Saturday, May 28, 2016

Complete a Piece Saturday: An Occasion, a Phrase and a Character

Complete a Piece Saturday!

For today's piece we'll again put together a complete piece in a roundabout way. We'll pick an occasion, a phrase and a character, and for each of these things we'll write a series of lines or sentences that are unrelated to the others. This is a sort of guided brainstorming exercise if you will.

A) Pick an occasion from the following list (or use a random number generator):

  1. Birthday
  2. Going away party
  3. Wedding
  4. A Christmas party
  5. A 20 year high school reunion
  6. A SCUBA excursion on vacation
Exercises
1) Write five sentences or poetic lines or phrases that pertain to either decorations or gear related to the occasion.
2) Write five sentences or poetic lines or phrases that describe clusters of people as different types of animals.
3) Write five sentences or poetic lines or phrases that describe various ways someone might combat or embrace beginning to feel sleepy at your chosen occasion.
4) Write three sentences or poetic lines or phrases that describe the invitation or promotional material for the occasion.


B) Pick two phrases or bits of dialog from the following list (or use a random number generator):
  1. Skipping stones across still water.
  2. "We grew out of once upon a time a decade ago."
  3. "There used to be plenty of fish in the sea."
  4. She was a shaken beer ready to pop.
  5. "I said go left then right and you turned around and shoved your head up your butt."
  6. Feeding frenzy
  7. Go out on a limb
  8. Hit the hay
  9. Stealing your thunder
  10. "Why oranges?"
Exercises:
1) Write a five dialog responses to each of your phrases or quotes (if you are responding to a non-quote, imagine the phrase is a question)
2) Rephrase each of your phrases or bits of dialog in three different ways: a) more poetic, b) as concisely as possible, c) as something shouted in anger
3) For each of the ten possible phrases or bits of dialog write a response that questions the veracity or profundity (or meaning) of the phrase/line.
4) From your two phrases or bits of dialog combine the words (as many as you can and still make sense) and create at least three new phrases/lines.

C) Pick two character traits or an aspect of their looks from the following list (or use a random number generator):
  1. Long bangs (hair)
  2. Very talkative when drunk or nervous
  3. A pair of fifteen year old Chuck Taylor's they always wear
  4. Frequently thirsty
  5. Unable to hide boredom during small talk
  6. An excellent piano player
  7. A terrible but enthusiastic singer
  8. Frequently self-deprecating
  9. Missing a finger
  10. Very interested in history
  11. Very interested in movies
  12. Loves playing the lottery
  13. Vegetarian
  14. A pierced lip
  15. Frequently makes up stories about themselves
Exercises
1) For each of your traits write three different ways someone could observe those particular things: a) that it is intriguing, b) that it is silly/stupid, c) that it is 'old news'/boring
2) For each of your traits write five sentences or poetic lines or phrases that explain why that trait is as it is (why they're interested in history, or they still wear the same shoes)
3) Pick two of the sentences/lines/phrases from #2 and expand them to 3-5 lines/sentences. Include at least two senses
4) Pick a third trait and write two 'origin stories' for it like you did in #2
5) Find a way in which the three traits/aspects of appearance could all come together in a single interaction between two people. Write a sort of summary of this interaction.

Putting it Together

So, now you have a nice pool of sentences/lines. Go through and pick your favorite 5-10 and put them all near each other. Pick as many as you can that seem to fit with each other and use those pre-written bits as guideposts for your piece. Now write a story or poem about an incident at your chosen occasion involving a character with your chosen traits and including the chosen line of dialog or idiom.
 

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