For the last stream’s exercise, we did something we hadn’t done in a while: writing using randomly-generated sentences.
While it may seem a bit silly to use randomly-generated sentences, they can actually make for good exercises. First, they force you to work your creative muscles. Second, they’re perfect for breaking writer’s block. And third, they help alleviate writing pressure, since if what you end up writing sucks, that’s fine; it was just a randomly-generated sentence anyway!
For our exercise, we started our story with a random sentence, wrote a bit, got another random sentence, wrote a bit, and then got a final random sentence to end the story that we had to write to. Here’s what we ended up with: (bolded sentences are the randomly-generated ones)
She was too short to see over the fence. Even standing in her red wagon on her tiptoes, Daisy’s head couldn’t reach the top of the wooden picket fence. She clasped onto the peaked tops of the boards with her small hands and struggled to pull herself up. It reminded her of trying to do a chin up during P.E. class at school. She was the only one in fifth grade who hadn’t been able to do even one.
But now, the mystery of what was on the other side of the fence gave Daisy the strength to pull herself up high enough for a peek. Her whole body shaking, she tried to bring the neighbor’s yard into focus. Already her muscles were aching, screaming at her to let go. She only had a few seconds left.
Just before Daisy’s arms gave out, she heard it, and gasped. Just like she’d thought.
“There were white out conditions in the town; subsequently, the roads were impassable. There was a giant accident on Route 80, resulting in at least four deaths and several other injuries. We’ll have more updates for you later, on this day February 10th, 2018.”
Daisy smiled to herself. She knew it! The neighbor’s magical radio that broadcast news from the future. It was real! She took her phone out of her pocket to confirm the date. Yup, it was February 9th, and there was a snowstorm headed their way tonight.
Ever since last week, when Daisy had happened to be outside and heard static coming from next door, she’d been curious about the neighbor’s radio. She’d put her ear to the fence, but between the dozens of cats meowing that the neighbor had, she couldn’t make out too many words. Three days ago, she’d thought she’d heard something about a robbery at the Shop n’ Save, and sure enough, the same story had been on the news later that night when her parents watched TV. Except it was being shown as “live.” Then the next day there was the radio news about a celebrity dying, and the same thing was all over the internet later, except they all said it had just happened.
And now, with all the neighbors’ cats indoors due to the incoming snowstorm, Daisy could hear the date on the radio loud and clear. There was going to be a deadly snowstorm. She had to warn her parents and everyone else not to go driving tomorrow, or else they could end up in that accident. She turned to jump off her red wagon, but before she could, a hand fell on her shoulder. A chill ran through her as she looked up and saw the neighbor woman glaring down at her, shadows across her face.
“Did you hear something, Daisy?” the woman asked.
Daisy swallowed hard. “Um, no.”
The woman shook her head and clicked her tongue disapprovingly. “Now, now, Daisy. You’re lying. That’s what bad girls do. You’re not a bad girl, are you?”
Daisy was frozen. She didn’t know what to do. She had to warn her parents about the snowstorm, but then a thought occurred to her.
“Wait,” she squeaked out. “Your magical radio… you know the bad things that are going to happen. Why don’t you help people?”
The woman chuckled. “Oh sweet, innocent Daisy. I think you know a little too much.”
The woman’s grip on Daisy’s shoulder tightened. Daisy felt a flash of pain run through her, and she tried to shriek, but nothing came out. Her mouth wasn’t working correctly. She felt scratchy all over. And the woman was growing taller and taller by the second. Or was Daisy growing smaller?
“Much better,” the woman said. She reached down and picked up Daisy from the wagon, cradling her in her arms. Daisy tried to scream for her parents, but all that came out was a meow. The woman pat her on her fluffy back, rubbing all the way down from her furry head to her tail. Daisy had a yellow and white splotch on her fur that looked just like a daisy flower.
“You’ll be much easier to keep quiet this way,” the woman said, carrying Daisy back to her house. “And don’t worry, I’ll take good care of you. Just like all the others. Cats are good pets, for they are clean and are not noisy.”
Like always when we do these randomly-generated exercises, I was nervous when we got our sentences, but it was a lot of fun to weave them together. The middle one came out of nowhere, but I think it gave our story a good direction, and the final one was pretty nonsensical, but after a little editing, we made it all come together in the end.
After that we moved on to today’s prompt, and chat voted for this one submitted by Guillle: “You design a sensor that can detect probabilities of catching diseases from eating or drinking stuff. One day, your device detects “100% of catching ancient curse” from the seemingly harmless free samples provided by a woman in a supermarket.”
I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with this one… until chat stepped up with the perfect reason for why food might have an “ancient curse” in it. Combined with a hilarious ending also provided by chat and a decent middle that I slopped together, I really like what we came up with.
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).
Hope to see you next time, friend!
Scott Wilson is the author of the novel Metl: The ANGEL Weapon, forthcoming November 2018.
Featured image: Deviantart/jj-nero