Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fun creative writing exercises

Time for a little fun with writing and story telling!


I found a website that offers a variety of opportunities for creative writing exercises. You can find the website by clicking onto the words "creative writing exercises": creative writing exercises That's a fun way to help ease or eliminate the frustration of writers' block. So I decided that, today, I would try two of these exercises. 

I will take ten minutes for the first exercise, which is a timed writing with a prompt.



The prompt is a "random line generator." The bolded words are the words that were given to me by the random line generator. 

She kept checking her phone and email, wishing someone would make contact with her. But no, nothing happened. The phone was completely silent. The email was nothing but spam and fake job offers and notes from men who wanted to date her but who were completely unsuited to her. They were half her age and wanted to do inappropriate activities. Those were the easy ones. She simply deleted their comments without response. Then there were the old guys. They wanted the same things as the young guys but they were more subtle about it. They said things like "companionship," but they didn't want to be mere companions.



Well, she wanted to have someone who was more than companions but she didn't want someone who was so crude about it. Ugh. Reading all of that gibberish was a complete turn off.

Anyway, she wasn't really focused on her next boyfriend, paramour, or whatever at this moment. What she was focused on was a job offer or a hoped-for job offer. She was looking for a job as a cake baker. She had finished her apprenticeship and she wanted to be hired by a wealthy family who were looking for someone to bake a very extravagant wedding cake for their young daughter. The young daughter had gotten engaged to someone from overseas. Royalty maybe. She wasn't sure of all of the details. She only know that the family was ready to spare no expense in holding this wedding. And the cake was no exception. This would be her piece de resistance. She was going to make the wedding cake of all wedding cakes.

If only she got the job. The wedding cake job. And while the rich family was at it, they could hire her to do all of their baking. But was she getting greedy.

Aha! An email was coming in. What was this about? She was going to check it out when both the telephone and the doorbell rang at the same time. What to answer first. She raced to the door but tripped over a pile of papers. She also knocked the telephone to the floor, which irritated her. She picked up the receiver.

"Hello?" she said breathlessly.

"Don't vote for my opponent on November 4th. He is scum and belongs in jail."

She hung up. That was irritating. Why would someone who belongs in jail run for office, where his crimes would be obvious? She decided that the phone call was stupid.

At that point, the...

Ten minutes have expired so this story ends in mid-sentence. Now for a second creative writing exercise. 

This exercise is called a random plot generator. The program provides the following elements for a story: a main character, a second character, a setting, a situation, a theme, and character action. You click buttons for each element.

I pressed the buttons and got:

main character: an adventurous 50 year old woman
second character: a sensitive 45-year-old woman
setting: the story begins in an airplane
situation: someone hitches a ride home during a train strike
theme: it is a story about terror
character action: your character gets into competition with another character

OK. So here goes. At least part of a story.


My name is Andrea. Recently, I celebrated my 50th birthday properly, with black forest cake and loads and loads of wine. OK, so maybe too much wine. My friend Freda reminds me over and over again that I guzzle too much wine and that it will make me fat and unattractive. Well, you only have your 50th birthday once in your life so why not do it right?


Poor Freda is just too sensitive. She thinks that I am suffering because I am 50 years old and am no longer a youth. She has five years before she turns 50 and, at that point, I will throw one heck of a party for her. I'll bake a cake and I'll decorate her house which, for some reason, always appears dull, drab, and decorated like the thrift store show house. I can't tell her that she needs to redecorate her house because she would get mad. She is very sensitive about her house and its appearance, also. It's probably because she has been divorced like about five times. Well, maybe not five but it seems as if she goes through husbands like most of us go through clothing. We change our clothes every day. She changes her husband almost every day and I don't think that is an exaggeration.


But I digress. Freda was good enough to agree to go on a birthday trip with me. We both like to travel so we had plenty of frequent flier miles. I travel for adventure; she travels for business.


So here we were sitting on the airplane. It's kind of annoying because I got stuck with the middle seat and Freda is sitting on the aisle seat. There is a snoring man sitting next to the window. He keeps trying to reach to the aisle with his foot and his hand. The first time that he reached to the aisle with his foot, he stepped on me, which caused me to yelp. After he fell back asleep, I thought that I was in the clear until he reached out with his hand and hit my face. This man was definitely a menace on two legs.

After an overpriced and barely edible airline meal of pseudo chicken, mushy vegetables, and tea, I settled in for a nap. Unfortunately, Mr. Snoring wouldn't let me sleep because of his windmill arms and i-sound-like-a-lawnmower-in-need-of-an-oil-change snore noises. I chose to watch the in-flight movie because the nap wasn't happening. The movie was a cute little chick flick about a woman who fell in love with five men at the same time... or something like that. Freda watched the movie. At the first kiss, Freda's eyes were full of tears. By the tenth kiss that the woman bestowed on one of the men that she loved, selected randomly, Freda was weeping copiously, to the point that the flight attendant came running with tissues and a glass of water. Freda sniffed loudly, thanked the flight attendant, guzzled the water, and absent-mindedly wiped at her eyes with the tissues that tore immediately upon contact with human skin.


At last, we arrived at our destination. The plane landed and we turned on our cell phones and exited the plane. It didn't take too long for us to get our luggage. We noticed that snoring man, who stood near us. We didn't think much about it. He grabbed his luggage and walked away slowly. He seemed to just hang around without any real purpose in mind. Freda wondered out loud if the man had anyone to pick him up or if he needed help.


"That's his business," I said to Freda. "Why don't we go and catch the train and go to our hotel. Most of the tour group is there and we don't want to be late or we will miss the exciting climb up the volcano."


"That does not sound like fun. Why did I agree to this trip?" Freda asked, smiling. 


We walked out of the airport, barely noticing that Mr. Snoring was right behind us. As soon as we exited, we saw a bunch of people marching in circles, carrying signs. Railroad workers on strike. Don't ride the trains. They are unsafe. All of the safety workers got fired in a big purge because the railroad wanted to save money. Oh, and the employees were underpaid and have had their pay cut and their hours increased and were forced to work mandatory overtime. The worker exhaustion also contributed to the unsafe nature of the trains.


We couldn't ride the train. We don't cross picket lines. How were we to get to our hotel on time.


Just then, Mr. Snoring approached us. He said that he would give us a ride. How did he know that we had no transportation without the train? We suspected that he was up to no good but we were too desperate to get to the hotel to meet with the tour group that we agreed mindlessly to ride with a stranger.


Mr. Snoring pulled up his car, which had dark tinted windows. They made the car look like some sort of gangster mobile. That should have been a hint that we should not get into the car but... we got in anyway. 


The man asked us where we were going. He went in the wrong direction, which frightened us a bit. He told us that he knew a shortcut. Unfortunately, it was not a shortcut to our hotel; it was a shortcut to a nightmare...


Here I stop because I need to set the table, but this is the start of a story with the elements chosen by a remote plot generator and the names of the characters chosen by a remote name generator. 


So how about it? Writing prompts and remote generators could add the pizzazz and the fun to your writing exercises. Go for it and have fun.

2 comments:

doreeweller said...

It looks like you had a lot of fun with these exercises! I've always thought about trying them but never have. Maybe today is the day. Thanks for sharing.

bookworm said...

I've never used writing prompts, but I've joined a challenge that will require me to use a prompt and write continuously, without editing, for five minutes. Will it be fun? Will it be a disaster? Don't know. I do know I enjoyed both of your pieces, and I'd love to know the ending of your first story.

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