Friday, February 6, 2009

Exercise--The Single Moment One

Wednesday evening I went to the info session/meeting/dinner for me and my writing/teaching/administrating colleagues at SWAT/Now Hear This. It was very exciting/friendly/delicious/scary, because very very soon, I'm going to be entrusted with some actual high-school students, and expected to teach them something, and that will likely be every adjective mentioned above (except delicious).

In an effort to calm down, I will of course be over-preparing. I have a wealth of classroom experience from the other side, because I have had so many good writing teachers the past 11 years or so. So I will be culling through memories and notebooks, trying to find what helped me most. I'll also be asking around to find such things that helped *other* writers--if you have recommendations or fond memories (or, in fact, bitter memories that you would like me avert for future generations) please drop me a line/comment.

I actually used to love writing exercises, and find they work well in a classroom, where everyone's used to obeying orders, and it's tough to order anyone to "think freely." Exercises are a trick to free you up in tight parameters, and to that end, usually they are timed. I prefer 10 minutes for the ones I'll be running, but if you are playing along at home, obviously I won't be checking your work!!

Single-Moment Exercise
Describe a single moment in the life of a character. It could be someone in a piece you've been working on and got stuck in, or someone you just invented clean out of your head. If you are really stuck, use yourself, right now. Describe all five senses as the character is experiencing them: the taste in her mouth, the feel of his clothes, temperature, comfort-level, smells, feeling of health or illness, what's in her field of vision/aural landscape, and of course what's on his mind. Do not move forward into ramifications--these are unknown--and try to stay away from flashback unless the character is dwelling on the past. Stick to immediate perception as much as possible.
Ok, go!
I'll put up my exericse on the weekend, in case anyone's curious.

Outside the thunder's jealous / of the way you shake

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