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Welcome to The Inkwell, the blog site of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) of Colorado.

Each week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can find a wide variety of topics and insight
from inspiration to instruction to humor and more!

For detailed information on ACFW, click here to visit their main website.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Come play with me!

Hey Margie, I thought a platform as a bunch of boards nailed together on which people stand while waiting for vehicles of mass transportation.

Platforms are a hot topic right now. Chip MacGregor, a literary agent, blogs about it here. Several people posted a link to this in-depth article on the subject on Twitter.

Okay. I couldn't let that one get away with a few relevant link. Now, time to play.

Last Tuesday night, my behind-the-fence neighbor took me to her writers' club that meets at DU. The writer's club is mostly women from the Women's College on campus. Always on the lookout for some kind of adventure, I agreed to go.

In the car, my neighbor described the facilitator as ethereal and "flitty like a butterfly" with brilliance. The only thing I could think of was, "Oh no, a bunch of poets waxing eloquent on the universal powers of the naval." I was first runner up in Chip MacGregor's bad poetry contest. Sarcasm is my language and I write it well. Was I going to take the meeting seriously?

Carol Zak-Dance, on faculty there, passed out photocopies of some short stories from literary publications and anthologies. Out loud the stories were read, and the group talked about the devices and patterns employed by the author of the piece. Or, how did the author play with language?

Here I am, a writer of commercial, young adult fiction, tyring to make sense of this whole other world. One I've avoided since college. The -ly words alone made my right face-cheek twitch.

"How to set a house on fire" a short story by Stace Budzko.


Budzko wrote a 150-200 word short using only instructive sentences. Every sentence a command or direction to a listener. Through the instruction, readers can figure out the context and relationship to the direction giver.

We read. Then Carol gave us 10 minutes to write. We had to write our own short using Budzko's example.

After my pulse slowed, and the sweat on my brow dried, I typed. Three sentences in and I was having a blast! Woah! This literary-style writing thing is kinda fun! It was like playing a word puzzle game. I was shocked at how creative my spontaneous words were.

So. Your turn.

Below is the piece I wrote. Once you read it, you have ten minutes to write a similar piece. You can't stop and edit, you just have to free-write your way through. When the timer is up, you put your knives (Oops, not Top Chef), your fingers down. Let's play with language. Ready?

Sleeping bag, toothbrush, tent and clean underwear. Got 'em? Follow me into the woods. Watch the ground, or you might trip on a rock, a root or rotting remains of the last hiker who dared touch the wildebeast that roam these woods. Don't' stop. Keep moving. Blazes of pink and red cut the sky. Darkness will consume you before you know it. Toss your watch. Time doesn't matter out here. Over there. See that ridge? Follow me. Off the trail. Don't be scared, the abominable snowbeastie is vacationing in Hawaii. He told me to tell you, "hi". Pee in the bush. Shake it off. Climb higher. Almost there. Pitch your tent. Count the harmonies in the wolves' cries. Keep your boots on. A pot and pan in your sleeping bag may be useful if a bear comes. Pound the pot and pan together and scream "icky, icky bear feet. Of my flesh you will not eat. Huzzah." Anything else may confuse the bear making him more angry. Go on, get in your tent. Be sure to pull out your compass and map. You're gonna need it in the morning. Bye-bye!


Kathy Kovach... said...

I'll play! Don't know if this is what you mean, but I had a blast. Um, I did forget to time myself, but I don't think it took me 10 minutes.

How To Wash A Cat
by Kathy Kovach

Go to a museum. Strike up a conversation with the curator. Pull out a couple of fifty dollar bills and ask to rent the gloves that the armored knight is wearing in the medieval exhibit. If that doesn’t work, stop by the drug store for mercurochrome--you’ll need it later. Home again, find the cat. If he’s smart, you’ll find him in the attic squeezed between the insulation and a four-by-eight board. If not, look for him asleep on top of the television set, one lazy eye trained on you, the other glazed over while he dreams half-dreams of Salmon Bisque Little Friskies. Start the washing machine. While kitty clings to your flesh, show him the filling tub. Fake to the laundry room sink and give him an ultimatum. Bath time here, or bath time in the washer--your choice. Suds down the smart kitty in the sink. If it’s dumb kitty you’re dealing with chase him to the attic where you’ll find him squeezed between the insulation and a four-by-eight board. Extract dumb kitty, grateful you bought the mercurochrome, and take him to the museum to be stuffed and placed in the gloves of the armored knight.

D. Gudger said...

That is awesome! Being a 3 cat mommy, I can see all of this in clear detail.

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