Friday, June 7, 2013

Writing Exercises 1


One of the joys of writing is that you can be creative. You aren't stuck in doing the same thing over and over. You can try something new. I have been a part of writers groups for several years and one of the things I have really enjoyed is the opportunity to write something on the fly. Absolutely no real thought or effort put into it, just raw words, bare-bones characters and rough plots.

Right now the writers group I am in is going through Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld. We are taking the topic of each chapter and focusing just on those aspects of writing.

The first chapter we did, not surprisingly, is on scene beginnings. My group decided we would write about a guy and a girl who were separated by a door, but they both want to be on the same side. That was pretty much all the information we had to go on.

Then we all created our own stories based on that and tried to write and rewrite the beginning of the story using several of the suggestions and information found in Make a Scene. So it is the same scene beginning, just presented through different types of beginnings. You'd have to read the whole chapter for yourself, but these are the three types of beginnings I wrote on and the story that resulted:

The grinding motor of a chainsaw shattered the air and then intensified as it began to slice through the apartment door.

"Hold on," Vince yelled. "I'm coming."

"Hurry," Cara screamed. She still couldn't feel her toes, or her knees and the bookcase pinned her right arm to the floor. The chainsaw whined and wood chips few all over the living room, but she didn't care.

There was little for Cara to do but think, think and wait for Vince to arrive with help. Although she couldn't curl her right hand fingers over the 1820's brass key she'd found seconds before the crash, her mind couldn't stop whirling over what a find is was. That key was the big break she was waiting for. It had to fit the secret closet. It had to.

The oil can dripped brown gritty clumps onto the chipped concrete steps leading to Cara's apartment. Vince planned to go back and wipe them up but he had no time now. He bounded up the stairs juggling the oil can and chainsaw case in one hand and propelling himself upward on the metal handrail with the other. On Cara's floor he gripped the railing and its' base popped out of the floor. Someone else had been in a hurry too.

An exercise like this is not always about doing things right, but about expanding your understanding of story and thinking about things from a different perspective. If you try it let me know what you come up with!

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