Writing Workout Winter 2016: Update #2

This week I felt the magical butterflies that carried me through week 1 wear off. This week was hard. Plain and simple. This week, getting through everything felt like work. I’m sure it didn’t help that I was scheduled much more hours at my day job, but whatevs. I’m sticking to my goals and making my dreams a reality. Week 2 is complete! All you got to do is put in the work, and, gosh darn it, I’m doing it! Here’s what I did this week.

What I Read:

  • Elena Ferrente
  • Ann Lamott Section 2
  • How Writers Write Fiction Weeks #1 & #2
  • Burroway
  • Anton Checkov: “Gooseberries
    • “Ivan Ivanich came out of the shed, plunged into the water with a splash, and swam about in the rain, flapping his arms, and sending waves back, and on the waves tossed white lilies; he swam out to the middle of the pool and dived, and in a minute came up again in another place and kept on swimming and diving, trying to reach the bottom. “Ah! how delicious!” he shouted in his glee. “How delicious!” He swam to the mill, spoke to the peasants, and came back, and in the middle of the pool he lay on his back to let the rain fall on his face.”
  • Laura van den Berg: “Where We Must Be
    • “Some people dream of being chased by Bigfoot. I found it hard to believe at first, but it’s true. I was driving back from Los Angeles in late August, after a summer of waiting tables and failed casting calls, when I saw a huge wooden arrow that pointed down a dirt road, “actors wanted” painted across it in white letters. I was in Northern California and still a long way from Washington—which wasn’t really home, just where I had come from. I followed the sign down the road and parked in front of a silver Airstream trailer. It was dark inside and I felt the breeze of a fan. The fat man behind the desk said he’d never hired a woman before. And then he went on to describe exactly what happens at the Bigfoot Recreation Park. People come here to have an encounter with Bigfoot. Most of their customers have been wanting this moment for years. I would have to lumber and roar with convincing masculinity. I can do that, I said, no problem. And I proved it in my audition. After putting on the costume and staggering around the trailer for a few minutes, bellowing and shaking my arms, I stopped and removed the Bigfoot mask. The fat man was smiling. He said I would always be paid in cash.”
  • Melissa Bank: Excerpt from “The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing
    • “I learn that he’s a cartoonist, and I have to tell him that I work in advertising. “But,” I say, and don’t know what to say next. “I’m thinking of opening a dog museum.”
      “A dog museum?” he says. He’s not sure if I’m kidding. “For the different breeds?”
      “Maybe,” I say. “Or else it could be a museum that dogs would enjoy. It could have interactive displays of squirrels dogs could chase and actually catch. And a gallery of scents.”
      • Prompt: Can we all just write stories about dog museums? I LOVE THIS!

What Prompts I Followed:

  • Your characters go skinny dipping in the middle of the day. Why?
  • Rewrite a story you’ve already written completely from scratch. Don’t use the original as a reference, but simply see what you come up with from memory? What is retained? What new information shows up? (PS I’m obsessed with this technique and always find amazing things happening whenever I use it!)

Happy Writing!