I completed the last section of this challenge and made it out alive. Here you’ll find the last 3 challenges, as well as my thoughts on the whole exercise.
Day 12: Describe a first. Your first kiss, your first kitten, your first day of school, something like that.
What I wrote for this challenge constitutes an inside joke that only some old friends of mine would understand. So I won’t publish it or even include it here. But I will say that I tried something very similar to what I did for Challenge #7. And it only works if you know the situation. It was called Norman (402 words).
So, the bottom line: It was fun to write but the result was of no value. The value was only in the exercise itself. My writing brain felt good afterwards.
Day 13: Write a 600 word “conversation” in which no words are said. This exercise is meant to challenge you to work with gesture, body language, all the things we convey to each other without words.
This one was fun. I thought writing a conversation that was just body language would be boring. I also didn’t want to do anything serious because of the word limitation. Besides, my brain immediately went to one specific idea: a customer interacting with a cashier by using the products he purchases as his method of communication.
I like the premise and I like the result. I call it Swan and Phoenix, Beef and Ice Cream (657 words). And yes, I’ll be cleaning it up and attempting to publish it some day in the future.
Day 14: Write a story backwards.
The last challenge was pretty open ended. I wanted to stay away from something akin to film Memento, and try to put my own spin on this idea.
So I took some liberties and instead of a story I wrote a poem. I had this idea for a poem that I was kicking around for years. Something that I would think about in free moments and wonder how exactly to articulate it. This was a great opportunity to get a draft down on paper. So that’s exactly what I did. I call it “Ice Cream Music”.
I’m not usually a poet, but I really like the theme behind this one and the structure that the idea provides. This one you will hopefully see the light of day sooner rather than later.
That was the last challenge! So what did I think of this exercise?
Well, I finished and I have nearly a dozen works that I want to do something more with. By any measure that is a success. I would recommend anyone who is stuck for inspiration try something similar.
Most of these challenges came from readily available writing inspiration books:
- The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction
- 642 Things to Write About
- The Writer’s Lab: A Place to Experiment with Fiction
I’m sure, if you looked, that you would find something in these or others to inspire your own art in some way. My only issue, and its a small one, is that the results of these exercises need a little more tender loving care than my other writing, which I take more time with. That means more editing, more rewriting, and more time on each story. So it will take a significant amount of time to work through these, get them where I want them and start the submitting process.
But that’s at trade-off that may not be an issue for you. It wasn’t really for me. In my mind, anything that gets me putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), is worth it simply because it engages my creative brain. And creativity is the only thing that separates us from the beasts.