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January 21st 2023 - Preparing for next week's course

I'm on a 6-day streak with my "show up to my desk" task. The timing is good I think as it's already paying dividends.

I'm mainly doing preparatory work for the Goldsmiths course that starts Tuesday evening.

The advice was to:

  1. Immerse yourself in stories (no problem there)

  2. Journal (again, no issue between my daily journal and my exercise book)

  3. Complete a writing task

The writing task was to pick a prompt and write something up to 1000 words.

The first one I picked from a long list was: "Write a 13-word story"

This took me back to an online seminar I attended last year run by Jon McGregor. He was talking about ways of filling the blank page, getting started and generating ideas. His seminar in particular was what kicked off my habit of keeping a writing exercise book where I just make observations, play games and write whatever to keep in practice.

One of the things he spoke about was the importance of games or puzzles. How they can restrict what you need to write down to the solving of a problem. A story in 13 words sounded just like this. It's a problem to be solved, so I started there and then worked on variations around that.

  1. First I just tried to write a 13-word story, with no extra rules.

  2. Then I took a game of Wordle and used the 4 words that came from that, trying to fit them into a 13-word story.

  3. Then I tried to write a 13-word story using only 13-letter words.

  4. Then I took a 13-word sentence from a news article and replaced all of the words with the ones that appeared 13 entries later in the dictionary.

  5. Then I tried to write a sentence that started with a 1-letter word and then continued to add 1 letter until I finished with a 13-letter word.

Nothing I wrote was very long but I ended up having to think creatively for each variation of the exercise and I ended up with some lines which could act as prompts to further stories.

Another prompt I liked was to start a story with a line of dialogue. There was a line of dialogue I'd recorded from a writing exercise in the park ("Come onnnnn - we're gonna get stuck in this fuckin' mud") that I liked the idea of starting with so I continued to write with that.

It's at 456 words so far with a working title of 'Wordle Mud and Terry'.

Looking forward to Tuesday now.


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