However, I won't be able to pummel myself for this fault any longer: this week, my classmates and I are reading The Gunslinger for our wonderful American Gothic capstone class. It is the final reading of the semester, and I am absolutely ecstatic. How have I managed to avoid reading it for so long? I am writing a weird western. The Dark Tower series is the quintessential weird western. I inexplicably have two copies of The Gunslinger hanging out on my bulging bookshelf. And it's Stephen King. I don't know what I've been doing for twenty-three years, but my dallying has come to a (momentary) end. At last, I will be able to check "Read The Gunslinger" off my imaginary list. I will be posting an informal review some time next week.
A couple hours ago I read through the introduction written by Stephen King himself. He states that he started writing The Gunslinger when he was twenty-two years old, and he still considers The Dark Tower series to be his magnum opus. Because I'll never be as prolific as Mr. King (or as good), I don't think striving for the completion of the first installment of my magnum opus, Boot Hill, by the age of twenty-four is totally out of the question. Do you?
Oh, King and I. How I will enjoy his company this week.
On a totally different note, I feel the need to include a writing exercise that my mostly terrible intermediate fiction professor gave to us last week. Initially, I read through the prompt and scoffed; it looked like I was being asked to write a bunch of unrelated, overly flowery and overly specific sentences one after the other. However, as I started writing, I found the exact opposite happening: the sentences linked together quite beautifully and were more or less concise.
The purpose of the exercise is to establish a scene in 20 sentences. It might not be an entire scene--maybe just a skeleton of one. When I did the exercise in class, I wrote the skeleton for a scene in Boot Hill that I'd been dying to write for months. Now I have a perfect starting point for adding necessary content and some lines that I'm very happy with.
The book recommended that you write the sentences with two characters and a designated point of view in mind. Other than that, the world is yours.
- A sentence with a wall or boundary in it
- A sentence with weather (temperature, wind, air) in it
- A sentence with a sound in it
- A sentence with a gesture in it
- A line of dialogue of six words or less
- A sentence with light in it
- A line of dialogue of ten words or more
- A sentence with a ceiling or floor in it
- A sentence with a texture (the feel of something) in it
- A sentence with an object smaller than a hand in it
- A sentence with an allusion to literature or art in it
- A sentence fragment
- A sentence with a piece of furniture in it
- A line of dialogue that is a question
- Another line of dialogue that is a question
- A sentence with a hand or fingers in it
- A sentence with a dash in it
- A sentence with an allusion to a current event in it
- A sentence with a metaphor in it
- A line of dialogue that is whispered
Challenge: Try out the exercise. Post it here, post it to your blog, I don't care. I'd love to see what you've written, though. Do a little writing with me if you can!
You have my sword. (And my bow! And my ax! Fellowship of the ring, etc., etc.)
I will be posting mine either tomorrow or over the weekend when I come up for air again! I've spent too much time writing this posting to find the exercise that is crushed somewhere in my beat up messenger bag and type it out. 20 sentences is far too much for my little, overworked brain at the moment.