Thursday, July 30, 2009


Take your favorite character and describe their car (or usual mode of transportation).

Is it new or used? Why that particular model? Did they pick the color specifically or just what was available? Where did they buy it?

What's lost under the seat? What's in the trunk? What are the stains on the seat and how did they get there?

What's in the glove compartment? The trunk? The storage area? What's in the back seat?

What's broken and do they intend to fix it?

Do they run it into the ground or is it well maintained?

Has it been modified? To be cool? To be more practical?

What are their rules for passengers?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bad Penny

"She kept turning up like a bad penny."

We all know the saying refers to something that keeps coming back to you, that you can't get rid of.

But what is a bad penny and why does it want to keep coming back? Who made it? What is its journey like after it leaves you as it's trying to get back? What effect does it have on people (animals? nature?) around it? What happens when it returns?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The argument

Take it at face value.

Or add a fantasy twist. Only the two of them can understand each other? She's a professional donkey whisperer? Boyfriend and girlfriend who've been cursed? Aliens who didn't quite get their disguises right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just seven

Write a story in just seven sentences. But not just any seven sentences! Each sentence will play a specific role

This idea is from author Jim Van Pelt who created it for a creative fiction writing class as an exercise in plot:

We talked about plot having several components: an inciting moment, rising action, a climax and a denouement. One way to see how a plot can work is to build a plot skeleton, a very short story, stripped of everything except the plot.

To write this kind of story, you are limited to only seven sentences. Each sentence has a specific role.
  1. Introduce what the main character wants and the first action he/she takes to accomplish the goal.
  2. The results of the action the character takes from sentence 1 has to make the situation worse. The character should be farther from the goal now.
  3. Based on the new situation, the character takes a second action to accomplish the goal.
  4. The results of the second action the character takes from sentence 3 is to make the situation worse. The character should be even farther from the goal now.
  5. Based on the new situation, the character takes a third and final action to accomplish the goal.
  6. This third action either accomplishes the character’s goal, fails to accomplish the goal, or there is an unusual but oddly satisfying different result of the last action.
  7. The denouement. This sentence wraps the story up. It could tell the reader how the character felt about the results, or provide a moral, or tell how the character’s life continued on.

After his class had a great deal of fun with this, he held a contest. When you're done, you can check out the entries.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Only one returned

Three brothers went to war but only one came back.

The obvious explanation is that two were killed. But don't go for the obvious! What else could have happened? And why did the one return?

As usual, it doesn't need to be present day. Past, future, fantasy. It can be three sisters. They don't even need to be human.

From a response to "What's Your Favorite Writing Exercise" by Ginny Wiehardt at About Fiction Writing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Moro absolutely adores himself, thinks the world of himself.

In a paragraph, convey Moro's love by describing just his actions, no thoughts.

Inspired by #127 in Unjournaling: Daily writing exercises that are Not personal, Not introspective, Not boring! by Dawn DiPrince and Cheryl Miller Thurston.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Moony for the moon

Write a love letter to the moon.

Maybe you're a dog or a werewolf or some other creature of the night.

Maybe you've returned from a galactic trip where other moons are lumps of rock. (Our large round moon that perfectly eclipses the sun may actually be quite unusual!)

Maybe it's the moon of your own world and not Earth's your love letter is to.

Maybe the moon is a methaphor for something else you're in love with.

Maybe the moon was a constant in your life when nothing else was.

Maybe the moon was full on several wonderful events in your life.

Maybe you've been Moonstruck :-)

I should have posted this Tuesday when the moon was full but it's just 2 days past. So go check it out :-)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Strip and Knit With Style

The Bookseller has been giving out the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year since 1978.

They deliberately don't look at what the book is about so as not to be influenced by reason and sense. ;-) The titles are being judged on their own merits.

Pick a couple of titles and write a blurb or review of the book the title inspires for you. (Note, if you're doing this with kids, read through the list first so you can make adjustments for your kids' tastes! ;-)

This year's winner: The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais

A selection of past years' winners and some nominees:

  • The Rape-Sponge Cucumber
  • Strip and Knit With Style
  • What do Socks do?
  • Bombproof Your Horse
  • Sex After Death
  • Toilets That Make Compost
  • All Dogs Have ADHD
  • How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art
  • The Large Sieve and Its Applications
  • Deathing: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life
  • A God or a Bench
  • Children Are Like Wet Cement
  • People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It
  • Malformed Frogs
  • Waterproofing Your Child
  • Male Genital Organs and Their Improvement
  • The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution
  • Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring
  • The Care and Feeding of Stuffed Animals
  • Versailles: The View From Sweden
  • The Emotional Life of Contemporary Public Memorials
  • Egg Banjos from Around the World
  • The Industrial Vagina

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Captive audience

(Click to enlarge)

What conversation do you overhear around this event? Is the child the only one talking? Or are the bears contributing?