Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Word Wednesday: Word Wars

So this is a little phenomenon was introduced to me by some dear writer friends of mine whom I met during a writing class run by Francesca Lia Block (a class I highly reccommend taking if you are either a fan, a writer or both, seeing as it has almost completely changed my life!). I haven't been part of a word war for quite a while, we've all been rather busy with work and life and an exciting new project which I can't say too much about right now. Nothing like a little healty mystery to get the curiosity cogs a-turning.

For me the exercise of Word Wars has been indespensible in unplugging writers block and pulling me out of countless plot slumps/cliche character dialogue dilemmas, and you don't even need a group of people to do it (although it does make it a bit more fun!)

But how does it work?

Well first you set your time limit; I suggest a small one to get warmed up, say 7 mins.
And then you write. You write for 7 minutes with no pauses, no coffee breaks, no deleting or editing. You just write until that time goes off, and then step back and have a look what you've created! It may be a little messy or rambling, there may be a lot of spelling mistakes. But I am almost certain that you will unearth from that 7 minutes of unobstructed creatvitiy the perfect sentence, an idea that breaths real life into your story, or that vital plot twist that has eluded you for so long.

I love word warring with other people, and yet as much as I would love to be sitting in a room with all these wonderful women writing on candy coloured vintage typewriters, me living in the opposite hemisphere means we have to word war by facebook chat. But group writing is great because  you can compare word counts to see who the "winner" is, share your final sentences, and there's always an endless amount of good vibes and encouragement.
However, it also feels good to war with yourself,especially if you're feeling like you're in a bit of a writer's funk, to throw up some ideas without the left side of your brain getting in the way. You can even set yourself word limit goals, and then aim to beat them.

Here's one I prepared earlier! And when I say earlier, I literally mean about 15 mins earlier

Word War #1
Word Count: 255

I don’t know where to start; I thought I did, but when you’re given an infinite amount of possibilities the ideas come and then they go like stars; you reach out to grab a hold of one, but then you realise that it died a long long time ago. I want to talk with someone who knows a lot about astronomy, who can teach me how to read the stars, how to see the future in them. Does the fact that I can see the big dipper even when the sky is laden with smog mean that my life will always be exciting? Or that it will just go up and down and soon I won’t be able to handle it, I’ll just wish for some mundane day to wash my hair paint my toenails and take out the garbage. I might even go down to the post office, send a letter to my grandmother who I was supposed to visit this weekend but I can’t because I  have to wash my hair and paint my toenails and take out the garbage. I’ll go and see her next week though, if I’m not too busy.
The nebulas look the old women’s hair, pale pink and pastel purple spun fairyfloss; young girls want these colours now, they want old clothes too, or clothes in old styles stiched only weeks ago by children who work like old women, children without childhoods, only needles and thread and a dream that they could one day wear a dress without sweat stains.

It's far from perfect, but theres some stuff in there I can work with, maybe even the bud of a new story! Go on. I dare you to give it a go.

Happy Word Wednesday everyone!

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