Monday, July 11, 2011

Baggott & Asher Writerly Boot Camp. Day 9

[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.
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, jot 3 sentences that include a person's name and the phrase: the type of person who always...

These are good to keep in mind and to collect -- defining characteristics.

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

This is designed to help get you in the mode of listening and NOTING what you hear. Because some of you do these exercises in the morning (I'm all for freshest brain cells and PAYING YOURSELF FIRST), you might have to do this part of the exercise the day before. Pay attention to things you overhear or bits of conversation or snippets from radio or TV with no other context (an easy way to play catch-up) or the stories people tell or facts they spout off ... Remember cell phones are walking confessionals -- writerly GOLD. Listen to everything. Suffer (some) fools gladly. Trust me on this.

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

Think of the novels you've loved. Pick three. Try to think of their plots as shapes or lines, braids, implosions, expandable waistbands ... If they have sections, think about what happens in each of those sections -- do narratives blend together, do characters pull apart? Don't think strictly in terms of the upside down check mark taught to you in high school -- rising action, climax, resolution. Think otherly. Sketch. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone other than you.

This is a way for you to start thinking in terms of larger narrative architectures.

Now, if possible, take an old work of your own and sketch its shape. Can you sketch a current work-in-progress?

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 3 things that are beautiful and see how they are also grotesque.

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

“The most important instrument of thought is the eye.” Benoit Mandelbrot

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.