Thursday, 31 March 2011

Pass it around

Writing exercise.

Everyone at the table needs a full sheet of paper. Write a character’s name. Pass it to the right. Or left. Up to you, but keep it the same direction.

On your new sheet, write an age for the character. Pass it on.

With the next sheet, write an occupation. Rotate.

Next, write a place. Get your next slip.

Write a time. Pass it around.

Finally, write an object. Pass it one last time.

In our group, this brought our original sheet back to us. You might need to include an additional story element- perhaps a colour, an animal, or an emotion, perhaps- to return to your original slip.

With 15 minutes on the clock, write a scene that incorporates all of these elements.

My sheet read like this:

Name: Bart Quinn
Age: 40
Occupation: Professional hired killer
Place: Amazon Rainforest
Time: Dawn (5am)
Object: Barbie Doll

My scene read like this:

They don’t tell him why she’s got to die. If he wants the cash, he goes to wherever they send him. That’s why he’s slumped against a giant ancient oak tree, waiting for the sun to come up. Under the vast Amazon canopy, the air is still cold, the half-light still straining his vision. Above tree level, it would be light by now. The parrots have already started to shriek.

Bart Quinn wiped his brow and took another sip of water. He looked at his client’s picture. Shame she’s good-looking, he thought. He tried to think of her as a Barbie doll, plastic and inanimate. With his eyes straining, she didn’t look far off.

Her camp was a few miles away. If he kept his pace up, he’d arrive just in time to blow her brains out over her breakfast. His Beretta was loaded up to the hilt. Bart was twice the size of his client. Even without the gun, she wouldn’t stand a chance-

He slapped his neck, swatting a mosquito. Then he screamed. No mosquito was that big. The legs clung to him like fingers, with one nail dug into his flesh. The scorpion sat on his hand, jamming the tail into him. He shook, but the creature clung like a koala to his flesh. Bart breathed in hoarsely, letting the photograph fall to the floor. He slumped on top of it.

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