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January 29th, 2004, 02:58 AM

You may not have noticed, but I haven’t been around much recently. I’ve been having trouble with my computer, so much trouble in fact that it ended up collecting dust on top of a wardrobe. However now I have managed to get it fixed, and I figured it was about time I posted up exercise three. This exercise is one that I personally use quite a lot, and it is probably worth saying (before she does!) that it is one I stole from Sammie. Though before I get down to the nitty-gritty I want to say a few things.

Firstly thanks to those of you that have been brave enough to take part in my earlier exercises, it hasn’t been easy, but I think we have all benefited from the experience.

Secondly to those of you who haven’t, if you want to PM me your contribution I will post it on your behalf completely anonymously. The more people we get taking part the better for us all.

Thirdly, to all the members that have joined since I started these exercises, please feel free to join in, no-one will judge you or your work if you do, this is simply about us all growing as writers. Without putting our work forward we can never get a true reaction and without a true reaction we can never really improve. We all have a long way to go whether we are published or not (and I’d like to add at this point that I am still collecting rejections so please don’t feel that this is the realm of published writers only) and it is only by writing that we stand a chance of getting there!

Anyway you are probably wondering when I am going to get to the point and let you know what this exercise entails. Don’t worry I will get there soon, I am just going to enjoy teasing you for a little while longer…

Ok, you win.

This exercise is about the all important idea, it is about inspiration, about taking the smallest thing and turning it into a story. It goes something like this…

Sit down in front of your computer, make yourself comfy. If you want go and get a drink, anything from whisky to water, the choice is yours, put on a CD/tape/record/minidisk/mp3 and fire up your word-processor. Pick one of the songs and take the first couple of lines from it. These lines will be the basis for the scene you are about to write.

See that doesn’t sound too bad does it?

You are aiming for about 500 words and your post should include both the scene (first drafts only please!) and the lyrics you used as an inspiration.

Happy writing!


January 29th, 2004, 02:59 AM
Oh, I almost forgot…

Here’s mine

I’d known it wasn’t a good idea when he suggested it, New Amsterdam wasn’t my kind of place and Vincent knew it. He had to have someone there for appearance’s sake though and I was his choice for the night. He’d met this dancer a few weeks back and he’d been seeing her every night. She knew he was married but she didn’t seem to mind, in fact she seemed quite keen on the idea from what I could gather. We’d booked the hover-cab to pick us up at midnight when it dropped us off. I was beginning to think I’d be picking up the fare myself.

We’d sat and drank for a while, just chilling and watching the girls until she appeared. She was good I’ll admit, not really my type but I could see why Vincent was hooked. She was tall with long flowing black hair and she had a style of dancing I’d never seen before, it was proud, arrogant almost, like she was challenging every man in the room. Not the sort of thing you expected in a seedy joint like the one we were in. Anyway once she appeared Vincent was lost to me. I sat for a while, but watching the girls wasn’t as much fun by myself. Until I saw the girl with yellow hair.

I’d always had a thing for blondes, but she certainly wasn’t blonde. I hadn’t seen anyone with coloured hair since the big gang crackdown a few years back, it was quite a shock. She was certainly pretty though. I sat and watched her for a little while trying my best to seem unobtrusive; she glanced over a couple of times. I’m sure she knew I was admiring her, the corners of her mouth twitched in a kind of smile as she looked back to the guy she was with.

I’d finished my drink so I stuck my thumb on the scanpad and keyed in the number for a vodka vermouth with extra caffeine. I figured it was going to be a long night. Only when I looked up they had gone. Vincent, his dancer and my yellow haired girl. Funnily her man was still there, stood near the wall holding his bottle of beer as if it was an offensive weapon. I took the drink from the waiter when it arrived and downed it in one. There was no point in staying if Vincent had gone off with his girl, not now the only girl I like had gone too.

I made my way outside and started to look for a ride. I was just strapping myself into a mark two hovercab when I saw a blinding flash. The door to the cab opened at the same time as the shockwave hit us. Thankfully the antigrav stabilisers were in good order so we just rocked slightly as we rode the blast. My yellow haired girl however was not so well protected as the cab and was thrown forward onto the floor. Without stopping to wipe the blood from her face she reached up for the intercom button.

The lyrics I chose in case you didn’t guess were from The Counting Crows – Mr Jones. “Down at the New Amsterdam, staring at this yellow haired girl, Mr Jones strikes up a conversation with a black haired flamenco dancer”

I took the liberty of giving Mr Jones a first name, and kept the yellow haired girl till after his dancer but I think you get the point…

Comments please! :D

January 29th, 2004, 03:54 AM
Can I put up the rude one I wrote based on Tina Turner lyrics? ;)(not sure if you have seen that one)

No... oh well.....

January 29th, 2004, 04:45 AM
Have you cut some out of that last paragraph? It doesn't seem to make quite as much sense as it did...

January 29th, 2004, 09:18 AM
sorry, removed....

January 29th, 2004, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by Sammie
Have you cut some out of that last paragraph? It doesn't seem to make quite as much sense as it did...

Give it away that I wrote more why don't you! :D

I stoped mid flow to attempt to conform to the word count, as it is it just sneaked over 500... Plus in all honesty we were rapidly moving out of lyrics territory.


January 29th, 2004, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by Holbrook
As I wait by the cracked fountain*SNIP*Shove away my ethnicity

That is nice, it has a completely different feel to what I expected. I expected something a lot more isolated, less able to stand alone. This I feel is both a short piece about transience and the opening to a post-apocalyptic tale...

Nice choice of lyrics btw.


January 29th, 2004, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by Jacquin

That is nice, it has a completely different feel to what I expected. I expected something a lot more isolated, less able to stand alone. This I feel is both a short piece about transience and the opening to a post-apocalyptic tale...

Nice choice of lyrics btw.


Like the Desi remix by JoSH ;)

Been teaching myself "flash fiction" of late. Keeping the word count down, making each one count.

You mean I didn't put a sword in it or a mouse? Been writing a lot more contemp stuff lately and dealing with emotions, reactions and erotic images... finding it harder and harder to do the detailed "picture" type fantasy. Just want to reflect what is happening through emotions and snap images.

Will comment on yours later, my eyes are dying.. proof reading manuscripts is very, very hard work.... lol...

January 29th, 2004, 03:49 PM
Dodo's gone. Fishdiva: as good as. Certified sanity is a cruel, cruel fate. Where do they go to, I wonder? Back to their generic intensive care units? Mommy, do you still love me? Daddy, I'm so sorry! Uptown, downtown, bright lights, dull city. Out there, the Grey Ones stab at your mind, and the only way to keep sane is immobility underground...
But cut nice patterns into your arm with something sharp and watch the pretty crimson, and they get all worried, lock you away until you behave. Until you grin and wave like a Teletubby. Until you repeat the same lines over again. Like a Teletubby.
Oh, I know, cutting yourself isn't the thing you'd be doing all your life. You need the pain to release yourself from the Grey, you need the blood to have something worthwhile to look at. In here? Oh, it's a world of plenty. You spend hours and hours looking for spiders in shoes, in shirts, in sheets, and, no Duane, there aren't any. Wow, I didn't know you speak mole, Tia, is it true they've got ten thousand words for "worm"?
But it always happens, doesn't it?
There I was in the Room, at a table with crayons. Traced a scar with a red one, left the paper untouched, just in case the doctors watched... And then there's strangers, one in a suit, one in a dress, and Dodo walks up to them, and hugs them and cries, and they leave together. Leave forever. That was two months ago, and yesterday...
I opened the October issue of National Geographic on page 22 and pushed it across the table for Fishdiva to have a look. She'd been looking somewhat mournful lately, and I tried to cheer her up.
"It's a cowfish," she said, and pushed the magazine away. I must have looked pretty shocked, because she forced a smile in my direction and said, "Thanks, anyway."
I know the signs, and they aren't pretty. Once a madgirl, now a sadgirl, in a cold, grey world... [341]


All the Madmen (David Bowie)

Day after day
They send my friends away
To the far side of town
Where the thin men stalk the streets
While the sane stay underground


Had to invent a bit, as the lyrics really only set the theme. About 160 words short, though...


I really, really like Holbrook's piece. I agree: every word counts.


Jacquin's piece stops before it gets going... The scene is set, but what's going to happen?

Btw, shouldn't it be "the New Amsterdam wasn't my kind of place"?


It's interesting what you can do with lyrics, isn't it? Written a story once inspired by three lines from The Chauffeur (Duran Duran)...

January 30th, 2004, 12:16 AM
I had done this once before and the result was from listening to Golden Earing - Twilight Zone and the result of that is Ed's Vacation located here (at least until the end of the month). It came out NOTHING like the song, but it was inspiration...

Alien Skin Mag (http://alienskinmag.com)

So I start up Winamp and look for a good song to do this again to. The song it flips to is....

"Time, Time, Time..." Marge’s wrinkled mouth said sadly to the others gathered around her while she sat and pondered in her bed at the homeless shelter. "See what's become of me while I looked around for my possibilities. I was so hard to please."
"Don't be like Ms. Jackson," comforted old man Stone who sat on the bed aside of hers. "You had a good life. Nothing for you to be sad about now."
“Hang onto your hope, my friend,” added Mavis, Marge’s best friend since grade school.
"I was never happy with what I had Sam. I was always looking for more. And now it's gone, all gone." Marge broke down and began to sob.
She looked up to see out the window with her tear filled eyes. Cataracts had nearly blinded her and she hadn’t left the shelter for months. She wasn't even aware that a light snow had left only small patches of ground exposed. The leaves were brown on all the trees and highlighted against hazy, gray sky.
“Tell me what it looks like outside,” Marge said between sniffles.
Mr. Stone described it for her. “It’s a beautiful day outside, Ms. Jackson. The grass is high, sky is bright and we couldn’t ask for a more perfect day.”
Marge knew he lied, but the thought of seeing green grass on a sunny day brought a smile to her face. “The next time you see a day like that, won’t you stop and remember me?”
Once the words escaped her lips, she closed her eyes, and fell silent.

261 words

Song: Hazy Shade of Winter
Artist: Bangles

When did I put that song on my play list? hmmm....Gee, and the next song that came up was The Dead Milkmen - If You Love Somebody, Set Them on Fire. Wonder how different this would have been with a song like that...WOO~HOO


Thanks Jacquin, and great posts all.