A Man, A Woman, and A Clown

For no real reason, I’m going to share the results of another writing exercise I did a while back. The prompt was the same as the title of this post, and we had fifteen minutes to write.

Feel free to have a go yourself before reading on and seeing what I did with it.

I think that’s the fun thing about doing writing exercises based on basic writing prompts: seeing what different people turn that prompt into. And, if you could wipe your memory (or exercise great restraint and avoid copying yourself), how different would your little story be if you did the exercise again next week? Month? Year? Decade?

From a basic prompt, what comes about can be influenced not only by your overall life experiences, but also where your head is at in that very moment. What TV show did you watch that might inspire you? What book have you been reading? What were you discussing with workmates over lunch? All these seemingly incidental things can influence your creative output, especially when it is “just” an exercise and isn’t constrained by story rules established for a longer piece.

So… fifteen minutes. A Man, A Woman, and A Clown… what did you come up with?

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Stories have a tendency to write themselves…

… no matter how much you think you know better… you probably don’t. The story knows.

So, I’m still writing. Yes, yes, I know, I haven’t kept you updated… been too busy writing, or thinking up marketing strategies for HEALER’S TOUCH – often having to remind myself that the best marketing strategy for HT is to get WARRIOR’S TOUCH out there…

But I just felt like sharing something…

This may not be true for everyone, but for me, it really is: my stories write themselves, and if I try to go against them, I get stifled.

I’ve been reminded of this fact a couple of times recenty.

A few weeks ago I had an idea for WT. I thought “That’ll be really cool, and according to well-established story beats, a good time for that to happen would be… later in the story.” Cool, I thought. I have something to work towards.

Wrong.

I stagnated.

I kept pushing on, telling myself “Come on, write, there’s good stuff coming.” Not that I thought what I was writing at the time was terrible, or even bad. I was just struggling to find momentum in my writing.

Then I had an epiphany. That idea that I thought would work best coming later in the story could easily

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What can be achieved

After procrastinating (although, one could argue that the music purchasing – I’m a member of an online music voting group – and software buying – I’d nearly reached the end of my free trial period with Scrivener, and I like it – was necessary), I finally set about doing some writing during my son’s late morning sleep today. He’s due to wake soon, so I’m going type this note quickly. I learned something the other day – yesterday, in fact … No, I’ll say I learned it now, actually.

See, during my procrastinating yesterday, I visited Elmore Leonard’s website and looked up some of his stuff. I came across a short interview with him, in which he said that he didn’t always know how a scene was going to go, he just knew its purpose, and then he would write it. He also mentioned that characters had to talk to him or they were liable to get killed off, but that’s another matter. It came as a breath of fresh air to me. When I first started writing, I just wrote and hoped something entertaining would come of it. And, something did. It wasn’t awesome, but people liked it.

Then I got further and further along the path of enlightenment. I learned about the Snowflake method, I learned about Outlining, I learned about PLANNING … And then I got pregnant and had a baby (oh, the Outlining learning came after the baby … but, meh, details details), and time to write got ever shorter. And so I got to thinking – it’s not about working harder (I don’t have the time for that), it’s about working smarter. My thinking started to turn towards building up a rock-solid outline, have everything nutted out and planned, so I knew exactly how things would play out, and when I had time to write I could do just that.

But …

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