Sunday, August 25, 2013

Introductory exercise

A.      Words:

cactus,  photograph, criminal, draw, chirp

B.      Write:

The tumbleweed blew across the trail. It was the only movement around. It ran into a cactus and once again everything was as still as a photo. Sheriff Tim had his hand on his holster, a mirror image of the famous criminal standing across from him. The only sound was the chirp of crickets and various other desert insects until suddenly


It was over in a moment the criminal was dead.

C.      Revise:

Tim did a little dance. He was victorious. He would get to live another day to kill more criminals. Crime doesn’t pay.

D.      Discuss:

I really liked this exercise. I always enjoy having a jumping off point. Immediately when I saw my words, I thought of a spaghetti western. I love spaghetti westerns, so I pictured the classic scene where the bad guy/criminal and the good guy/sheriff are standing across from each other and duel.  

The group who added to my story added a bit of humor. I thought my scene was pretty serious, but then again it was pretty cliché which maybe made them think it was funny. In the end I don’t think their additions really kept with my tone. I think that was the hardest part of the exercise, keeping the tone of the original author.

I also had a hard time writing under pressure. I don’t like how choppy my writing ended up, but that is typically how I start off my writing, just getting ideas onto paper.  I decided to re-write it so that it would flow a little better:

The only thing moving around them was the tumbleweed blowing across the trail. It passed between them and got caught on some pear cacti, and everything was still again. Sheriff Tim had one hand hovering over his holster; in his other hand was a Wanted Poster with a photograph resembling the man standing across from him. The man also had a hand hovering over his own holster. It was quiet except for the chirp of the cicadas and other various desert insects until suddenly:



It was over in a moment. The gun shot was echoing along the valley. Justice was served. The criminal was dead.  


  1. Ah, my group was the one that added to your story. Now that you point it out, I do sense the more serious tone in your story. It's not so much that we thought your tone was silly. We just wanted to add something silly, and also it was pretty difficult to think of what to add. I bet if we were to do this same exercise except write a longer piece, it would be easier to add to because there would be more story to draw from.

    You added to my coyote story, right? I thought what you added was very appropriate. In case you forgot, my coyote played a trick on some people, and then the added part was that he got what was coming to him. The coyote usually gets what's coming to him in actual folklore, so your addition was great. :)

  2. :) yes, my group added to your coyote story; it reminded me so much of the Wile E. Coyote that I had to "give him what he deserves" so to speak. I liked what your group added to my story; it made me laugh. I only brought it up because I was trying to point out that the toughest part of this activity was matching the tone of the story. I liked that my serious sheriff did a little dance in the end!


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