A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing Exercises For The Stuck Writer

Thanks to Elle Scott, I found a great post about writing exercises for the writer who needs a little help. The idea is to pick something random like an image, a ordinary object, a scene between two people, whatever. You then write something about it. Don't dictate the true nature of the object, but instead use it as a launching point to leap from. Or describe the scene as something entirely different than it actually is. There are numerous ways to work through this exercise (explained so much better over at Apollo's Lyre, of course), so I will do my best to pick something and run with it. Feel free to comment on what I have or continue where I leave off.

"We've been sitting on these stools forever", Jodi complained. "I thought you had a plan for getting us out of here. I swear, this constant swinging back and forth is going to drive me over the edge." The air rushed by as they turned, her body rigid as steel.

"Shhh". The reprimand came quickly, Robert begging her to keep still. "I don't think he knows we can move yet, and I'd like to keep it that way, okay?" His eyes slid to the left and right before staring her down once more. "Those two get it so why can't you?" The young woman to his right was an impeccable statue, as was the man to his right. Each of them had a hand on the counter, a murky glass in their grasp. They dare not drink however, no matter how appealing the cold liquid looked. There was no way to replace even a single drop of the precious fluid, and Robert was sure it would be noticed. After all, their captor lifted the glass walls every week, checking the machine that kept them in perpetural rotation. The constant motion of their seats was wearing on him as well, but tonight that would end. One way or another, they were getting out.

The day dragged on, each click of the machine taunting his brain as it turned them. Jodi was cracking; He had to get her out or they were all doomed. Another week of this and she'd make a break for it with no regard for anything. Martin and Heather were silent as usual. After being placed on the stools and watching the glass walls slam home, the pair had fallen into despair. The smiles pasted on their face was a facade, just like the ones he and Jodi had to maintain. He wasn't even sure he could convince his friends to join them, but then he realized it was out of his hands. They would either recognize the opportunity and snap out of it or they'd be stuck here forever. His hand ached as he held onto the glass. He hadn't let go of the damn thing for what must be years. He didn't even know if he would be able to move his fingers when the time came.

Finally the light outside vanished, their jailor striding away humming some strange tune. Robert still didn't move, despite Jodi's eyes boring into him. The clicks became hammers, reverberating against the walls each time they turned. The darkness around them was a black sea, puncuated only by the rhythmic motion of the machine. It turned them this way and that, its robotic constancy grating on his skull. "I'm going to jump", he whispered. Though she didn't nod, he could see the acknowledgement in Jodi's eyes. Martin and Heather were stone, their breathing barely noticeable. Robert gathered what little energy he had left and pushed off with his feet, letting himself slide backwards off the stool. Pain tore through his hand as it was ripped from the glass, mirrored by a thousand needles of pain throughout his legs. The swinging motion threw him violently against the glass wall, and he blacked out as his head met the crimson floor. Jodi was off her own seat with a scream, not faring much better than he as she attempted to leap free. Martin and Heather however, sat numbly on their perch, their eyes locked on each other.

After long moments, Robert was able to open his eyes. He rubbed life back into his legs, hoping he could still walk after sitting for so long. He opted instead to kneel, not wanting to waste any of his energy needlessly. His head was spinning from the impact, but he searched the darkness for Jodi's limp form. She was across the way, apparently lifeless. Hugging the curving glass wall, he crawled towards her body. Her long blonde hair was in disarray, her soft blue eyes closed as if in sleep. "Jodi". Robert touched her cheek with his fingertips. "Talk to me, baby. Don't give up now." With a flutter, her eyes opened a crack. "Promise me we'll never have to do that again", she moaned. Robert helped her sit up as he nodded, "I promise. We're getting out of here as soon as you can walk." She smiled as he embraced her, their mutual body heat the only source of warmth. "Then let's get the hell out" she replied with a grin.

Robert turned towards the glass, his fingers searching the lower edge for purchase. Sure enough, he was able to worm his fingers underneath. The weight of the glass was painful, but he no longer cared. With a loud groan, he lifted the heavy glass a foot, his arms straining with effort. "Martin", he yelled. "I can't get it high enough without your help." Martin tried to look in his direction, his neck straining. The turning of the machine kept him from seeing his friend however. He would have to jump off this crazy ride if he was going to do anything. With a loud crash, the wall came slamming back down on Robert's hands. A scream tore from him as the pain intensified. "Martin dammit, help me!" He knew he had only moments before it was too late, before his hands were crushed.

I've ended it here on purpose, because I'm curious where other writers would take it to. I will reveal the source of this inspiration later on, because I think you'll find it an interesting surprise. But give me a few sentences if you're up to it, or a paragraph even. Or feel free to start your own writing exercise. This was really fun, so I may make this a normal Wednesday thing. Who knows.


Danyelle said...

Great ideas!

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

Sweat oozed out the pores of Roberts forehead. They felt like tiny pin pricks as they moved over the surface of his face. He closed his eyes and focused on holding the glass a few inches off the ground. Between clinched teeth he pleaded, "Please Marty, for the love of God."

His energy wanned, his breathing quickened. Freedom had seemed so attainable only seconds before, now disaster lay with the tick of each second.

On the other side of the glass he spotted a paper clip through a river of sweat and tears. If only--so close.

As if reading his mind, Jodi slipped a tiny hand beneath the glass. Robert wanted to protest, but lacked the strength. Now they may both loose their hands. He grunted and made a super human effort to hold it together.

Jodi tugged at the metal implement, but it wouldn't budge.

Eric said...

Really nice follow-up Elizabeth. I'm glad you enjoyed it enough to add some more. And thank you Danyelle.

Lou said...

Welcome to my blog! Thanks for following. This is actually a great writing exercise. I might try that! Thanks for the pointers! :)

Litgirl01 said...

Very nice post!! :-)

Amy Tate said...

Hi Eric, thanks for following my blog! This sounds like an exercise that I did for my fiction class at Hollins. We would limit the scene to say, 500 words and then take turns reading in small groups of five. I love what you've written. If I were writing from here, I'd get inside the mind of the captor, then jump back into the escape. Good luck!

Jenna said...

Wow, that was pretty awesome! Also thanks for the writing exercise idea. :) I think this would definitely make a great weekly thing. I might have to do it, myself.

Sorry I haven't been around lately. I just finished up with school and finals and crap, so hopefully I'll be getting back into regular commenting mode soon.

Brinda Ravi said...

Wow that's some really great advice!! I'm new to Blogspot and I hope you do come around and check out some of my pieces. Sure they're a little amateurish but I do hope they're good enough to read. Thanks.