Sunday, April 10, 2011
Blog Chain - Aimless Direction
When was the last time you just sat down and started writing, with nothing but a whisper of an idea to guide you? Did you find it easy to do or did you find yourself struggling for a more organized story?
It might appear that I do this all the time. But in all honesty, even I ruminate over an idea for a while before applying my hands to the keyboard. The last time I truly did this however, was during a short story class I took. The teacher would give us a writing prompt and we had 15 minutes or so to get something down on paper. It was incredibly challenging and yet incredibly invigorating as well. When we were asked to share our writing, it was really interesting to see what everyone came up with.
One of the things I like about this type of writing is that it allows me to get outside of editor mode. Because I have no idea where I'm going, I can't judge whether I've written anything right or wrong. Of course this means that we're talking about first draft quality writing, but sometimes the best phrasing comes when our mind is really not engaged. We are concentrating on what we're doing of course, but hopefully we're cranking out words so quickly that we don't have time to second guess ourselves.
To illustrate what I mean, I'm going to randomly pick a word right now (and I guess you'll just have to trust me). I will then write a snippet based on that word. For the record, I've used this to get my word. The word it chose for me is Vestige. So here goes:
Any vestige of humanity was gone, replaced by malice and loathing for the two legged creatures around him. Alex watched them scurry about, hidden as he was within the shadowed confines of the alley. Each person represented possibility, another chance for him to fulfill the need pulsing at his temples. The pain of it sometimes made him wince, but his mouth would stretch in a grin regardless. Pain was intoxicating, more so if he could inflict it on others. But even his own pain had become a drug, which was the reason for the countless scars dancing across his hidden forearms.
He pushed the pounding blackness to a small recess in his mind, keeping it there as he concentrated on his potential prey. The time for striking was almost at hand, he thought as Alex noticed the number of pedestrians become less and less. Finally he heard the telltale signs of a woman's hurried steps, the cadence of her high heels echoing in the night. The scream as he grabbed her was a vicious wine, and he reveled in the way her nails dug at his body ineffectually. Yes, let them exchange pain for pain, he thought. Hers would be more delicious than his own, but only a fool would ignore one over the other. Then he choked her into unconsciousness, barely keeping from laughing aloud as her struggles lessened. Time to play. He turned away from the street and tossed her body into the back of the van. The hunt might be over, but the fun had barely begun.
So there you have it, a very small snippet but still fun to write. I have managed not to edit as I go, which probably shows up blatantly. But this is one type of writing I love to do. I love to just go for it and let the words drip out however they may, leaving splashes of color on the page wherever they fall.
Have you ever tried doing something like this? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Since I'm the first one on the chain, check out how Michelle McLean answers this one.