Okay guys, poindexter time.
I'm one of those nerds who actually really likes writing exercises. Why? Because it gets me to write in a manner I mgiht not otherwise have explored. Example: the flash fiction challenges I post here sometimes.
I first encountered 100 word flash when I was taking Intro to Creative Writing in college, though I gotta say, having up to 1000 words the way Chuck Wendig plays it is awfully nice sometimes. The fact that he'll frequently add extra parameters makes it that much more interesting, a story puzzle you have to figure out the edges and corners of.
When I'm reading a book about writing, on my own, I don't necessarily do the exercises. Sometimes I do. I've got the new writing book Jeff Vandermeer did (or edited? I'm unsure just now) on reserve from my library, and look forward to paging through its lovely glossy pages.
You see, I'm going to be running a Camp NaNoWriMo at the library in July, as part of our first-ever Summer Reading Program for adults. And I figure a good way to grease the wheels at weekly meetings is to have some writing prompts at hand, or exercises to talk about and recommend. I'm going to play it a bit fast and loose, because I don't want to plan rigidly and not be able to work with the group as it actually is, but I want to have things like this quantified and in mind.
So, tell me. What writing exercises do you like? What writing books do you like?