Creative Writing exercises No 1.



Article 1


This is your story; it has no end – only this new beginning.

Begin by realising how important is the organisation of your time.  The part it will play in your journey from aspiring to accomplished writer.

This should be your mantra:

  • Organise and make time and I will find motivation.
  • Find motivation and I will gain confidence.
  • Gain confidence and I will complete my work.
  • Complete my work and publishing platforms will open for me.

First Objectives

  1. To learn how Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Six Serving Men’ will come to be your faithful servants in creating your story plan.
  2. Begin to learn the art of building and creating a story, to use a structured system and to use your own experience and knowledge as a mine for story ideas and material.
  3. To learn and practise a technique for overcoming writer’s block.
  4. To understand the mechanisms for writing a short story.
  5. To create four original pieces for your writing portfolio.

Section 1


Excerpt of ‘I Keep Six Honest Serving Men …’ by Rudyard Kipling


I keep six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.

It is always much easier to engage your audience by showing rather than telling.  The six serving men or Kipling’s six questions as they are sometimes known are the building blocks of your story.  Show What is happening.  Show Why it is happening and show When.  Then show How the action is occurring and show Where.  Then show Who is causing or receiving.  There you have it, your Show, not Tell, building blocks.

Example 1

The following piece by a Blackheath Dawn Writer has been chosen to illustrate how the building blocks of Kipling’s questions can identify a complete story.

  • 300 words
  • Create a character
  • Must contain a chance meeting and change of mind



Not as it was – is it?

I saw him standing there.  Only a little chap.  Six?  Maybe seven.  A lovely little boy.  We looked at each other.  He on one side of the hedge and me on the other.

Neither of us spoke.  We just looked.  I smiled and he smiled back.  ‘Hallo’ I said.  ‘Wotcha’ was his response.  Another silence.  ‘Nice garden’ he said.  ‘Thank you.  Do you want to have a look?’

So in he came.  Grubby face, hands and knees.  A proper little urchin my mother would have said.

‘Wassat?’ he said, looking at a mole hill, newly appeared that morning.  So I explained about moles and how they lived, making tunnels and getting rid of the extra earth.  ‘Cor’ he said.  And we sat together in the hope that another would appear.  Of course it didn’t and a child doesn’t concentrate for long.  So we had a look at the flowers, all their different colours, textures and names.  Round and round the garden, getting nearer to the house until he said ‘I need the toilet miss’ and I showed him where it was.  ‘Don’t forget to wash your hands’ I said and left him to it, returning to my roses.

He came out in rather a hurry and I suddenly realised that he was carrying something; something he had not had before.  Something that was not his.  Something that was mine.

They say a red mist descends.  It was not the loss of my property; that was immaterial.  More, it was the loss of childhood innocence, trust and friendship.  Holding a grubby little hand for friendship.

‘I’ll tell my mum you’re a perve’ he yelled at me.

That was when I started screaming.

© Cyrilla Havard Blackheath Dawn Writer

Buy Cyrilla’s book on Amazon :-


Do you see how this piece contains all six serving men and so becomes a story by being able to answer these six important questions?

The Six Serving Men

What?                                 Chance meeting story.

Why?                                  Loss of innocence.

When?                                Modern day.

How?                                  Theft is the catalyst.

Where?                              Home, garden, commonplace.

Who?                                  Older female, young urchin.

Exercise 1

In this first exercise we will help you along the way by itemising your six serving men, whilst still giving you free reign and scope to be creative.

  • 300 words
  • What – Unusual or Chance meeting
  • Why – Expansion or Corruption
  • When – Present or Future
  • How – Winners or Losers
  • Where – Forest or Space Station
  • Who – 2 people or 1 + Robot/Dog/Other Pet
  • Special instructions: Make character(s) real




  1. Word count.
  2. Deadline (impose your own, within your own restraints – but keep to it).
  3. Adherence to brief.
  4. Creative phrasing and illustration.

Give yourself a pat on the back and tell us about your first story on Facebook/Twitter – plus other social media.

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