Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Creative Writing: A Ball Of Yarn

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(Note: This is a "Creative Writing Prompt")

THE CHALLENGE
In 250 words, write from the point of view of a ball of yarn being chased by a cat.

MY OUTCOME
While I was lying in our wicker basket side by side with my brothers and sisters, I was dreaming of my transformation. At the moment I was just a simple red ball of yarn, but our destiny was to become part of something beautiful. And soon I will be a part of a scarf. Our mistress was knitting a wonderful scarf with colors of the rainbow. Stripes of violet, blue, green and yellow were already done, at the moment she was working on orange, and I would be next. Followed by the same spectrum all over again until her scarf will have the perfect length. I was so focused on how the finished scarf would look like, I didn't see it coming. The paw!
A paw with razor sharp claws was reaching into the basket, followed by two twitchingly ears and two glowing eyes. I have heard the rumors down in that shop, were we had waited to be sold. Some old yarns and fabrics scared the younger ones with stories of horrible hairy beasts in houses, called cats. These cats were monsters, who considered it a funny play to separate us from the others and chase us over dirty floors. But this wasn't worst. If you were unlucky, they found your string's beginning, loosen it, unwrap your wonderful yarn to a total useless mess, or even shred you into small pieces and chew on you. Some of these beasts shall even munch you! Every fiber of me was trembling, I was scared to death!
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255 words this far. Well, "keep it short and simple" has ever been a problem for me. Let's call this the preface and see, how the story continues!
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The paw fumbled over our heads, but I was the unlucky fellow, who was given a push in my woolen sides. The last thing I saw was the look of my brothers and sisters, both sorrow and relief, before I was catapulted out of the basket. Whoosh, I fell from the table. With a bump and some little bounces I landed softly on the ground. There I was, standing still, face to face with the beast ... but wait! Beast? This moving ball of fur wasn’t much bigger than myself. It was a young, a pitch black baby kitten with white socks and a white chest.
It was lurking flat to the ground, its butt up wiggling, watching me highly concentrated. With a little hop it came closer, a hesitant push of its paw made me roll an inch. The kitten followed, sniffed on me. My fine hair tickled in its nose, made it sneeze. Its head jerked back, its eyes opened wide in surprise - which was rather sweet. But this kitten was a fighter, focused back on me and started another attack. Thanks to my thick yarn the hits didn't hurt and brand new as I was, my string's beginning was squeezed in tight! Puh, what a relief!
I could see it, I could feel it, every punch made the kitten braver. Over and over again: Lure, focus, wiggle, jump, push, follow. Faster and wilder got the game - and unbelievable, I loved it, too. Honestly, when did a yarn ever have the chance to move? Doomed to lay still until we were transformed, so this was my last chance!
If I had had a voice, I would have giggled and laughed and cheered. But I hadn't, so I enjoyed the jumps and rolls and slides. This was so different than these old yarns had told, this was fun! With this little kitten, that believes it's a tiger. Ah well, despite tigers don't make somersault over you, when their run up was too fast. The only thing that bothered me, when this little rascal had gripped me with all its four claws, pressed me onto its belly and gave me heavy scratches with its hind legs. I only hoped my fluffy strings would preserve me from any larger damages.
Much too soon our game was over. The mistress came in, separated me from my companion in play, stuck me back into the basket and shooed the little warrior out in the garden.

QUESTION
Surprisingly I have to think of the musical "A Chorus Line". There's a song called "Nothing". A woman sings about her experiences in acting class, where she "had to be a table, be a sports car, ice-cream cone" - and felt nothing.
Now I'm wondering, does a good writer have to be a good actor to convey all the emotions? And a director, too, for arranging the scenes well? What do you think?

EDIT
My dear friend Dolly was so kind to answer my question on her blog. Have a look:
Good Actor + Good Director = Good Writer

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Writing Exercise 02: Freewriting

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(Note: This is a unit of "Schreibaufgabe.de")

THE CHALLENGE
Let you inspire by the following sentence and write ten minutes without pause. If you don't have any idea, then write ten minutes your name or write "I have no idea." or anything else. It doesn't matter what you write, spelling mistakes are unimportant, just write, whatever comes into your mind. Just write!
On your pencils, get set, go:

"The warm summer wind twitched on her hair."

MY OUTCOME
Haven't I written a similar sentence in the other exercise? Okay, something else then:

The warm summer wind twitched on her hair. When she closed her eyes she could feel the soft summer breeze in her face. With a deep inhale she could smell the salty air. The waves on the shore and the palm trees' murmur sounded like a soft lullaby. She loved the ocean. It was quiet here and so peaceful. She stood still, she could feel the warm sand under her naked feet. When she opened her eyes she could see the glittering blue water and its beautiful colors. Quite dark blue in the far distance over different shades of lighter blue to turquoise right here on the beach. She liked blue. Every time she was here she felt that yearning in her heart.

QUESTION
Well, obviously I'm truly obsessed by the ocean, am I not? You will know, what I'm talking about, when you read "Voodoo-Island".

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Continue with Exercise 03: Show Don't Tell

Monday, April 19, 2010

Writing Exercise 01: Plot Fireworks

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(Note: This is a unit of "Schreibaufgabe.de")

THE CHALLENGE
A little plot: "Jane and Matt made an arrangement to met at café 'Divan' in the afternoon. Jane takes the bus, Matt is walking. They meet, share a piece of pie and drink a coffee (both of them). After an hour they say goodbye and go back home."
Well, that's all. Quite boring, isn't it? To make this plot more exciting, find 30 problems, at least, that could occur in this little story.

MY OUTCOME
  1. Jane comes late, she has missed her bus.
  2. Matt doesn't come, he has an accident on his way.
  3. The waitress is Matt's ex-girlfriend, who thinks Matt's hair and face urgently needs a cream-mask.
  4. Jane is joined by her dog. Matt is afraid of dogs and the dog doesn't like Matt at all.
  5. Jane and Matt have met online and it's their first real date.
    a) Matt looks completely different than his picture.
    b) Jane exposes to be a famous person.
    c) Jane is a transvestite. (... and is dressed like he/she comes straight from "Rocky Horror Picture Show".)
  6. Feeding each other with cake turns both so much on, that they can't hardly wait to get home and have passionate sex.
  7. Matt is going to ask Jane, if she wants to marry him.
  8. Jane is going to say Matt, that she wants to end their relationship.
  9. An ingredient in the cake causes an allergic reaction on Jane.
  10. Jane and Matt are friends from childhood on, on this date they will fall in love.
  11. Jane and Matt are lovers, who have to meet secretly, because they are from different cultural backgrounds, everyone (family and friends) are against their love.
  12. Jane and Matt plan to murder someone.
  13. Jane and Matt plan to intrigue against someone.
  14. Matt is going to reveal today that he is gay.
  15. Jane is accompanied by her friend Anna. During their meeting Matt is more attracted to Anna than to Jane.
  16. Jane is first at the café and meets an old friend. When Matt arrives, he sees Jane chatting and laughing with a man. His hopes were plumped and he leaves without entering the café.
  17. The waitress of the café has just finished her relationship with her husband. The man, a former soldier, traumatized by the war, gets mad because of the separation and wants to kill his wife. The bullet destined to the waitress hits Jane, because she made an unfortunate movement at the wrong time.
  18. Jane and Matt are teenagers and this date will be their very first date ever. They don't have much money, but sharing one piece of cake is the most romantic thing they have experienced in their whole life.
  19. Jane and Matt are adults, who have dated a several times and like each other. Matt doesn't know that Jane has 2 children and Jane doesn't know about Matt's 3 children. The revealing will be quite a surprise.
  20. Jane and Matt are quite an old married couple, who meets at that café every Tuesday. Jane comes from home by bus and Matt from his weekly check up. They share one piece of cake like they had done the first time they had met here 30 years ago.
  21. Jane is the decoy for the TV-show 'Disaster Date'. So Matt will have his most catastrophical date ever.
  22. Jane and Matt are aliens and the meeting happens on their exotic planet with weird colors and very strange food.
  23. Jane is dreaming that sequence over and over again, but she doesn't know that café nor haven't seen that men.
  24. Matt and Jane are Ken and Barbie dolls, and Keira and Amy are two girls, who play the café scene in their dollhouse.
  25. Jane is so sick of Matt, because he's such a miser. This date is another pathetic proof. He is too niggardly to pick her up, so she has to use the bus. They meet in that shabby café just because it is around Matt's corner. Like usual he's only worth one piece of cake. And don't even think he gives once cent of tip. Jane is going pack him in today. Finally!
  26. Jane and Matt are hippies in San Francisco in the Golden Seventies. They meet in a shisha bar, smoke some dope, have some cookies and are waiting for enlightenment.
  27. Jane and Matt live in the future, where only the poor remain on earth to revive it. The rich live on space stations. Despite this circumstances both have met and fallen in love. So, today Matt has organized Jane's transfer by space shuttle to meet him in the orbit.
  28. Matt is quite an unpleasant person, who can't stand any others. But after being trapped in a time warp he's slowly getting better. On day 27 he saw Jane for the first time, now on day 41 he managed to have this date with Jane at the café.
  29. A serial killer has selected Jane and Matt to be his next victims. He observed them for days and today he will begin his ritual. He managed to put some drugs into their coffee, which begin to work in a few hours.
  30. OH PLEASE!! Only one to go... *thinking*
QUESTION
Wow, 30 problems are more difficult than I thought! Do you have any other ideas?

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Continue with Exercise 02: Freewriting

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Quiz: Which Crazy Writer Are You?

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    (Note: This is a quiz of "ROFLquiz.com")

    to Dolly's Blog: Writer Revealed

    MY RESULT is Tom Wolfe:
    Ah, the life of a wall flower. You get to hang out with the most interesting people - radio DJs, hot rodders, hippies, Hell's Angels, Wall Street tycoons, frat boys - and are completely happy putting them into the spotlight. You're completely happy hanging back with your martini and your little notebook, jotting down all your little observations, in sight but out of mind. Sure, everyone at the party knows who you are - but do they know the real you? And, more importantly, if you want to fade into the background, what's with the bright white suit?

    Interesting: Tom Wolfe's birthday is the March 2. Mine is four days later! Coincidence?

    Friday, April 09, 2010

    Writing Exercise 00: To Write A Beginning

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    (Note: This is a unit of "Schreibaufgabe.de")

    THE CHALLENGE
    What could be better for the first task than to write a beginning? So, write the beginning of a short story or a book or a scene, whatever. Take care, that the beginning is exciting. Imagine, someone in a bookstore strolls through the bookshelves, takes your book and reads the first lines. The beginning has to be so gripping, that this person has to take the book to the cash desk.
    Write as much as you like, but I would recommend not more than 10 lines. Remember, it's only the beginning. You don't need a plot, you don't have to know how the story continues. There should be only about 10 lines, which leave as many questions open, that the reader wants to continue reading.
    And btw, a catchword should be included. The catchword is: Dam (German: Staudamm)

    MY OUTCOME
    Beginning 1, with plot idea:
    Most round trips in Egypt start in Cairo. It's very smart to present the most spectacular highlight within the first days. Everyone wants to see the last existing construction of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The Great Pyramid of Giza.
    But I wasn't a tourist. I was an au-pair-girl, a nanny for three wonderful kids. Many times we traveled along the Corniche, the main road along the river Nile. And every time I searched for the little triangles in the far distance. It would take 58 days until I could see the pyramids from close to. How long would it take to see the other out-of-town-sights? Was there even a chance to see The Karnak Temple or The Valley of the Kings. Not to think of the Aswan High Dam and Abu Simbel.
    Well, it's not the right time for these stories be told. Let's see where everything started.

    Beginning 2, without plot idea:
    On a warm summer day a young woman stood on hill and glanced over the valley in front of her. A light breeze played with the curls of her shiny golden hair. Her delicate body suited perfectly to her porcelain face. She looked like one of those precious dolls and everyone, men as well as women, wanted to be near her, take care for her, protect her.
    Oh yes, that was totally by her purpose, because her most joyful moment was when she revealed her true identity. In two days will be the inauguration of the dam and they will flood the valley. The empty village down there would completely disappear, exactly like her actual target. With a grimly beautiful smile she turned around and left the scenery.

    QUESTION
    What do you think: Mission accomplished?

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    Continue with Exercise 01: Plot Fireworks