Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oops and ice breakers

I have spent the last 15 minutes looking for today's post on this blog only to finally realize that it is actually Thursday today and not Wednesday. That means that I am supposed to provide the blog post for today. It's a shame really because I was totally preparing for it to appear tomorrow...oh well here it is.

Ice Breakers- that's what we call a question or a game that breaks the awkward tension of meeting new people in a group setting or not so group setting. Akin to the pick up line, but much more benign these sentences are meant to get conversation started. So why not use them with writing exercises? Here are some ways that I have decided to chip at my writer's block(ice cold right now) and break it down:
1) Ask my characters a few ice breaking questions. (What is your most embarrasing moment? what was the bravest thing you ever did? stupidest? funniest? most daring? What food would you crave most if you could no longer eat food?)

2) Take one answer and use it as a story starter. Begin an entirely new story and take it as far as it goes and then start a new one.

3) Make a one line plot summary of the climax of the story before filing it away for future projects.

Here is how my steps went today:
1) Character: Tayla Russo
Question: What is the stupidest thing you have ever done? Tayla said, "I took a job as a reporter with the Zephyr Cove Gazette."
Question: What is your most embarrasing moment? Tayla: "Getting arrested in front of my mom."
Question: What is the funniest thing you've ever seen? Tayla: "Rick Truman belly flop in a mud puddle."

2) Story Starter: Tayla wished with all of her skipping heart that someone would throw a burlap sack over her head. However, there were no meciful sack holders in sight, only Mom and her stoic assurance that she would be right behind the police, a smelly rotund detective wrenching her arms too forcefully and the inevitable black and white door opened wide with no handle on the inside. The portly detective shoved her in the back seat of the cruiser and she landed face down on the malodorous faux leather. Her mother hissed quietly just before the door slammed.

Tayla waited for the hot tears of fury to strike and save her from the oppressive embarrasment of being dragged unceremoniously from Sunday dinner in handcuffs. The tears, much like the burlap sack, never appeared to relieve her. In the end an even more suitable balm soothed her nerves as her mind conjured triumphant phrases she would use to evicerate Rick Tanner and his corrupt detective in her next article. Provided she could get access to a laptop in her cell, or Mom managed bail before midnight, Tanner would be toast by the Monday morning addition of the Gazette.

3) Plot summary. Sorry that one isn't getting posted. But I'll be sure to put it in my file for the day Tayla gets her turn to tell the rest of the story.

Following with the spirit of this weeks posts, give us a few story starters in your comments.


  1. Hahahahahaha awesome.

    1) If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? Riley: Well, Granddad named me after a snake. At first I thought it was a code-name for the tech he gave be, but after everything that happened back in the States, I think it's more fitting that I just bite people I don't like and keep making cold-blooded decisions. PS--I hate you, Graham.

    2) Story starter: "Being homeless is a real eye-opener. I still hate gypsies. They stole my backpack, and there's a lot of important stuff in there--like the story of what happened in the States, and the list of people I'm supposed to contact in the UK. Not that any of THAT matters, 'cause I landed in friggin' Spain."

    3) Plot summary: Read the first book of Sidewinder, then I'll tell you a few spoilers ;-D

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has lost all track of time. :)

    Great idea Donna. If only I were a disciplined enough writer to actually do outlines, summaries, etc. You gave me some good things to think about.

  3. Looking up from my spot on the porch, I saw Thunder climbing up the valley. Only he knows my fate. Was the pottery valuable enough to trade for spears and tools from the distant tribes? Will Rain get to exctract my sentance after all these winters and have me thrown of the balcony?

    Thunder was moving too quickly. I missed him, but I was too afraid of the truth to hear it from him.

  4. Nice work guys. I'm going to work on a completely new start today. Its about time to build up some files of story ideas to go back to someday. Keep working.