Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise October 14, 2014

October 14: Narrative Threads.

Choose one of the following narrative threads as a prompt and work with it for awhile. If you need an additional constraint to spark an idea add one of the bonus craft options, or work multiple threads together.

1) So many stories begin with waking up that it can be seen as a little cliche. Write a story of someone going to bed, reflecting upon their day/past.

2) A fifty-seven year old man just climbed a tree, why?

3) The bonfire is mere embers, almost everyone is asleep or gone. A pair of eyes suddenly glint back at you from the forest...

4) Your narrator is a cab driver. He has a substance abuse issue and one pet peeve that sends him into a rage/rant at least twice in your story.

5) The rain is coming down hard. A boy is skipping stones across a flooded road. A car approaches.

6) There is one thing that you want to do before the sun sets, and at least three reasons why you probably can't do it. Overcome at least two of those obstacles.

Bonus Craft Options:

a) Write it as a poem with an ABCB / DEFE rhyme scheme.
b) Include five paragraphs that are under five words long.
c) Utilize the /g/ sound as in "good" as much as possible.
d) Write your story in prose with greatly varying sentences lengths, but make your sentences rhyme in couplets (AABBCC).
e) Use only beats for your dialog, no tags.

Have fun with the writing exercise, whether you take it as a poetry exercise or a short story exercise. Don't worry too much about arcs or plot. If you find you're doing more thinking than writing, go with the old Allen Ginsberg adage "First thought, best thought" for the next five minutes at least and just let your mind take you somewhere, even if it turns out to be the middle of nowhere.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise October 9, 2014

October 9: Wordbank day!

Everyone's favorite has rolled around again! Today we'll look through the following pages to find and list in your notebook 10-15 interesting words or ones that you are familiar with but don't necessarily use everyday. Spend ten or so minutes looking up every word and doing a google search for its connotations and to find any unique or interesting information connected to that word (a famous person, little used idioms, cities/locations etc.) If you pick any words you really don't know well, do a little extra research and make sure you don't accidentally use the word incongruously (or completely incorrectly).

Word sources:
Angry, 'Halloween' words, Steep, Blood terms, Increase, Blue in the ancient world.

(Remember, research those words a bit, and write down cool, interesting bits. This notebook is meant to be a resource for later writing. Now use those words for the following).

1) Write two or three sentences, phrases or lines which use two different words from your list.
2) Write two sentences, phrases or lines which include one of the words from the list and the word "yawn"
3) Write two or three sentences, phrases or lines which use two words from the list back to back (as in, if you picked "glazed" from Blue in the ancient world and "headstone" from 'Halloween' words you could write "The headstone glazed with dew," or "The s'mores doughnut was a glazed headstone for diabetics.)
4) Find two of your words that can be used in two different ways (a homonym) and for each word write two or three sentences or sentence fragments using the word in a very different way.
5) Using the words from exercise #1, write two or three sentences, phrases or lines which use those words in the reverse order (see the examples from #3 if you're confused).

Possible follow up exercises:
1) Use multiple of your results from the first to craft a story.
2) Write a story set at night with an ominous overtone. Include an unexpected (perhaps silly) rhyme in either dialogue or internal monologue that helps to break the tension.
3) Write three short vignettes or lyric poems which are very different, but all have the theme of someone/something on the razor's edge (extreme unease about something). Also have an image/item that makes an appearance in all three.
4) Pick two words from your list that you didn't use in an exercise. Revisit Blue in the ancient world and find a few more interesting facts. Use the words and the facts in a short piece/fragment.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise October 4, 2014

October 4: Random Element Day.

Today you'll let happenstance rule what you're going to write about. Click on this random number generator link three to four times and write down the corresponding number. You must find a way to work all of those elements into your story/poem/vignette/fragment today.

1) Grapes.
2) A character named after a 4-Star American General.
3) Second person narration.
4) Sparse dialog tags and at least one exchange where each speaker says fewer than three words.
5) Actively choose words with a hard E sound, not just beginning or ending, but words like credence and unequal.
6) Fall setting.
7) An egotistical narrator.
8) The color puce.
9) An encounter with a feline.
10) Litter.
11) Begin at least three sentences with the word "And".
12) Use some variation of the phrase "Not a cloud in the sky" not once, but twice.