Friday Writing Exercise 0 Comments

Today, we’re going back to the basic point of having a Friday Writing Exercise – to get ourselves writing, no matter how ‘good’, ‘bad’ or in between.

For this exercise, I want you to pick a number between four and nine (inclusive). Got it? Cool. In the meantime here is the blurb for the Winter 2013 issue of Voiceworks, ‘Cell':

‘Waterboard behind prison bars, splinter cell governance. Faces under soaked cloth look the same when they’re screaming afraid. I gave you one of my legs and the nights I wake screaming and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. Rugs made of human hair and lampshades of bloodless skin. Anaemic malabsorption of a truth. A human ear shares the blood supply of a lab mouse, chromosomes coiling fiercely in the dark and damp. None of the molecules that are us are any of the ones we were born with. An excess of shuddering, jittering, shivering over aeons inside a star, inside a braincase. God—we killed him when we unthreaded the delicate components of our bodies, unclotted our innards, followed each slender nerve down to its tip and found no soul there. All that empty space in an atom, all that empty space that moves and breathes and loves and dies and goes back to the stars.’

Now pick a word to start with somewhere in the first sentence and write a line starting with that word. Then count the words up to whatever number you chose and use that word to form the next line. For example, say I chose the number six and started with ‘behind’:

‘Behind the couch I found three elastic bands and a five cent coin covered in fluff. Faces on coins have always unnerved me, like they’re keeping surveillance from inside my pocket. Same with the microphone, speaker and USB ports on some computers, aligned just so – it’s like the machine is watching me…’

Try to make it cohesive but, if it’s not, don’t stress. The point is to exercise your writing muscles. Repeat this process until you reach the end of the blurb. You’ve then got yourself some solid writing. This exercise is great because you can easily choose another number and do it all over again – especially if you find that you’re landing on lots of ‘ands’ or ‘ofs’ – which can be challenging, but aren’t quite as juicy as ‘legs’ or ‘malabsorption’.

By Cathy Tran

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