Day 3: Changing the Metaphor

For today’s exercise, we’re exploring ways to break the clichés that spring to all of our minds when speaking in metaphor: Beauty like a rose; Heavy blanket of snow; Sweet as honey. There’s nothing too involved here and there was no real composition required for this exercise so I’m going to jump right in.

 

The Exercise:

 

Part 1

Try some new comparisons for the following list:

As slow as 

As heavy as 

As dead as

As fast as 

As red as

As happy as 

 

Part 2

Make a list of six or seven nouns in a column, then make a list of six or seven adjectives in another column. When you’re finished, randomly connect them and see what you find.

 

Pro tip: When making your list of nouns, go ahead and look around the room you’re in and just start listing things you see if you’re having trouble. Also, here is a fantastic list of 1,100 adjectives. 

 

What I ended up with:

 

Part 1

As slow as gum

As heavy as childhood

As dead as beauty

As fast as a pencil

As red as night

As happy as a motivational poster

 

Part 2

Tempestuous Boy

Radiant Girl

Palatable Flag

Incandescent Poster

Hapless Student

Globular Teacher

Garrulous Desk

Effervescent Love

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Day 2: Show; Don’t Tell

The exercise I did today was a little more difficult than the one I did yesterday. Yesterday’s was intended as a warm-up exercise and is meant to be used whenever you are experiencing writer’s block. Stream-of-consciousness exercises aren’t uncommon tools for writing, but I thought that since it was on the list, it was as good a way to start as any.

Today’s exercise is about forcing yourself to illustrate what is happening, how people are feeling, and whatever other things you would like to share with your readers without explicitly telling them, “Susie felt mad.”

The Exercise:

Write 100 words (or more if you wish) describing a scene – this can be whatever you want – without using any adverbs and no more than 4 adjectives. You should also avoid describing any character thoughts or feelings.

Pro-tip:

I found that while I was doing this exercise, it helped if I concentrated on trying to only use nouns and verbs – of course I was really upset when I realized that I couldn’t have my character “walk away” since away is an adverb and I definitely broke that rule a couple of times and I’m not sure it’s actually possible to create a scene without using location adverbs. I also put my adjectives in boldface, so I could more easily keep track of how many I had used.

What I ended up with:

The girl sat at a table near the window in a coffee shop, scrawling on a piece of paper. Her hair was hanging across the back of her chair and her jeans were threadbare. Frost was forming at the bottom of the window. The girl shivered as a man approached her table and tapped her bare shoulder. He handed her an envelope, into which she shoved the now disheveled paper upon which she had been writing. She licked the flap and sealed it before returning the envelope to the man.  He then turned his back to the girl and left.

WORDS: 100

ADJECTIVES: 3

LOCATION ADVERBS: SIGNIFICANTLY MORE THAN I WOULD LIKE TO ADMIT

Day 1: Sixty Seconds

I’ve just discovered this site that is supposed to help improve writing, so, once again, I’m going to return to making one post per day (which essentially translates to me doing one of the exercises on this site per day), until it becomes habit, at which time, I will continue to make one post per day, or at least write for a period of time each day. Hopefully, this will result in my accidentally producing a novel. Kind of like, “Ooops, I just sneezed. Look at this novel I wrote.” I don’t know, something very much like that. That’s reasonable, right?

 

The Exercise: 

Write for sixty seconds without stopping. Essentially, write whatever pops into your head for sixty straight seconds, even if it’s just writing about the fact that you are writing or have nothing to write about.

What I ended up with: 

Well, here it goes. Sixty seconds of writing. This is kind of similar to what I just did to write the first pen pal letter to my boyfriend. I’ve decided that handwriting letters and sending them via snail mail is what all the cool kids should be doing. It’s mostly because I’m crazy enough to think that all those letters I’ve read about in my Romantics class are really, really awesome. I don’t know. I just have this bizarre nostalgia thing for outdated means of communication. Like talking in person. That’s soooooo last year. Has it been a minute yet?