The vision was a jumble, this time.
I saw blood, gushing. A stream of it, that seemed to be a major theme, as apparent rivers of it sloshed across my vision and impacted on a curled fist. The vision was focusing on the blood, and I kept on seeing the stream suspended in the air, a red waterfall frozen in time. The blood-drenched hand was just out of focus.
You can’t exactly clear your throat or nudge the vision to hurry it up, it’s got a schedule of its own. So I didn’t bother pointing out that it was eight minutes til and just concentrated on being available.
“Did you know her?” Debbie asked me as we got in the car. I made sure Michael was strapped in before replying. I needed a moment to think.
Debbie just watched and didn’t press.
The school van in front of us took off slowly, we followed it through the valley of the satellite dishes that made up the VLA. It was quiet in the car as we passed the radar array, my own thoughts on the next message from the stars that these dishes would pick up, possibly were hearing them even now.
“Ellie and I were from the same sleepy town in Wisconsin, but of course she got out of it early on. Last time I saw her, back then, was at her dad’s funeral.” I looked into the rear-view mirror and found Michael’s face. “We were both about your age, Michael. Her dad had a heart-attack.”
“Four remote buyers today,” Martin nodded to the side of the room where a bank of phones was staffed by serious-looking interns. He turned slightly and faced the front of the large room where the lectern and an easel shared the stage with the loud auctioneer. Paintings came and went slowly as the auction progressed.
“It’s possible he’s here in person, too” El sighed and took another sip of her coffee. “Or sent a proxy. Fuck, it can be anyone. How the hell are we supposed to find him?”
“Ever the optimist. There’s a piece that’s coming up, supposed to fetch one point two, at least. And the artist made the headlines last year, that thing in LA. Think that’s our best bet.” Martin extended a clipboard to El and pointed to a long, consonant-filled German name on the paper. “So we see who bids on it and maybe that’s our man.”
“Hmm.” El said nothing and handed the clipboard back.
Last week I wrote about Writing Excuses, a fiction-writing podcast.
This week I am continuing with the writing exercises:
Using last week’s five story ideas (or five new ones):
Take two of them and combine them into one story.
Take one and change the genre underneath it.
Take one and change the ages and genders of everybody you had in mind for it
Take the last one and have a character make the opposite choice.
Writing after the fold.
Today’s exercise comes from Writing Excuses 10.1: Seriously, Where Do You Get Your Ideas?.
The exercise is as follows:
Write down five different story ideas in 150 words or less. Generate these ideas from these five sources:
- From an interview or conversation you’ve had
- From research you’ve done (reading science news, military history, etc)
- From observation (go for a walk!)
- From a piece of media (watch a movie)
- From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)
Writing after the fold.
Over the weekend a friend directed me to the Writing Excuses series of podcasts. This is a series where authors (and writing teachers, from what I’ve gathered so far) talk about the writing process and how to improve it or even get started. I’ve listened to a few random episodes so far and have been enjoying them.
The episode format is pretty simple: about 15 minutes of ad-hoc discussion, a book of the week recommendation (with a note about free trial membership of Audible.com, the sponsor), and a writing prompt or homework assignment. The podcasts are short enough that I’ve been listening to them on my commute to work. They’re also quite good and have planted a bunch of seeds in my head about writing, plotting, etc.
But it’s all pretty pointless if the podcasts don’t actually lead to writing. So, that’s what I’m thinking of doing with this blog, writing up the “homework” assignments as posts. Fingers crossed, here’s hoping we’ll see some more random writing pop up here in the near future. The exercises will be “below the fold”, so to speak, so hopefully it won’t clutter things too much.
But on that note, I’m still trying to decide what this blog is going to be about, so expect to see a bit of churn. Mostly with content, but also with the look. Dunno if I’m really sold on the current theme, but haven’t had the time or the inclination to hack it into something better.