Random Exercise # 31

Awhile back I introduced the idea of a prose haiku. I love the idea of a short story told in three sentences. I thought a theme might be a good idea to help get us started. So our theme is: reunions. Interpret it anyway you like.

Here's an example to help get you started:

She was walking on the beach when she spotted him, alone, leaning on the pier. Even after seventeen years his still handsome face was unmistakable. She watched him for as many minutes as she dared, her heart beating louder than the waves, and then turned, retracing her way back to the hotel with the knowledge that he would never recognize her in that instantaneous, aching way she had recognized him, pricking her every slow, hopeful step.

Week 91

Stan looked around the hotel dining room and thought, not for the first time, that humanity was not at its best at breakfast time.

Musings from the Desk

I've been working on a short story lately that has been giving me a bit of trouble. For fun I decided to change the point of view. (It was in third person and I switched to first person.) I didn't have a plan in mind, I just started rewriting it from the beginning, this time in the first person. Well! This character suddenly sprang to life. I found out more about him in an hour of writing like that than I had in the last few months. The plot line of the story still hasn't sorted itself out but for now I am going to keep things in the first person and see where they go. It might not work out in the end, it is still too early for me to tell, but I'm having fun with it again.

Random Exercise #30

Use these three words in a short story: emerald, penny, cactus.

Week 90

My mother, bless her soul, always said you should never make serious decisions when you're angry.

Random Exercise #29

Let's continue exploring our five senses more fully. For this exercise (and it's a sexy one) I want to focus on taste. Does anything say summer quite like watermelon on your tongue? Taste (and smell, but we'll concentrate on that one another day) are both intimately linked to our memories. Think about your favourite foods as a kid. Though you may have outgrown Fruit loops in chocolate milk, the memory immediately takes you back to the rough nub of the sofa fabric as you watched cartoons in your pyjamas.

I don't think food is used enough in fiction. You can learn a lot about a character if you know what their favourite foods are. A character whose favourite meal is hot dogs smeared in Cheese Whiz, washed down with a root beer float is a lot different from a character that eats tofu and sprouts while sipping organic carrot juice. So if you're having trouble bring your characters to life you might want to give some thought as to what is in their refrigerator. Even if these details don't make it into your fiction if helps bring the character alive.

For this exercise I'd like you to grab some fruit. Something bite-sized like strawberries would be great. But anything will do. The trick here is I want you to eat it with your eyes closed. Slow down. How does it taste? And don't just say - sweet. Does it taste like a red star bursting on your tongue? How does it feel? I told you this was a sexy exercise. Don't think, just write down your first impressions. Get it down before your brain starts censoring itself. You don't ever have to tell anyone what strawberries felt like on your tongue as you ate them blindfolded on your back porch in the full heat of summer.

Confessions from the Desk

Maybe it's the heat but my mind has been mush the last few days. I've been trying to draft a new short story but it's been like watching a chicken try to fly. You can see it wants to get off the ground, but you know it's just not going to happen. So between writing sentences, then deleting them, and staring out the window, I've been making up words. One in particular I'm finding very useful: netnesia. Netnesia is when you're on the internet and you know you wanted to look something up, but damn if you can remember what it was. So you pleasantly waste oodles of time surfing, looking at all sorts of other stuff, then finally give up, switch off your computer and presto! - you suddenly remember the website you were so desperate to check out. So, you had netnesia.

Now this could be one of those cases when I think I've come up with something, but everyone else had known about it for years. So if that's the case with netnesia don't burst my bubble. My day has been hard enough already. I'm not even going to Google "netnesia" to see if anything comes up. I'd probably forget to anyway.

I hope at your desk the words are flowing for you.

Week 89

It was early in the morning on the first day of Melanie's vacation when she got the idea to remove, or cover up, every mirror in the house for a month.

Writing Adventure # 9

On our last writing adventure I sent you out to explore the world using all five of your senses (you can read that post here). For this exercise I'd like to invite you to do the same thing but if you went outside last time, this time try a spot indoors. Try going to a mall, a train station, a library. And if you stayed indoors last time, then here's your opportunity to put your senses to work outdoors. Go to a park, along a beach or through a forest. Wherever you go experience it with all your senses and then write a description of it.

(This weekend is another 3 day yoga teacher training intensive for me. That means 9 hours each day of yoga - though some of it is lectures and anatomy stuff. But there's enough yoga to leave me aching, trust me. Anyone got a surefire way of soothing sore muscles? Now would be the time to share it with me! Have a great weekend and I'll be back the start of next week.)

Week 88

Wonderfully, Tony only knew three things about Donna when he married her: she was ticklish, allergic to cats and baked the best lemon meringue pie he had ever tasted.

Confessions from the Desk

I am one of those contrary sorts of writers (I'm not a contrary person, mind you, just a contrary writer). When I am working on a first draft I grumble to myself and wish I were in the final stages of editing, fine tuning the whole piece until it sings. But when I am editing (you guessed it) I wish I were in the throws of writing a first draft, the words flying from me, every twist in the plot opening up new vistas of possibility.

(This yoga teacher training course is absolutely killing me, by the way. But I did learn from the chiropractor who taught the anatomy part of my course that the top four vertebrae in my neck are almost completely locked. I need to get it x-rayed and then worked on. When the good doctor told me it felt like my neck had been like this for years and asked what had happened to it I said I had no idea. I didn't mention the fact that since I've been able to read and write I have rarely lifted my head up! It has either been bent over a book or bent over a desk. Maybe when I become a yoga teacher I should offer classes to writers and other bookish types to save the necks of the book world!).