Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baggott & Asher Writerly Boot Camp. Day 12.

[To your left -- Freud, with cigar.]

[If you find yourself here, baffled, lost, disoriented,
here's the link to the post that might clarify
what you've just stumbled upon --
complete with pic of Louis Gossett Jr.
and Richard Gere.]

A small note: If you want to share your bits, head on over to the link that I post on Facebook every morning around 9 or 10am. You can decide how much or how little you want to share. You don't have to share ANYthing at all. Not one word. (People have been asking and I had mentioned opening up my comments section but have decided Facebook works just fine.)
I'm there at this link.

Exercises 1-4 will be used in exercise 6.

1. Memory Exercise. This is designed to guide you (goad you) into mucking around where the important, psychologically resonant stuff is stored.

Today, take a minute to recall some of your dreams -- jot down the five most vivid from any point in your life.

2. Eavesdropping Exercise. This exercise is ALWAYS the same, every day. Give me 3 things you've overheard. Start a good writerly habit.

Pretend you're in your childhood home. Jot three sounds that you hear there.

3. Reading as a writer. I'll be mixing this up from day to day, with some repeats.

Memorize a new favorite line from a book you love.

4. Image Exercise. This one is also the same every day -- more or less -- and hopefully habit-forming. Jot 3 images. Look at something closely. Notice something. Pay attention.

Today, pick something ordinary and make it divine.

5. The Quote. Everyday I will provide a quote and either a little rant on it or an exercise paired with it.

“I guarantee you that no modern story scheme, even plotlessness, will give a reader genuine satisfaction, unless one of those old fashioned plots is smuggled in somewhere. I don’t praise plots as accurate representations of life, but as ways to keep the reader reading.” Kurt Vonnegut
I love this quote. It's honest. It makes clear an intention -- to keep the reader reading. If this isn't your intention then you should be aware of it. (And you shouldn't be upset when readers stop reading. In fact, if you kind of despise the reader or hold the reader in disdain, this is a perfect literary loophole that you can live in happily -- and/or with righteous indignation, smug bitterness, and a self-proclaimed genius's sense of being misunderstood in his/her lifetime -- indefinitely. And more power to you!) But if you appreciate the reader or even adore the reader, if you feel an emptiness when there is no reader, if you feel that your work is done -- at its best -- with a reader on the other end of things, then you should take heed to what Vonnegut is saying here. Plot is good -- maybe not in and of itself -- but for very practical reasons for the health of this relationship you've entered into with the readership. It's a politesse in this ongoing courtship.

6. Quilting Exercise. This will always be the same but the parts will change daily.

Pick and choose from the things you've jotted so far -- those disparate elements -- and use them to create something. But don't force it too hard. Have some faith in the resonance of these things in and of themselves. These elements have all been dredged to the surface. They're bobbing in your brain. Start writing something even if you don't know what it is. Let these things bounce in and out. Work. Row.