For the latest stream we went back to one of our favorite writing exercises: randomly-generated sentences.
They’re a perfect way to work out your creativity muscles, and worst comes to worst, if your story sucks, hey, you can just blame the terrible random sentences!
Chat voted between three random sentences to start our story, and we wrote about half a page. Then we got another random sentence and had to use it as the next sentence in our story. Then we wrote another half a page and got a final random sentence, which would be our ending sentence that we had to write to.
Needless to say, it was pretty chaotic. But thanks to some awesome suggestions from chat, I absolutely love where our story ended up.
You can read it here: (the randomly-generated sentences are in bold)
There was no ice cream in the freezer, nor did they have money to go to the store. The ten-year-old twins gaped in horror at the open refrigerator, filled with nothing but healthy food.
“My god,” Jenny cried. Her eyes darted from the boxes of brussel sprouts to the bags of kale resting on the plastic refrigerator shelves. “Mom’s finally gone crazy.”
“And I thought those meatless meatballs last week were bad enough,” Johnny said. “We complained so much! Why is she still doing this?”
“I don’t know…” Jenny thrust herself into the back of the freezer, desperately groping for anything that had sugar in it. But nothing. The closest was some frozen plain tofu bars on a stick.
“Can we go buy some ice cream?” Johnny asked. He glanced down at his bright-red plastic watch. “Oh no. It’s 1:45. Everyone’s going to be here for the birthday in fifteen minutes. We can’t make them eat kale chips!”
Jenny leaned back out of the fridge and closed the doors. “No we can’t. We need to take matters into our own hands and get some ice cream.”
Johnny’s eyes widened. “You’re not saying we should steal mom’s money, are you?”
“No,” Jenny said. A mischievous grin grew along her face that Johnny knew all too well. Every time that smile made an appearance, they usually got grounded for a week. But it was always worth it.
“What are we going to do then?” he asked.
Jenny pulled out a plastic dollar-store squirt gun from her back pocket. “We’re going to steal the ice
Johnny and Jenny peeked around the corner of the kitchen into the living room. Mom was sitting on a meditation mat, her legs were crossed in sutra position and her fingers folded into peace symbols on her knees. But most importantly, her eyes were closed.
An Indian man with a thick accent was speaking out of her Amazon Echo as she meditated.
“The body may perhaps compensates for the loss of a true metaphysics.”
Jenny and Johnny crept their way across the room, trying to make as little noise as possible on their tip toes. The front door was just feet away.
“Let the electric city of the world around you flowing through your mind’s eye.”
Jenny reached for the door handle, grasped it, and twisted. It gave the smallest squeak, but it could’ve been an explosion for all it mattered. The twins both cringed in pain, knowing what was coming.
“Oh hey you two,” Mom said cheerfully. “Are you ready to have some birthday fun?”
Jenny and Johnny stopped cold. Johnny thought about aborting the mission right then and there, but Jenny kept her cool.
“Yeah mom,” she said calmly. “We can’t wait to eat the lemon and cucumber cake you made.”
“Oh I’m so glad to hear. Do you want to join me before all your little friends get here?”
“Not right now, mom,” Jenny said too cheerfully. “We’re just going outside for some fresh air and warmup stretches. Don’t want to get our chi out of balance when everyone comes.”
“Oh! Good idea,” Mom said, wiggling with excitement. “Maybe I should join you.”
“No!” Jenny and Johnny screamed together. Jenny cleared her throat. “I mean, no. No, you don’t want to mess up your own chi when you’re in the zone, right?”
“I suppose so,” Mom said, righting herself. “Well, be careful out there. Today’s Whether Report forecasts lots of negative spirits in the air.”
“Thanks mom,” Jenny said quickly. She grabbed Johnny’s hand and the two of them burst out the door. The voice of the podcaster faded behind them.
“Sometimes life has a chaos to it, do not be confused and attempts to seek a deeper meaning.”
The two of them ran down the sidewalk to the 7-11 three blocks away. They may not have the best selection of ice cream there, but they were closer than the grocery store, and the two of them didn’t have time to go further away. They stepped in front and the automatic door swung open with the ring of a bell.
A wrinkly old man behind the counter looked up from a notebook he was writing in and greeted them with a smile.
“Pens are fifty percent off to anyone who can juggle six cats,” he said.
Jenny and Johnny exchanged glances. Jenny was the first to speak up.
“Uh, thanks,” she said. “But we don’t need any pens.”
The old man shrugged and looked back down at his notebook. “Oh well. Shoelaces are piling up in the bowls so I’d better clean out the scorpions and make space for microwaves.”
This time Jenny and Johnny paid him no attention and dove behind one of the aisles to the freezer section in the back. As expected, the ice cream selection wasn’t fantastic. There was chocolate, vanilla, strawberry…
“And Reese’s Cup S’mores Birthday Cake flavor!” Johnny whispered in excitement. “Oh, we have to get that one.”
“Okay,” Jenny said. She glanced up and down the aisle to make sure no one else was there. It was just the two of them. She opened the freezer door, grabbed the carton, and thrust it toward Johnny. “Here, hide it under your shirt. Quick!”
Johnny’s eyes widened with shock. “What? Why do I have to be the one to hide it?”
“Because I’ve done all the work so far! You need to do something.”
“I did do something! I picked the ice cream!”
“Yeah, you picked it! So you can carry it home!”
Suddenly the voice from the old clerk rang through the shop. “I’m surrounded by snot thieves and I’d better call the tissues police!”
Jenny and Johnny both froze. They’d been caught. Neither of them had any idea who the “snot police” were, but they didn’t want to stick around to find out. Johnny shoved the ice cream into his shirt and gave a small yelp of pain as it nearly froze to his skin.
“Now, let’s go!” Jenny yelled. She grabbed Johnny’s hand and they ran down the aisle toward the exit. But standing in front of the door was the old man clerk, his notebook in hand.
“They call them S’mores because Mr. Reese’s already took all the good candy names.”
“He knows! He knows!” Johnny yelled. Jenny yanked the plastic squirt gun out of her back pocket, aimed it at the man’s face, and let loose with five small squirts of water, right in the eye.
The man dropped his notebook and covered his face as the two children flew past him out the door, ringing the automatic bell on their way out. He rubbed his eyes, picked up his notebook from the floor, looked it over, and sighed.
“Writing a list of random sentences is harder than I initially thought it would be.”
I really liked our random opening sentence, but honestly I though we’d hit a brick wall with the middle sentence. And the ending sentence was barely a sentence at all; it was just the lamentations of the poor soul sitting at the computer writing all the random sentences behind the scenes!
But we made it work. And if you’re just reading the final draft here, it may look pretty smooth. But I urge you to check out the video of the stream at the link below, so you can see just how messy the initial drafts were.
After the exercise we moved on to a writing prompt, and chat voted for this one by kancho_ninja: “Every year when you file taxes, you put “Alien Diplomat” as your occupation. As a joke. Today, burly men in suits show up on your doorstep and “insist” that you accompany them.”
This prompt could be taken in a lot of directions, and there were plenty of great ideas from the chat that I think congealed nicely into our hilarious and somewhat disgusting take.
If you want to join us and help write a story by trolling in chat, or share your own writing for feedback, then we’d love to have you. We stream on Twitch every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7:30pm-9:30pm (U.S. Eastern Standard Time).
And you missed the stream, you can still watch it here on rerun until Twitch deletes it.
Hope to see you next time, friend!
Featured image: Pakutaso