Monday, 13 December 2010

Er... Well, Let's Just Try That One Again.

I really need to research creative writing exercises. Nobody at a recent writer's meeting had any new ones, so we tried this classic gem:

Everyone at the table has two slips of paper. On one, they write the opening line of a story. On the other, they write the closing line.

We pass the opening line to the left, and the closing line to the right.

We now have new opening and closing lines. Weave a story starting with one and ending with another. WARNING: This is HARD.

The opening line I received:
“He looked at the jar on the top shelf, hidden slightly by the jam.”

The closing line:
“Well fuck you, and fuck him too, I thought.”

I find you never know what you're writing until it's scrawled out in front of you. Here's what had appeared on my page when the timer beeped.

He looked at the jar on the top shelf, slightly hidden by the jam.

“Go on,” I said. “Pick it up.”

He reached up and nudged the jar aside.

“Bet you wished you'd eaten your greens,” I said, trying to be funny.

“Actually, it's protein that makes you grow. Dairy and meat. Greens have nothing to do with it.”

I looked at the floor for a second. “Okay...”

Bob said he'd find it funny. I hoped he was right.

His fingers reached the rim of the giant jar. It made a noise as it moved slightly, pushing the jam aside. It was blue and opaque, with no lid.


The jam jar slipped off, shattering on the cans on the shelf below, firing red goo in all directions. The blue tub followed, scattering peanuts over the shelf and over him. He made a spitting noise, like he was choking.

“I'm allergic to peanuts, you dick!”

“I didn't know! It was Bob's idea!”

Well fuck you, and fuck him too, I thought.

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