The Word: Stories

One of the best writing exercises, ever, is The Word.  I learned it in the very first writing workshop I ever belonged to, where they used it as a weekly exercise.  You take a word, any word, preferably short and usable both as noun and verb–words like ‘plane’ and ‘cup’… and you write two pages, double spaced, using that word somewhere in the story.

Most of my writing has originated in one of these tiny stories. White Oleander started that way. The group met during the Santa Anas, and they picked the word–“wind.”

I’ll take the word, say, “cup” and think of different kinds of “cups” I might write about–a little kid’s favorite birdie cup; a card in the ‘cups’ suit of tarot; being ‘in your cups’; your bra cup–an a? c? d?; cup your hands before you drink water from a faucet, how my boyfriend just did that for me on a hiking trail, or walking with a dog… I’ll make a list of about eight or ten possibles, and then pick the one that means the most to me.  With ‘cup’ I’m attracted to the cups in Tarot… so I’d probably pick one of them, and then write the two page short short using that cup, the Queen, or the Four.  yeah, the Four.

For this blog, I’ve decided to write a short short every week, using this exercise. I’ve made a list of about a hundred suitable words.  Now I’m going to cut them up and pick one….

and the word is BALL….

subscribe to this blog if you’d like to see what it ends up like!


3 Responses to “The Word: Stories”

  1. Caroljean Says:

    This is a pretty amazing idea. I’ve been re-writing the same couple of stories for months. I am so going to do this along with you.

  2. Janet Fitch is on WordPress. Eeeee, life is so awesome. Consider my day officially made.

  3. Nadia K. Says:

    Thank you for these exercises, Janet! I just subscribed and I’m looking forward to having more inspiration to write. It made my day too!

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