08 October 2010

Writing Exercise - 10/8

As I can no longer watch the Reds choke away game 2 in Philadelphia, I felt I'd share a writing exercise I learned my freshman year from the Teaching Fellow I had for English 110.

Typically this is done in a small group, though it works alone as well. First you find a random text, anything from a Tolstoy masterpiece to whatever magazine is currently serving as this month's bathroom meeting. I chose Sören Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, the 2008 version from Wilder Publications and A & D Publishings. I opened in to a random page (64-65) and started picking out words I liked.

When you do this with a group you can all peruse your texts and pick three words (or phrases) each. Since I'm alone I just went ahead and chose ten. Once the group has their words everyone pools them together...

Bridal
Envious
Blissful
Foretold
Pleasure
Catastrophe
Enemies
Ancients
Solitary
Insulted

Those are my ten.

Now I set my phone timer to ten minutes and write as much as I can (by hand - no typing) until time is up. The topic is open. The only rules being the necessary inclusion of the ten (or however many the group has) words or phrases. It's a great exercise because it forces you to think on your feet and write off the top of your head, spontaneously. Your writing won't be your best and errors are okay. It's interesting to see where the creative mind will run with ten words and how others will fly off in different directions with their pieces.

As soon as ten minutes have passed, each member of the group shares. Here's what I wrote, no revisions:

The venue for such a clash of enemies was perfect. A battleground strewn with the littered souls of pink ribbons and those balloons that didn't quite make it. If this conflict had been foretold by the ancients on the side of a Grecian Urn or in a massive epic poem, we would have laughed. No one could be that cruel - so inhumane. There isn't a single solitary soul on this planet who could be as vile and abhorrent, capable of creating catastrophe and destroying lives, like those our ancestors predicted, those they warned us about.

There is no laughing now. Just repressed hatred.

The Jeanene Karen Vilchus bridal shower is the setting of our story - an awful story with pure rancor and a detestable soul beneath such as blissful outer skin. The bridesmaids are envious. The future Mrs. Richard Kenyon Clark has on her hands quite the catch, a young entrepreneur, handsome, about to become very wealthy, and the apple of Tanya Diana Klebold's and Victoria Ellen Rosenbloom's and Carrisa Tina Guayamar's eyes, not to mention the bane of Cyndie Josephine Cya's and Chelsea Hannah Broom's existences. The bridesmaids from Hell. All insulted by Jeanene's audacity in marrying Richard, all fueled by want, all bitter, all taking pleasure in their loathing passive-aggressiveness against their ugly, no-good, fat-assed, cellulite-infected, chicken-footed, cankled, fake haired BFF Jeanene. Ugh....

Like I said - lots of fun, not my best writing, but it's practice. The most important thing for a writer to do is simply write.

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