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Writing Like I’m Alive

Creativity sprint - ready, set, go

‘Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens.’ Ray Bradbury

The only time I wrote every day for a month I was rewriting. When I signed up for Zoetic Press’s creativity sprint, Write Like You’re Alive, I was provoking myself…

Me: Go on, write a new story every single day in July AND immediately submit it to an editor, I DARE YOU.

Gonzo (my creative brain): Whoopee! Hooray!

Sniffy Neg (my inner critic): I always knew she was bonkers, but this puts a cherry on it.

Gonzo: Yay! Doolally time!

Sniffy Neg: I think you’ll find she’s simply avoiding that tricky second draft of the over-complex novel she’ll probably never finish, and if she does nobody would ever read it anyway.

Gonzo: What’ve you ever written, Sniffy?

Sniffy Neg: Apology notes. Never mind, this malarkey starts while she’s on holiday. Over before it’s even started...

A week in, with six stories and a first episode submitted, one each day, I do feel more than ordinarily alive, even a little more myself.

Gonzo: This is flipping brilliant, yeah? You just sit down and listen to me and do the tippy-tappy-typing thing and KABOOM! There’s a brand new little story that didn’t exist before. And it’s ace, yeah, cos you haven’t got the time to interrupt me with trying to be all clever. I feel especially amazing. I am AMAZING! I am A HUNDRED FEET TALL! Ooh, I can see the sea from here. Sparkly.

Me: I am involved, a little bit, you know, with the words and the punctuation and details like that.

Sniffy Neg: And she’s embarrassing herself, not for the first time.

Me: Our one-man fan club liked the stories. He fidgets when he doesn’t.

Gonzo: It’s all because all the time, every day, you’re paying proper attention, looking for the sort of stuff I like, like a treasure hunter! A treasure hunter with wings!

Me: Interesting - wings that grew in, or a steampunk contraption, maybe a futuristic modification?

Sniffy Neg: *sniffs* Well, she’s had it easy, on holiday. It’ll all go pear-shaped this week, back at work. What’s she gonna write about, eh? The unbearable brightness of spreadsheets? The milk kitty conspiracy?

Me: Way ahead of you, Sniffy. That’s why I’m writing this blog, labelled writing prompts - I’m stockpiling in case I get stuck. You ready, Gonzo?

Gonzo: *twirls* Whee!

Questions for a hypothetical future version of me who is completely stuck for ideas:

  • What must it be like to tell fortunes – what if you could – or couldn’t?

  • When were you most frightened – how could it have been quite significantly scarier?

  • If you lived your life like a pen and paper RPG, how would that work out?

  • Overheard any weird one-liners e.g. ‘It started with an arctic’? What’s the next line?

  • What if there were no transition between youth and old age?

  • What is the most romantic moment you ever witnessed in public – how could it have been weirder?

  • What if there were a word, apart from housework, more unlikely than that, which changed your mood instantly, every time?

  • Have you asked your colleagues to tell you their weirdest little stories yet?

  • What would your utopia look like and why would it disgust your hero?

  • Where did the money hidden in the cello come from?

  • Get the dictionary, not that one, the old one, which is the first word that tastes delicious? Serve it.

  • If you could understand the constantly cackling gulls, what would they say, and how would you reply?

  • Don’t think too hard: what’s your favourite fable and what genre does it totally not belong in?

  • What would you do while you were waiting for your toes to drop off?

  • Why haven’t you picked one of Mr G’s photos at random?

  • If a hero came into town, how would you draw them and what would you have them fix?

  • What if you or somebody less likely than you became addicted to something odd e.g. 2p shovers?

  • You know that book, that you really hated the ending? Yeah, that one, or that one - how would you have ended it?

Hopefully, that's plenty for Gonzo to play with. Wish us luck. I'll let you know how it goes.

Gonzo: you haven't forgotten about the flying treasure hunter with amazing wings have you?

Me: I've a feeling she's all I'll be able to think about until I write her. She's today's story, is she?

Gonzo: Yippee!

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