After I posted my “Weird Wednesday Writing Exercises,” Heather Moore left a note in the comment trail asking me to do it myself and then post the results. By Jove, I believe I shall!
Let’s see now – I’ll tell you what I’m doing so you can see the process.
1. Walk over to your nearest fiction bookshelf.
2. Pull off six books that have blue covers.
Okay, now, here’s a problem. When we moved into our trailer home, I had to decide what to leave out and what to store. We have a great storage unit here and I rotate my books, but I’m not about to go trotting out there right now (it’s been raining and it’s muddy and I’m a wimp.) And most of the books I have out right now are nonfiction, for research. I only found four fiction books with blue covers, so we’ll reuse two of them.
3. Arrange them in alphabetical order by the author's first name.
Done! What I have is as follows:
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Until the Dawn by Gale Sears
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressman
4. Open Book #1 to page 39. Write down the first line of the fourth paragraph.
“Again the tendril touched his mind, but this time, instead of curiosity, he sensed an overpowering, ravenous hunger.”
5. Open Book #2 to page 3. Write down the sixth line of the first paragraph.
“Hadn’t he seen her undo the clasp and look lovingly at the pictures many times a day?”
6. Open Book #3. What is the main character's name? That will be the name of your main character.
My main character’s name is Rueben.
7. Open Book #4 to page 100. Count fifty-six words into the page. Whatever the fifty-seventh word is, write it down and prepare to use it.
8. Open Book #5 to page 23. What is the main conflict on that page? Write it down.
I’m reusing “Peace like a River.” The conflict here: a girl is being beat up by a couple of boys in a locker room and the janitor comes in and saves her.
9. Open Book #6. Read the last page. Use this conclusion to end your story.
I’m reusing “Until the Dawn.” The conclusion: the main character and his mother are dancing a joyous dance in a spring-drenched pasture.
Okay, so now I’ve got my elements. We have a predator with an overpowering, ravenous hunger. We have a locket which is being looked at lovingly. Our main character is Rueben. Something will happen viciously, and a girl is being beat up and then saved. Now, the joyous dancing in the spring-drenched pasture may prove tricky, so I’m going to take a break here and think about all this for a few minutes.
About four hours later: I got sidetracked. Sorry. Okay, here we go.
Rueben took a step back, his body shielding Vicki from further blows. He could tell from the balled-up fist pressed against his back that she still clutched her locket close to her chest. What was with her and that locket, anyway? She must open it up twelve times a day.
“Give it to me,” the rough-looking man said, raising a gun with his right hand and holding out the left. Rueben sensed something odd about this man – a wildness about the eyes, frantic, an almost overpowering hunger. “Give me the locket.”
“No,” she said, her voice muffled.
The man came closer, and Rueben could smell his breath, hot and heavy, humid, like Nebraska in July. He tried to shove Rueben to the side, but Rueben wouldn’t be shoved. The alley was dark and deserted. He was Vicki’s only chance.
The gun came down across Rueben’s head, a vicious blow that stunned him. White light shot across his eyes, morphing into yellow, a nice, sunlit yellow, like the time his mother took him for a picnic out in the meadow. He was about five years old, and she had taken his hands and danced with him in the sunlight. Shaking his head, he chased away the memory and brought himself sharply back into the present in time to see the man dashing down the alley and Vicki holding her neck, a long red stripe of welted skin where the necklace used to be.
That was fun! Now it’s your turn!