Thursday, November 29, 2007

do my homework

Despite the fact that my head is full of paint chips, I’ve been trying to get back into writing after a prolonged break (weird how breaks are so prone to prolongation). I’m not quite ready to start draft three of my novel, though, so I’ve been trying to do some freewriting. More specifically, I’ve been trying to write the way I used to, which was to start 12 or 13 stories and see what stuck.

But so far nothing’s sticking. I don’t even necessarily need it to stick, but I need to be inspired enough to not be lured away from my laptop by exciting tasks like putting all my sweaters with holes in them in a bag for Goodwill. (Except the green V-neck. I just can’t let that one go. Or the pink cashmere I got for 75 percent off.)

I’ve been experimenting not only with retro form but with retro content as well. I’ve written some little pieces featuring subject matter that intrigued me as a budding middle school writer: babysitting (I must have been newly inspired by What Claudia Wore), haunted houses, The Popular Kids.

Maybe tonight I’ll try a murder mystery. I’m only writing the beginning, so I won’t have to worry about solving it.

Anyway, they say you should never be afraid to ask for help. So I’m calling on you, Bread and Breadketeers (I was just watching some YouTube footage of the old new Mickey Mouse Club on my friend Mandy’s blog. It’s pretty amazing), to provide me with writing prompts.

Here’s how it works: In the comments section, let me know what you’d like to read a story about (hot air balloons! Midgets! Ethiopia’s role in World War II!), and I promise to write at least 400 words about it and post it here.

Or—for you limber creative writing class pros—you can leave me a wackier, more constraint-based prompt (a cutup of my high school journal entries! A story composed only of verbs!). Except, please don’t actually ask me to write a story composed only of verbs.

And if any comment-turned-short-blog-story actually makes it to publication, I promise to share my earnings with you. So make room on your bookshelf for one complementary copy.

14 comments:

Tracy Kaply said...

EVIL PIGS! Actual PIGS that are EVIL, not in anyway metaphorical, but EVIL and PIGS.

Sorry about the caps, but I get excited, especially when I've had an energy drink, which is like THREE CUPS OF COFFEE, if coffee tasted of cranberry/grapefruit juice.

Cheryl said...

So does this mean I can or can't make it an allegory about certain presidential administrations? Just kidding.

One evil pig (sorry--EVIL PIG) story coming up.

C.C. (aka AK) said...

Here's a story I can't seem to get off the ground: A woman selling a bucket of roses by the side of the freeway. A messy-haired 20-something drives up and taps his fingers and looks guilty. He rolls down the wedding, asks "How much for them all?," and pulls out a wad of cash and buys them. Go!

cc said...

He rolls down the WINDOW (not wedding). Weird slip there.

Nicole said...

I'd like to see you write an extremely personal non-fiction story about something you experienced in your life. You tend to focus most of your writing on writing first person from other characters' perspectives. I want to see more Cheryl! (That coming from the journalist/personal essayist who reads mostly non-fiction).

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

A bitter physicist plots to take over the world.

Not that this is a personal story in any way.

Don Cummings said...

I think we writers need to MOVE in order to get things going. So I suggest this: Go outside and take a walk and about fifteen minutes into it ask yourself, "What's REALLY bothering me?" And write about it.

Cheryl said...

AK: I'm going to include a wedding in my roses-and-window story.

Nicole and Don: What, the blog isn't personal enough for you? Wasn't it clear that what was really bothering me was whether to paint my new place Chapel Hill green or Wheat Field gold? :-)

Sara: Now, that's more like it!

Jamie said...

How about a story from the point of view of a coyote.

Claire said...

Hmm, I'm kind of with Nicole actually since what resonates most for me in blogs in usually their non-fiction quality. So more cheerleader high school drama or something. :)

Failing that, in regards to your comment on TTaT: You weren't at all tempted by the Scooby Doo band-aid/mini-skateboard?

I say: I love me some Scooby Doo, but I have no idea what a "bop bag" is. Perhaps after you bop someone, you give them a Scooby band-aid to shut them up? Or skateboard away fast? Hmm.

Tale of the Scooby Doo bop bag- there's a writing assignment for ya.

Claire said...

Another: write a chronological series of moments from ten first dates starting at the very beginning.

If you're more of a "hang out" person, then use the first instance in which it changed into more than hanging out.

Cheryl said...

Claire: I actually just wrote a post in response to Nicole's prompt, which is sort of about first dates. So hopefully that will kill two birds with one blog.

erin said...

How about a "ripped-from-the-headlines" story? Here's the headline I was thinking of:
2 naked men walk into store, buy candy and drinks
(This was seriously a national headline last week...)
Oh, and so far I love the stories. All of them.

Cheryl said...

Ooh, I love it! Thanks for your ideas everyone. I'm having a ton of fun with this, and it's keeping me distracted from all the things that are keeping me distracted from my novel. Which is a good thing.

But I think my dance card is full now--after the bitter physicist, the coyote, the runaway and the naked guy, we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming.