I’m on writing retreat this week, so I’m going to riff off David’s post in which people worry they’ll tell the same story somebody else has told, and give you a writing exercise. Normally I do this in writing seminars where nobody can read each other’s work until it’s finished done, so I’m going to establish one rule and I ask that you actually follow it.
Here’s the rule: first, before you go any further in reading this entry, right-click on “leave a comment/# of comments” and open it in a new tab or window. This is really important for this exercise. The entire point here is that you should absolutely *not* read what other people have written until you’ve done yours. Please, please follow this rule.
Edited to add: Crap. Apparently MW doesn’t open a fresh window with no visible comments unless you’re actually the first commenter. All right, then, I plead with you to unfocus your eyes and scroll past all other comments until you’ve written your own. Argh. This may not work as well as I hoped, but, well, please try.
I am going to present you with an extremely generic story point. I want you to rewrite the material I have provided the way *you* would tell it, and then keep going for a little while. Five or ten minutes, a couple hundred words, something like that. No more; this isn’t a long writing assignment.
Post your retelling of the story. Then, and only then, may you read what other people have written. Again, I ask you to please, please follow these rules, because doing otherwise will defeat the point.
Here’s your story:
Robin ran up the stairs in the tower to the locked door. A wooden bird was beside it. Robin’s heart pounded, chest tight with needing air. Robin poured water on the bird’s head and it sang, making the door open. On the door’s other side was a beautiful princess.
Go. Rewrite, continue on a little bit, post, and then read what others have written.