Friday, March 19, 2010

WordPlay! WriteNet Week 10 March 22, 2010

Violence. Desperation. Upheaval. There have been devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and Japan. There are violent assaults against young children (like the infant who died in foster care recently) and adults (home invasion robberies and attacks by sexual predators). With the news reports of wars between nations, violence at the individual level is hardly surprising. Some people seek solace from religion or spiritual principles. Others seek refuge in alcohol or drugs. Like the ostrich, some people bury their heads in the sand and hope that the storms will blow over before they emerge from hiding.

I was heartened by the story of a courageous 7-year-old boy who bravely took his sister into the bathroom and locked the door before he called 911 during a violent home invasion robbery.. Like the dispatcher who took his call, I wanted to give him a reassuring hug. Although I have never met this juvenile hero, the story of his breavery will stay in my memory for years to come. Like other events, stories from the news can often inspire me as a writer to create a story from my own past or based on the contemporaneous experience. This week, catch a story from the news or write about something that happened in your own past.

External Exercises

1. Observation Exercise

Sit in a public place (mall, library, restaurant, etc.) and take notes on the appearance and behaviors of the people around you. Be sure to include sensory details.

2. Reading Report

Write about a book you have just finished from a writer's perspective: what did you learn about writing from the book, i.e. who were the memorable characters, where did the action occur (setting), what was the author's style, how did the plot progress, etc.?

3. Literary Journal

A place to write about writing: new ideas you want to explore, examination of your writing process, rituals and friends that support your work, etc.

4. Sensory Details Exercise

Write about a specific event specifically as a snapshot, a radio program, a version devoted to the tastes and smells, an examination of the feelings and the tactile sensations. Now write a final version that draws on all the information you have gathered.

Weekly Exercises Week 10 March 22, 2010

1. Create a phrase that is a color and a weather phenomenon (e.g. purple tsunami, yellow flood, pink tornado, turquoise mudslide) and use that pair of words to start writing.

2. You are in a mini-market buying a beverage and getting gas in your car. The door opens and an armed gunmen enters. Write about what happens next.

3. You see an ad for an animal shelter that awakens your love of animals. If money and space were not an issue, what kind of animal companion (pet) would you want to adopt?

4. In which outdoor setting do you find the most peace?

There is no wrong way to do it: just write!


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