It’s getting late and I’m sure you have business.”

I picked up my purse and stood.

“I’m just trying to do the right thing here Dad,” I said, staring at his weathered hands.

“Kara, all I ever wanted was your time – I don’t want your money.”

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6 Responses to 10 Line Writing Exercise

  1. Krista D. Ball July 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    How interesting!

  2. Paul July 20, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    I like it. It's a good exercise, isn't it?

    • Tina Hunter July 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

      Yes I quite enjoyed it. Exercises like this help stretch different writing mussels and, I hope, helps make a better writer. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Rcs1738 August 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    Well done


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