I have been mentally preparing myself to get into full writerly mode by being writerly all the time. I haven’t actually been able to focus on my book at this point, although, I did do one character study, and I feel pretty secure with her, but there are so many characters involved. When I think about how much has to be developed in order to create a world for my characters, I feel overwhelmed. I immediately beginning criticizing my work as I write. I need to stop that. So to help me rework my brain and derail that monster critic, I have created a writing exercise. It serves two purposes for me.
1) It helps get my head in a new place because most of these writings will never be seen and they allow me to be as free in my fiction and imagination as my journal writing.
2) It forces me to keep writing and I have no excuse not too. The brain is like a muscle in our body and it needs exercise in order to work at it’s optimum potential, and this exercise is one way to go about it.
I can’t take 100% credit for this exercise since the bases for prompts has been shared in many of my writing classes. I had learned the beauty of prompts and timed writing while I was a facilitator with Write Around Portland.
This is meant to be a ten minute write but it often ends up being longer, and this is A-okay since the minutes are just a trick to force myself to do it. Inevitably, I’ll have that never ending argument with myself about writing:
“I don’t feel like writing.”
“You should write.”
“But I don’t want too.”
“Come on it only takes 10 minutes. You can spare 10 lousy minutes.”
“True. okay I can do ten minutes.”
See how that works? If you’d like to try the exercise it can be done with just one of the prompts, two or all, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you write for at least 10 minutes. I really believe that it takes a good solid three minutes to be able to let your mind just go, and 10 minutes can send you into a beautiful world that you- yes YOU created.
- Take the last sentence from a book and poem whatever type of writing of something that you have read.
- Take four random vocabulary words- I have tons of vocabulary words on note cards and I just pull from those. The purpose for this is that I am always trying to increase my vocabulary. Some words are archaic but they are still fun to try and use properly.
- Pick an object in room
- Choose one or more of the other five senses- I notice I’ve been leaning toward scent and I hardly use touch which makes me think I should use some touch.
Then give yourself ten minutes and try to write a story/poem using all the above elements.
This was my first one:
Sentence: He told her that it was as before, that he still loved her, he could never stop loving her, that he’d love her until death. The Lover- Marguerite Duras
Baroque– Marked by extravagance, complexity or flamboyance.
Labile– Lacking stability, readily open to change
Machination– And act of planning, especially to do harm.
Obeisance– A bow made to show respect or submission, Deference, homage
Object in the room: lighter
Here are a couple of sentences from what I created out of the exercises- It turned out to be about a 30 minute write- which was great-I’m not super comfortable with the use of the vocabulary in the second paragraph, but they are new words, and I do not use them often. They may be words more appropriate for a different type of writing, but the point is the effort to try and use them as correctly as possible. Once written you can follow up later.
There was a stench that filled the room and she could not describe it as anything other than shit. Marguerite stepped over the piles of clothes and papers, the stacks of books, strewn newspaper articles, shredded bits of card board, the yogurt cartons, the bottles and cans of beer, the accumulated mess of months of a recluse; a terrible, terrible recluse.
She was not going to obeisance to him or his space or even the memory of him. She was labile at this point and had no room to honor him in anyway. She could drop from the window as easily as he did and with that she let the cigarette, lit and hot, fall from between her fingers.