Friday Writing Exercise 10 Comments

Each Friday we will endeavor to post a short creative writing exercise on the blog. The purpose of which is so you, dearest reader, can take the exercise, work on it over the weekend and then let us know how you went! These exercises are meant to challenge your writerly talents, provide you with space to write new and different stuff but most of all they are meant to be fun. Words are there to be played with! And play is such an important thing in life.

So. Your job? Take the exercise that is posted and try hard at it. See where it takes you. Then if you are brave enough, comment here with what you’ve created, or a short excerpt of it. We want to see what is possible and how different exercises take people in different places!

Today’s exercise is one that I use in pretty much every workshop I do, because it’s a great easy one to start off with. Take the following sentence and make it into a paragraph. Do this by using each word as the beginning word of a sentence.

‘Two days ago, Melbourne gangland figure Carl Williams was beaten to death.’

So your paragraph should start with a sentence beginning with the word ‘Two’ and the second sentence should begin with the word ‘days’ and so on. You should end up with a paragraph that is 12 sentences long. There are no rules about what the paragraph should be about, it could be about Carl Williams or about jellyfish or about your neighbour’s dead dog. BUT you can’t change the words or the order. The paragraph could be a coherent (or semi-coherent) narrative or it might not be.

It’s up to you.

Go on.

I dare you.

  • nora

    hiiiiiiiiiii i tyred writing something hope u like it

    two are together
    days pass by taking one away

    two are missing one now
    days are unfair by stealing whom we love
    two happy birds are still togethe
    days might take the body but never stole a spirit or removed real love

  • gabe

    “‘Two many’, or ‘to many’,” Carl wrote up both, one underneath the other; “I never know”. Days dragged on when they spent them like this, long and remedial; Carl writing at the whiteboard and Mr Williams perched on the corner of his desk, dictating sentences to Carl. “‘Ago’ goes before too,” said Mr Williams, “the sentence is ‘long ago, too many men came across…’, you have ‘long’ up there and it’s a good one, but you forgot ‘ago’”.

    Melbourne was wet this afternoon, which made things easier, not for Williams who enjoyed the indoors, but for Carl, whose reading was improving but whose spelling was very poor, and who needed not only the threat of punishment but inclement weather to keep him to task. Gangland stories were what they usually worked on; terrible tales, terribly told, yet housing enough sordid stuff to keep Carl engaged in the narrative; Mr Williams read ahead: ‘long ago, too many men came across looking to make it big, of course there wasn’t enough room for the lot of them, so something had to give.’

    “Figure we can stop now,” Carl said, prompting his teacher from the book; Carl had written ‘long a go to many man caem acros.’ Williams pointed at the whiteboard, “there’s an extra ‘s’ on across … and switch the ‘m’ and the ‘e’ in came.” “Was that all of them,” asked Carl, making the corrections, “no” said Mr Williams reaching out for the whiteboard marker. Beaten but not defeated, Carl handed the pen to his teacher, Mr Williams could see the boy’s frustration but also a perseverance which he admired; he added an ‘o’ to the ‘to’ and attached the ‘a’ to the ‘go’, he could see where Carl had got ‘many man’ from and debated giving an explanation. To his left Carl stood with eyes on the board, Mr Williams looked at him and wiped his finger through the middle of ‘man’, “‘e’,” said Carl, looking up, half-confident. “Death is certain, but are you sure,” Mr Williams said to his pupil, a phrase he worked on the kids like an old saw, “deadly sure,” said Carl, which is what Carl always replied with, and Mr Williams handed him the marker.

  • gabe

    damn. it should be,

    …prompting his teacher from the book. Carl had written…

    my semi-colon house of cards falls in upon itself.

  • Fenwick

    Two window cleaners sat in their BMU, sixty-seven floors up, the sun on their backs.

    “Days like this,” said Kent, “don’tcha just wish you were naked on St Kilda beach or something…lying there, with some blonde chick bouncing on your balls.”

    “Ago eight, ood he falcon speggel,” said Taylor, his mouth full of salad roll.

    “Melbourne, mate,” said Kent, nodding his head at his window washing partner. “Gangland war or not, you’re right, it’s a fucking special place. Figure that with all the crime and poverty and that you hear about around the world, I’m bloody staying put.”

    “Carl Waterman went to Bali last year,” said Taylor, his mouth clear of food debri, “and said he couldn’t bloody walk outside his hotel without being felt up by people tryna sell him shit.”

    “Williams, Jono Williams told me the same thing. Was Thailand though, and he said that half the time it was okay ‘cause the shit they was trying to sell was a gobbie or whatever down an alley!”

    “Beaten off in the middle of a cocktail bar in Phuket,” said Taylor, “Jono told me he was, anyway.”

    “To Phuket, and its wonderful ladyfolk, then, “said Kent, raising his can of Coke in a mock toast.

    “Death warmed up; like a starfish in the sack; root like a hole in the wall – that’s what I heard about them all,” said Taylor, “although I wouldn’t say no to one right now, mate.”

  • Alex

    Two months ago it arrived in the mail. Days passed around me and before I knew it the fated week had arrived and I was less organised that I’d been before I knew. Ago…before…once. Melbourne suddenly swum with paste tense. Gangland metaphors came to me with alarming regularity, I could taste danger if places there was no danger to be tasted. Carl needed to know, now was the time, I had to tell him. William’s Restaurant would be it, we met there every Friday, today I had to tell him what was wrong. Was there something wrong? Beaten, dejected and beyond caring, I put on too much make up and too many sequins and caught a taxi into the city. To this place I’d been every week for three years but, after tonight, might never see again. Death hang like a spectre over that cool evening sky.

  • Johannes Jakob

    All of those are pretty boss, and it’s great to see the variety of output coming from the one input. Except, of course, the way pretty much everyone has done that thing where they make some weird, passive construction to get the right word at the start of the sentence.

    • Poppy Haymaker

      don’t see you having a go, oh Jojo. put yer money where yer mouth is, etc.

  • Maddie

    Yeah great stuff! That’s the thing about this exercise Jojo, it forces you to be creative with your sentence construction. I would encourage going over anything you like and want to work on for future work and smoothing out some of those sentences though. Keep your eyes out for this week’s exercise!

  • Alex

    You try starting a sentence with “ago” without using some weird, passive construction! :)

  • Amy

    Two months from Tuesday I will remember that you were once my favourite person in the world. Days pass like ponies rising and falling round a ferris wheel – oh, there you are again. ‘Ago’ will be a word I associate with you, the you that you once were to me. Melbourne lights blinking in the background. Gangland tracks. Figure it out, you used to say, and that never failed to make me. Carl had that ring with the skull carved into it, remember? Williams never noticed, and see what happened. Was it all really so bad? Beaten to the finish line we were, all of us, even you. To think it could have all ended up like this. Death finds us all at some point, when the time comes.

    Thank you for this writing exercise! Look forward to more.

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