Writing Tip: Use this Amusing Book Meme as a Writing Exercise

Chris from The Simple and the Ordinary tagged me for a book meme that is so easy and fun.

Here are the rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I picked up a bunch of books and read the assigned sentences and came up with an idea. I thought it would interesting to take it up a notch and devise a writing exercise from this book meme.

“What?” you say.

Oh, yeah, baby. Watch and learn.

Okay, so here’s what I’ve done. I’ve selected three books with sentences that piqued my interest. I’ll post the sentences, and then, if you dare, read a passage you like and write.

What emotion are you feeling? What do you see or hear when you read these passages? Can you see an idea shaping up in your mind of scene, a plot, a story? I’d love it if you shared your writing in the comments, but if you’re shy, just write in the privacy of your journal. The important thing is to have fun with this writing exercise and see where your imagination takes you.


Gentle’s Holler by Kerry Madden
Page 123
Fifth sentence: “My daughter was as smart as a whip.”

“She had promise. So much promise. She could have married anyone, Tom Weems, you know. Anyone.” — Okay, I took liberties in adding the fourth sentence, but can you blame me?


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Page 123

Fifth sentence: “Templeton’s eyes were blazing.”

“Is this true?” he asked. “Is this appetizing yarn of yours true? I like high living, and what you say tempts me.”


Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Page 123, I took liberties with this one and used the first complete sentence rather than the fifth sentence.

First sentence: “I felt a strange relief at hearing that someone besides me had been treated monstrously by Hatsumomo.”

“She can’t bear to have rivals,” Mameha went on. “That’s the reason she treats you as she does.”

“Surely Hatsumomo doesn’t see me as a rival, ma’am,” I said.


Go, have fun with this exercise and write!

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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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