Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #11: Micro 101 Episode 001


#11
For today's writing exercise you will write a few micro-poems or micro-fictions. These will be either poems under 12 lines or stories under 100 words.

For inspiration go read some micro or hint fiction in this Buzzfeed article, at Microfiction Monday32 Poems and Nanoism.

Micro Exercise 1: Describe one central action, and things that happened in the proximity simultaneously but which are unrelated.
Micro Exercise 2: Make a list of ten items which are yellow. Write a micro piece which uses at least seven of the items you listed.
Micro Exercise 3: Write a micro which uses the items not used in Micro #2, as well as a hole in the ground that is at least three feet deep.
Micro Exercise 4: Pick two interesting words from this Random Word Generator.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this waterfall and jungle ambiance video.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #13: 3x5x5 Wordbank 2


#13
For today's writing exercise you will pick one word from each of three groups and write a sentence that includes all of the words, feel free to change tense, pluralize etc. Repeat the process four times using different words. Now write a piece of fiction or poetry that uses at least two of those sentences (or the majority of them).


Word Bank 1:
  • Jerk
  • Remove
  • Swap
  • Prop
  • Icicle
Wordbank 2:
  • Keep
  • Knee
  • Whisk
  • Wisp
  • Quake
Wordbank 3:
  • Groove
  • Leap
  • Flake
  • Smirk
  • Fake

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this compilation of Spanish guitar music.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #10: Erasing The Crystal Egg 1


#10
For today's exercise we have split paths for fiction and poetry, though I highly recommend that even fiction writers try the poetry exercise. For fiction, write a piece with a repetition of the dialog sentence "Five pounds is my price." For poetry do an erasure or black-out poem from the following selection of H.G. Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". An Erasure/Blackout is really simple: you take the given text and remove many words to make it your own new piece. One way to go about the erasure that I like to do is to copy the text and paste it twice into your document before you start erasing or blacking out (in MS Word set the text background color to black), that way if you get further into the erasure and decide you want a somewhat different tone or direction, it's easy to go to the unaltered version and make the erasure/black-out piece smoother. Another tip is to look for recurring words, in this example Cave occurs many times and could be a good touchstone for your piece.


Erasure Selection:

The Crystal Egg

There was, until a year ago, a little and very grimy-looking shop near Seven Dials, over which, in weather-worn yellow lettering, the name of “C. Cave, Naturalist and Dealer in Antiquities,” was inscribed. The contents of its window were curiously variegated. They comprised some elephant tusks and an imperfect set of chessmen, beads and weapons, a box of eyes, two skulls of tigers and one human, several moth-eaten stuffed monkeys (one holding a lamp), an old-fashioned cabinet, a fly-blown ostrich egg or so, some fishing-tackle, and an extraordinarily dirty, empty glass fish-tank. There was also, at the moment the story begins, a mass of crystal, worked into the shape of an egg and brilliantly polished. And at that two people who stood outside the window were looking, one of them a tall, thin clergyman, the other a black-bearded young man of dusky complexion and unobtrusive costume. The dusky young man spoke with eager gesticulation, and seemed anxious for his companion to purchase the article.

While they were there, Mr. Cave came into his shop, his beard still wagging with the bread and butter of his tea. When he saw these men and the object of their regard, his countenance fell. He glanced guiltily over his shoulder, and softly shut the door. He was a little old man, with pale face and peculiar watery blue eyes; his hair was a dirty grey, and he wore a shabby blue frock-coat, an ancient silk hat, and carpet slippers very much down at heel. He remained watching the two men as they talked. The clergyman went deep into his trouser pocket, examined a handful of money, and showed his teeth in an agreeable smile. Mr. Cave seemed still more depressed when they came into the shop.

The clergyman, without any ceremony, asked the price of the crystal egg. Mr. Cave glanced nervously towards the door leading into the parlour, and said five pounds. The clergyman protested that the price was high, to his companion as well as to Mr. Cave — it was, indeed, very much more than Mr. Cave had intended to ask when he had stocked the article — and an attempt at bargaining ensued. Mr. Cave stepped to the shop door, and held it open. “Five pounds is my price,” he said, as though he wished to save himself the trouble of unprofitable discussion. As he did so, the upper portion of a woman’s face appeared above the blind in the glass upper panel of the door leading into the parlour, and stared curiously at the two customers. “Five pounds is my price,” said Mr. Cave, with a quiver in his voice.

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this playlist of the Beastie Boys instrumental album The Mix-Up




Monday, June 10, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #9: 3x5x5 Wordbank 1


#9
For today's writing exercise you will pick one word from each of three groups and write a sentence that includes all of the words, feel free to change tense, pluralize etc. Repeat the process four times using different words. Now write a piece of fiction or poetry that uses at least two of those sentences (or the majority of them).


Word Bank 1:

  • Escalate
  • Prove
  • Swamp
  • Ferret
  • Groom
Wordbank 2:

  • Rust
  • Error
  • Spike
  • Glove
  • Plate
Wordbank 3:

  • Peach
  • Spoon
  • Clump
  • Brisk
  • Inflate

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this lo-fi hip hop version of the soundtrack of Spirited Away by Joe Hisaishi.


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #8: Title Mania Saturday


#8
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which uses one of the following as its title. For a bonus challenge, try to use as many of the titles in your piece as you can manage organically.


Titles:

  1. Dropped in the Middle of Another Argument
  2. [Expletive deleted] Again
  3. Within Reason
  4. Zipping out of Sight
  5. The Smell of Oranges and Dirt

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try the background music from Disneyland's Tomorrowland.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #7: One of Two Starts


#7
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which begins with one of the following sentences.


Sentence 1: The wind's roar echoed deep into the cave.

Sentence 2: The car's merge was less than successful.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this playlist of the 90's classic "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" album by Sarah McLachlan.


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #6: A Boy and his Bug


#6
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which is inspired by the following piece of art.


Photo by Arturo Sortillo
You can write this from either the perspective of the boy or the insect, or someone observing the scene even. Is that a look of unease or wonder? Why is this image important? You tell me.

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If you would like some music to write to, try Jamiroquai's album "Travelling Without Moving"


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #5: Five Words to Freedom


#5
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following five words. Nice and simple.


Words:

  1. Plopped
  2. Temporary
  3. Bandage
  4. Zipper
  5. Quota

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try the soundtrack to Darren Arronofsky's amazing film The Fountain, composed by Clint Mansell.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #4: First Lining it Up


#4
For today's writing exercise you will go forth from a first line of my choosing. Where you go after that is up to you, but I'll add a couple other optional things to include if you would like a little more to work from.

Photo by Bluntvayne

First Line: Three people and five dogs tread toward me.

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Optional Items to Include:  A Plastic Bag, A Shovel, A Newspaper.

Optional Words to Include: Rush, Withered, Entangle

Optional Restrictions: Under 300 words for fiction or 25 lines for poetry, Begin at least five lines or sentences with the word "From", Include at least three sentences that are three words or fewer.

Hard Mode: Write your poem as a sonnet or your story must end three paragraphs with the sentence/phrase "So they kept waiting."

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If you want some background music for today's writing exercise try this playlist of the album "Muted" by the amazing artist Alias (or Brendon Whitney).

Monday, June 3, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #3: 3 Titles for the Third

#3

For today, June third's writing exercise, or writing prompt if you sill, will be celebrating the number Three. I will provide three titles, you have a number of ways you can use them:

  • A) Pick one title and write a piece that fits that title. 
  • B) Pick one title and work the other titles into the piece. 
  • C) Write three short (or long) pieces that are completely separate (or roughly linked). 
  • D) Write one piece in three sections, using the titles for each section. 
  • E) Mash up the titles and use two or all three as the title for a fitting piece. 
  • F) Whatever you want. 


Titles:


  1. Not Entirely Unbroken
  2. Shrinking Jawbreakers
  3. An Hour Before the Fair Closed
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If you want some background writing music and don't mind it having lyrics, try this: The Specials Self Titled Album.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #2: Ekphrastic gif

#2

For today, we're going to write a poem or prose piece inspired by another piece of art or an ekphrastic piece. The piece of art in question is this gif from the amazing movie The Wind Rises:



Whether you're writing a lyric poem about what the man is thinking in this moment, the lead up story to this climactic event (who is the man and how did he get to that place and time of raining flaming airplanes?), or if this is the impetus for a greater story, or someone flying a plane that is falling or whatever caused the destruction. There's a ton of possibilities.

Here is the Wind Rises soundtrack if you'd like background writing music.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Summer Writing Exercise Series #1: 3 Things for a Start

#1

For today, June's first writing exercise we will write pieces which include three things that must be integral to the story, as in don't have a line of throwaway dialog that uses the words to get them out of the way. If you plan on doing that, just write what you're going to write anyway and come back to this later when you don't have an idea to work from.


Place: Kitchen.
Thing: Potting soil.
Writing aspect: Use at least 8 words that include the "ch" sound.

Optional element: Mr. T (bonus if Mr. T is also in the title).


If you like background music, here's a good album to listen to while writing. Warning, there may be some swearing in the lyrics.