Add a Goblin: A Writing Exercise by LA Bourgeois

Add a Goblin: A Writing Exercise by LA Bourgeois Let’s welcome back LA Bourgeois as she shares with us “Add a Goblin: A Writing Exercise.” Enjoy!


Have a scene that’s feeling stale? A character that’s stagnated? Don’t know how to write yourself out of that corner you’ve created?

Add a Goblin 

Goblins are little agents of chaos.

These funny-looking creatures exude both a scary and a cute vibe, moving with a sketchy abandon. Their favorite pastimes include breaking important objects, losing essential items, and screaming nonsense at random passers-by.

This character embraces the ideal of being a danger to himself and others.

Alternatively, you can think of the goblin as the id of your character. The id, from Freudian psychoanalytic theory, is the instinctive part of you.

(There is also the ego and the superego, which deal with self and morality respectively.)

Think of the id as the little devil leaning into your ear and tickling the skin with the breathy temptations of the sweet evils you can deliver upon humanity.

And that’s just what you need for your stalled storyline.

Splashing pandemonium across your writing pushes your imagination to think of your characters, your scene, and your plot in a novel way.

Here’s How to Add a Goblin 

Make a copy of the scene to be goblin-ified. Never work with the original. 

This exercise breaks the scene and opens your mind at the same time. While you will probably end up wanting to incorporate some ideas from this exercise, you will not want to make all of these changes permanent.

Making a copy allows you some peace of mind as you loose your goblin amongst the good(ish?) people of your tale.

Now, add your goblin to the mix. You might choose to incorporate a real goblin or a paranormal creature menacing the charming town you’ve created. 

Or maybe your goblin is just a voice in the head of your main character, encouraging her to sleep with her sister’s husband or give an imperious speech about the values of temperance.

Or maybe an invisible goblin has scampered around the room, hiding keys and leaving shoes on the floor for the characters to trip over, turning the entire dramatic scene into a slapstick farce.

It’s your goblin. Let it run free!

Analyze the Aftermath

When your goblin has absolutely destroyed everything, wait a day and then read through what you’ve written.

See what new values and traits your characters revealed when thrown into this chaos. Pluck interesting changes out of the wreckage. Salvage the ideas that work and send the rest to the junkyard. 

Each scene of your story needs to push your tale forward. When stuck, adding a goblin to a scene breaks your story wide open.

Ideas that you resisted become easily accessed by goblin-phone. Your goblin demonstrates how to be evil to your main character, giving them challenges to overcome and unusual solutions to their problems. 

Adding a goblin to your scene is a fun and feral way to play with your writing. Enjoy!



LA BourgeoisLA (as in tra-la-la) Bourgeois supports writers, makers, and other creatives in growing their creative businesses and breaking away from their day jobs.

As a creativity & business coach, she believes that exploring your creativity invites joy into your life, embracing your creativity infuses your life with joy, and manifesting your creativity gives you a joyous purpose. Writing and knitting are her non-negotiable mediums, and she can usually be found with a pen or knitting needles in her hands.

Find her free guide, Tricking Yourself into a Creative Habit online at and start writing those words today. She can’t wait to read them!

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