Thursday, September 13, 2012

Random Syntax prompt from Natalie Goldberg

Try this. Take one of your most boring pieces of writing and choose from three or four consecutive lines or sentences and write them at the top of a blank piece of paper.

Okay. See each one of those words simply as wooden blocks, all the same size and color. No noun or verb has any more value than the, a, and. Everything is equal. Now for about a third of a page scramble them up as though you were just moving wooden blocks around. Don’t try to make any sense of what you write down. Your mind will keep trying to construct something. Hold back that urge, relax, and mindlessly write down the words. You will have to repeat words to fill a third of a page.

Now if you would like, arbitrarily put in a few periods, a question mark, maybe an exclamation mark, colons, or semicolons. Do all of this without thinking, without trying to make any sense. Just for fun.

Now read it aloud as though it were saying something. Your voice should have inflection and expression. You might try reading it in an angry voice, an exuberant, sad, whining, petulant, or demanding voice, to help you get into it.
Excerpt from Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Boston: Shambhala, 1986

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