Thursday, September 27, 2007

Acrostic chance

darkcloak.jpgOne writing technique is to juxtapose seemingly unconnected ideas to see what new ideas they spark. While this idea won't write great poetry, it certainly draws together some disconnected ideas. It's a very left-brained (logical, mathy) beginning to end up with something for right-brainers (chaotic, artistic).

Use the title of a book as an acrostic key phrase. That is, write the title vertically. For each letter of the key phrase , find the page number in the book that corresponds to the letter (a=1, b-2, etc.). Scan the page until you find a word that begins with that letter. For the poem line, copy from that word to the end of the line or to the end of the sentence.

Some tips: While it's obvious that x isn't likely to turn up on a page, it was surprising the "d" and "n" took some scanning. Try scanning lines backwards. I tended to start reading ;-) Also most books start on page 2. You can choose a random page for "a".

Here's the raw material I came up with. Surprisingly, the ideas are not totally disconnected. Thought maybe that makes sense since the lines will all come from the first 26 pages of the book and that's when the author establishes the main ideas of the story.
killed you a long time ago
is the woman you loved taking the change in your appearance
lie to yourself more than me
likely to thrive in domestic bliss as I am
it was not a friendly look.
now, unfortunately we were mingling in the living room
glared at his amused face

dark cloak
always had a killer fashion sense
not as rare as it used to be
caught some sort of disease from trying
eye was secure and watched my face

1 a
2 b
3 c
4 d
5 e
6 f
7 g
8 h
9 i
10 j
11 k
12 l
13 m
14 n
15 o
16 p
17 q
18 r
19 s
20 t
21 u
22 v
23 w
24 x
25 y
26 z
This is from 66 Experiments by Charles Bernstein from the Language is a Virus website where there are quite a few writing ideas. (This one is #4.)
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