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Writing As Therapy Can Lead To Great Story Plots! (Writing Exercise)

by Edwina Frazier on 08/07/17

I wrote a letter to my mother filled with blistering anger and resentment. I held nothing back. I didn’t cuss or call her names, but I sure let her know how I was feeling. The rant went on for several pages before I slowed down. After typing the last word and period with a flourish,  I reviewed what I’d written with satisfaction and then read it aloud a few times as though I were talking to her... then I permanently deleted it from my laptop.


I wish I could say I felt tremendously better after this prolific release but that would not be true. I was still angry with my mother. However, I was in a better position to have a more productive conversation with her after venting my emotions in writing.  


I discovered, as I wrote, that what had really fueled my anger was not what she said, but the fact she had exposed what I had been thinking (about her) that I thought I had covered up. It startled me that she had seen through my “good daughter” façade and saw the frustrated woman I’d become. The blow up we had seemed to literally take all the colors out of my world that day. She was my mother for goodness sake! I felt horrible and justified at the same time. I was conflicted in the worst way, and I needed to get it out, hence the letter.


It didn't help that I left town to work for a few weeks so we didn't get to talk until I got back. We both needed healing from our "falling out."   I asked her to forgive me, and our relationship was restored.


Writing as therapy helped me gain a better perspective on why I was angry with my mother and provided an opportunity for me to talk honestly with her. A few years later when I thought about this incident, I realized the seeds of a great  fictional short story could be gleaned from this experience.


Use my experience as an example and write a one or two paragraph story and send it to me for feedback!

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Change the characters. They can be siblings, neighbors, spouses, etc.
  • Change the conflict. In my story, I didn't want my mother to know how I was feeling about her because I felt a "good daughter" wouldn't have those feelings.
  • Use poetic license with my story! Can you add in some sidebars or elaborate on how my mother or I must have felt and the thoughts we were thinking? Did I leave the house in a huff and wind up in an accident? Did my mother call her lawyer and take me out of the Will? LOL have fun with it!

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Edwina Frazier
Senior Consultant