On another note, I must start doing these writing exercises more often. This is a fun one, folks.
Page 25 in the book.
I am posting (the majority of) the introduction to this exercise, which I don’t always do, but I happen to highly agree with this notion:
“We urge you to write plots that are character-driven. That is, where the action grows out of who the characters are rather than through accident or coincidence. Still, it’s important, in plotting, to see and make use of seemingly unrelated incidents, elements, and characters. The fiction writer should be able to perceive patterns where others see only randomness.
“The exercise: Select for yourself three objects such as a tape measure, a bible, and a ham sandwich. These are your examples; you can choose anything, so long as they appear to be random. Weave these disparate objects into a plausible, coherent story. They should be essential to the story, integrated into the plot, not incidental or mere props.
“The objective: To underscore that you are in charge of the material and not the other way around. You should be able to manipulate the elements of a story or novel, using your imagination to invent alternate action and dialogue, alternate incidents and even characters in order to make the story proceed smoothly and plausibly. It’s all about perceiving and articulating relationships inherent in characters, elements, and incidents.”
I’m choosing for my three objects a computer, a basketball, and a pitcher:
I was almost done with this chapter – almost done. This is the first time a publisher actually responded favorably to my query letter and asked to see a proposal in addition to a couple sample chapters. Of course, this meant I had to actually write chapters. I’m a stay-at-home dad and getting my writing done while at home can be more than challenging.
As I was just typing the last word of the last sentence of Chapter 2 my computer made a horrific sound as the monitor whacked against the back wall. Like a car crash, you could see it coming just seconds before the impact but little could be done to prevent the disaster. My fingers remained poised over the keyboard as I watched the basketball that had hit the computer ricochet to the other side of the room, its bounces getting smaller and closer to the ground until it finally stopped. Craning my neck towards the doorway I see Cody and Lisa standing in the same type of frozen position that I found myself in. I could feel the anger flooding inside of me and I heard my wife’s soothing voice telling me to count to ten before doing anything.
Even as I counted in my head I couldn’t help thinking that the way that basketball was thrown, the force of it, the way I had felt it rush by my head – it all pointed to one or both of my kids intentionally throwing the ball at my computer screen. They hadn’t been playing catch, this was no friendly throw. No, this basketball was heaved in the way one would toss the ball during a shot put.
When I reached ten, I calmly stood up from my desk, not entirely steadily mind you, and turned to the dining table to the right of me. I picked up a pitcher in the center that had previously held lemonade but was now filled with melted ice and lemonade flavored water.
I raised the pitcher in a gesture towards my monsters. “Drink?”