12.16.2011

Guest Writercize - Mike Miller - Let the words simmer

I am very excited to introduce you all to Mike Miller, a fellow Group Blogging Experience (#GBE2) participant and a person whose words never fail to make me laugh.  Almost always out loud.  Read this writercize, try it out, enjoy, and visit Mike's blog.  You'll be glad you did.

Now, passing the virtual mic right on over to ... Mike!

Hi Folks,

What say we skip all the writer cizer jazz and just do some good old calisthenics?  No?  Good idea!  Let's sit here and use the old noodle to try and come up with some good literary pasta.  Well I do have something of an idea for this exercise, so here goes:

I'm thinking of a word prompt kind of challenge.  

writercize:  Please pick up the nearest book and turn to page four.  Pick out the noun closest to the upper left corner and use that for the subject of an up and coming sentence.  Page two has the verb, the one you find closest to the upper right corner, and the object is on page three near the lower right corner of the page.  You may be wondering how I know that, but just trust me, I do.

Oh boy.  NOW I look around and find that the closest book to me is the 1996 Physician's Desk Reference!  Here is my sentence, gleaned, as it were, from the corners of the three pages:  Acetaminophen contains doses.  

I am willing to bet that your base sentence will be a lot easier than mine, to turn into a short story.   That's right.  The challenge here is to take your obscure sentence and expand it three times; first from your randomly formed sentence into three coherent full blown sentences based on the idea of the original, and then into a decent tease of a story of one or two paragraphs.  That's only expanded two times?  Right again.  The third time I want you to turn your few paragraphs into a full fledged best selling novel or, as in my case, a medical school textbook.    In each step, it is only an idea derived and descended from your first sentence that must survive.

Now for the kicker, just in case you're still standing:  I want you to think about your primordial sentence for at least one hour before committing your three sentence rewrite to paper or screen. And then please let the ruminating juices flow for another hour or more so the next version of your idea has had time to sprout wings or leaves or fur, or something equally useful.

By the way, there is a point to all this.  I have so often observed that my first idea, while practically genius, can ALWAYS be improved upon.  Sometimes even by me!  Seriously, while I may be quick with the quip, or an inane observation, there have been a million times when I realized later that I could have said  “________”!  Or more to the point here; even after steadily laboring over some article or essay for a long time, I have been struck later by the realization that a major element is fatally flawed,  that I should have taken another approach altogether, or that I killed the hero off in the first paragraph.  Let time pass.  Give the mind a rest.  And then see what comes.

(Mike's sample writercize response below:)

Here's my effort.  And yes, I will heed my own prescription and let an hour pass before expanding on my own medicinal therapeutics.

2:44 PM     

Acetaminophen contains doses.

7:33 PM

The stands are full of excited fans this afternoon.
The trucks and jeeps are lined up, each one full of gas and ready to go the distance.
Enough delight will fly from those big tires today to cover each onlooker with inches of                      mud.
                   

12:20 PM (the next day)

Byron stepped hard on the gas but his bald tires were even worse than he knew.  While a dozen other trucks flew ahead and buried his windshield in their wakes, way overburdening his poor wipers, Byron just slowly slid back and forth, even in the thin mud at the starting line.  A glance out the side window showed him that the hundreds of people in the stands were missing the excitement at the first turn; they were all watching his four tires spin up a thin spray of misty mud, and they were laughing.

But one more glance made everything all right.  It had been a long hard year, and Byron had sadly discovered how disasters pile on.  The furnace died last Winter, the basement flooded in the Spring, and the long hot Summer was full of miscellaneous breakdowns and work lay-offs. He couldn't even afford to replace the AC so his wife had been stuck sweltering in the house, until today.  Byron looked across again, astonished at Minnie's great big smile where she sat in her brand new, mud-covered wheel chair. The sight made even his frustration at having to make the 'right' decision melt away.  Minnie never realized that By had traded in the new tires he bought last year, anticipating this very race, to buy her chair.  And as she watched him continue to glide back and forth, now somehow behind the starting line, and then heard him start to laugh out loud, she knew that while pills of pain may come in regular doses, a good man's love covers all like a flood.

7 comments:

  1. You just stopped me from posting on "curiosity". LOL! I'm going to let it marinate.

    Great job, Mike!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Holy mackinoly! This is one big assignment.

    Hey Mike! Can you come by to keep an eye on the brood while I mull my options? I'll be at my computer...with coffee...and a muffin. ;O)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry about that AMY. I think.

    Yes Beth; perhaps I should have spent my own time thinking about the assignment before I wrote about thinking about an assignment. Hmmm.

    But yes, I can watch the brood. Do they play chess?

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW! That's an impressive exercise. I think I broke a sweat just thinking about it. WHEW.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mike, your brain is a marvellous creation, and Alana's blog is the pefect venue. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  6. At zero hour, my sentence (from One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus) is: Knees look drunk.

    Now off to let it simmer ....

    ReplyDelete
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