Jesse Stong’s Writer’s Warm-Up

Early on in the lock-down for covid-19, the owner of the little local grocery store noticed I was rushing round his store and practically jumping into the freezer or bakery rack when other shoppers came too close.

He told me to relax, slow down. “You must surrender,” he said. “What will be, will be.”

“I’m not ready to surrender,” I told him. “I’ve a novel to write.”

Working on my first novel has been a godsend during the lock-down. The thought that I might die before I finished it gave me new focus and drive, but there came a point when I found I needed some outside energy…especially for developing the back stories of my secondary characters.

Developing back stories is always a slow business for me. So much to explore beneath the tip of the iceberg!

Iceberg off Fogo Island 2018

There are plenty of writing prompts available online, dozens of questionnaires to use when interrogating fictional characters. They just don’t do the trick for me.

Then through the ELAN newsletter (Quebec’s English Language Arts Network) I discovered Jesse Stong’s Writers’ Warm-Ups at Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal.

Jesse’s Writers’ Warm-Ups are speedy (15 minutes) and energetic, and the prompts are terrific. He breaks them down into bite-sized, ‘get to the meat of it’, no over-thinking segments which always spark some kind of useful information or insight about a character. I especially love the Meryl Streep-inspired prompts!

Jesse twins each Warm-Up with a charity. If you donate, you can send him what you’ve written and he’ll give you feedback. How great is that?

Live-streamed every Monday and Friday at 10:15 a.m., but if you can’t make those times, you can catch up on Jesse Stong’s Warm-Ups later, as I do.



7 thoughts on “Jesse Stong’s Writer’s Warm-Up

    • I think he was trying to calm me down as I was very nervous as it was already becoming clear that Montreal would be the hot spot in Canada…but you are so right – There’s too much living to be done! Nicely put.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A couple of weeks ago it looked as if all had quietened down, but with easing of restrictions the numbers are creeping up in Montreal. The seniors’ residences have suffered the worst of it. How about with you?


      • Yes, aged care homes are very vulnerable here too. Our numbers were amazingly low until a few people in quarantine in Melbourne decided to ignore instructions. By the time health authorities realised what had happened, the virus was out of control in a few suburbs. So now Melbourne is in total lockdown and mask wearing is mandatory, with fines for non-compliance. There has been a small outbreak in Sydney, connected to a Victorian who travelled there for work purposes but it seems to be under control. The rest of us are hoping like anything it doesn’t spread to other states. We are staying home as much as possible.

        Liked by 1 person

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