Speed Writing

okay, this is the first of what i hope to be a long stream of “i could post this crap on facebook, why not make it a blog post” things…

“Speed Writing”, at least in this circumstance, refers to being given (or coming up with your own) writing prompts, and writing on them for “x” amount of time. it’s not about finishing, or polishing, or even liking what you write – it’s about creativity let loose to do as it will, with no worries about judgment. there really is no right or wrong, no good or bad, just the flow, and seeing what comes of it.

so last meeting, a rainy night, somewhat cool, we met at Star of India (my first real exposure to Indian food, so far as i can remember). there were 3 of us. maybe folks cancelled because of the weather, maybe folks didn’t show because of the November Obsession, NaNoWriMo… who knows? David moderated, Barbara and I being the other attendees. good food was had.
and then it was time to write.

now, our opening exercise, sometimes known  as “the exquisite corpse” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exquisite_corpse ), where we each write an opening sentence, and our papers are passed around, each person in the rotation adding something, until they return to us, and are then read out loud.
all of ours dealt in some way or another with a meme that had sprung up among us before we even began – the stabbing glove. wish i could find my page but it’s lost on the mess i call my desk.

next exercise – write something using the phrase “call it in”.
“the goddamn heathen squids were swarming the base. they had raised the waves, and the Terran troops defending the only surviving colony on the planet weren’t prepared for water – chest high – slamming them back and forth while the squid troopers scythed swaths of red through them.
“Corporal Carlson, call it in.”
“Do it, while we still have time.”
“High Crusade, this is Fox Twelve, orbital strike, on our coordinates.”
“Time for some fried calamari,” Captain Boudreaux said as fire fell from the sky.”

next, a three sentence horror story.
“the zombies surrounded the moving truck, Carl and Olaf trapped atop it.
“i’m calling our pilot,” Carl said, “just hold on a little longer.”
the pilot’s phone just kept ringing.”

then, a “machine of death” story – imagine a character knew exactly how, and on what day he would die.
“death by glove – it was the most ridiculous thing Carl had ever heard of.
still, it was what the Machine had said, and today was supposed to be the day.
“Boudreaux,” his boss, Olaf, said, “got an assignment for you. 5000 words on this horror convention downtown.”
three hours later, Carl slumped in a corner, watching his life ooze out onto the floor.
a figure in an a ragged sweater and truly hideous makeup, wielding a glove with razor fingers stood over him.
“don’t ever insult the nightmare on elm street series again, bitch.”

then, a ‘noun’, ‘verb’, ‘adjective’, and ‘adverb’ exercise, where people are randomly chosen to give the words to be used. we only had the three of us, so we said ‘fuck the adverb’. our words were ‘elephant’, ‘stab’, and ‘supple’.
“i watched the clouds part, and winced as the sun stabbed my eyes. my hands shot to my face to shield me from the burning daystar, the supple leather of my gloves stretching as my fingers  came together. i hid my hangover from the bright hell until a bank of clouds, looking like a herd of elephants on the move, covered the sun once again.
i lowered my hands and motioned the waiter. time for some hair of the dog.
as soon as i was more steady on my feet, it would be time for some slicing. i fingered the knife in my pocket and smiled.”

next, an exercise writing convincingly about something you know nothing about.
“there are some subjects where all the theoretical knowledge in the world is useless – doesn’t mean a thing – unless you’ve done the lab work, or better yet, field work, to make all that theory into reality.
killer alien squid troopers and the killing thereof, that’s what i’m talking about today.
first off – forget terrestrial squid. almost nothing carries over.
no beak in the center of the underside – squid troopers have them on the tips of the tentacles, as well as sporadically placed along the length of the tentacles.
the whole number of tentacles – no set rules for your squid troopers.
highest recorded? 23.
lowest – 1. a really big one.”
(and time ran out)

haiku time – no one word, but a haiku about each of the following ‘characters’ of the evening’s writing – “squid trooper’, ‘Carl’, ‘Olaf’, and ‘Boudreaux’.
alien scourge from the seas
anonymous squid trooper
lives and dies unknown

“got any candy?”
Carl at Indian restaurant,
Halloween cowboy

stylish young Olaf
selling nice stationary
never writes letters

Boudreaux, cannibal,
backwards-ass bayou scumbag,
proves cousins taste good.

and our final exercise of the night, writing about aliens who show up, believing a work of fiction to be the truth.
“there was far too much land… Olfa, the squid commander, looked out the portal at the Earth far below. not nearly enough water.
“Commander Olfa,” Clar said, “scout craft have reported back. the natives have aircraft!”
“of course they do – we know that. balloons and dirigibles…”
“no, Commander. they have powered heavier-than-air craft, armed for war. Scout Three is running for its life, Two is down in a big hot sandy patch, and Scout One is hiding in the ocean off the coast of one of the continental landmasses.”
“no sign of Captain Nemo yet?”
“no sir.”
they would avenge their giant brother, no matter what.
“prepare to bombard the seas. we’ll drive his submarine to the surface!”


we finished a bit earlier than usual, due to our low number of attendees. but yeah, another night of speed-writing weirdness.


listening to: dawgs crunchin’ on bones
mood: pretty good

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