Fall Writing Exercise Series #17: Literary Mad Libs Episode 02 "Summer Song"

 Literary Mad Libs Episode 02 "Summer Song"

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which begins with a mad lib. It happens to be a mad lib of a relatively famous short poem, but don't let that sway you. Fill out the following word or phrase requests then click down and plug them into the mad lib below the jump.

First: Imagine someone whimsical or mysterious, not of ill-repute (in fact a good person in their way) but not the ordinary person. This is Person A. Whenever Person A is referenced, think of this person.

Your words:

1) Verb with an -er suffix that you'd associate with Person A (something you'd imagine them doing that speaks to the characteristics we've focused on in Person A):___________________________
2) Quantitative Adverb (mostly, slightly, partially, wholly etc):__________________________
3) Adjective you'd use to describe Person A:_______________________________
4) A positive (affirmative/good) adjective:____________________________
5) Positive/romanticized way of describing something damp or moist:____________________
6) Adjective:__________________________
7) Adverb:____________________________
8) A manner of purchasing something (charge, buy, order, venmo etc):_____________________________
9) Article of clothing:___________________
10) An accessory or smaller item of clothing:_________________________
11) A movement verb:________________________

Now write out the following poem with your words in the indicated places and we'll get to the meat of the exercise.

_____(1)_____ moon
smiling a
______(2)______ _____(3)______ smile
at this
______(4)_______, ______(5)________
summer morning,—
a ______(6)_______
_______(7)________ indifferent
smile, a
_______(1-again)_______'s smile,—
if I should
_____(8)______ a ______(9)________
your color and
put on a ______(10)_______
where would they ______(11)_______ me?

Mad Lib Exercises:

Note: DON'T DAWDLE! There is a lot to write so don't think too long on any individual word/phrase/exercise. Write fast and write a lot. You'll polish up the best bits at the end so don't worry if the initial writing is a little rough.

1) Pick two or three of the phrases and expand them into a paragraph/stanza or two, making any slight changes you need to to ensure they make some sort of sense, even if it's a surreal or 'poem' logic. It's ok if there's a little overlap since this poem is pretty short.
2) Pick the section that you think works the least (which you didn't already choose) or is the most incorrect/awkward, and rewrite it keeping your words and any of the originals that you can.
3) Expand your #2 into at least 50 words.
4) The original poem is a little ditty admiring the moon and wondering where flights of fancy might take him (at least that's one reading), your piece should take us on that flight. Use any fragments that can apply and write a quick adventure of someone who decides to go where the wind takes them one evening.
5) Combine your #3 and one of the fragments from #1.
6) Write a piece under 100 words which uses at least 8 of your original words or phrases.
7) Polish up or expand the best fragment/piece you've written today.


For reference here is the poem which we were basing our mad lib off of, "Summer Song" by William Carlos Williams, which is in the Public Domain for us all to read and disseminate.

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning,—
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer's smile,—
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?

Of course, feel free to take as long as you'd like with your pieces, just don't spend that time not writing or editing.

If you'd like some background music to write to, try Lindsey Stirling's album "Brave Enough".