Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Round Dog

Here's an odd-but-effective method of developing a creative writing piece. Next time you're at your writer's group, warm up with this exercise: Give each member two slips of paper. On the first, we write an adjective. On the other, we write a noun. These are folded up and placed into two respective piles.

Each pile is shuffled separately and each member picks out one nounslip and one verb slip. The title and subject for each person's vignette is “The (adjective) (noun)”.

With 10 minutes on the clock, I produced this story. You might be surprised by where it leads. (Geddit? “Leads”? Oh well.)

The Round Dog

Bert's dog wasn't like other dogs. Sure, he could take Dougal for walks, and yeah, he'd bark once in a while, but Dougal was a difficult dog to look after. Difficult to stroke, difficult to explain and very hard to get over stiles on country walks. Dougal was round. I don't mean rotund, like Bert had been feeding him too much- I mean round. He was a circular dog. A tubular canine. A growth defect after being born in an empty tank on the back of a diesel transporter.

When Bert took Dougal for walks, he clipped the lead to the collar, a leather strap fitperfectly to the circumference of the dog. Bert would go for a stroll, Dougal for a roll. As they walked, the lead would whip up and down like a lasoo.

Across from Dougal, on a bright day, a border collie was chasing a frisbee, leaping to catch it in his mouth.

Dougal tugged at the lead and Bert untied him to let him roam.

Dougal, confused by the collie's behaviour, rotated towards the dog and bit the dog on the ankle. The dog went full-circle and bit the 360-degree dog in return.

Hmm. Yes. The last sentence was written after the alarm had sounded, hence the clunkiness. Rebel!

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