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Scott Writes Stuff Posts

Writing Stream Recap: Confronting your inner child

For the last writing stream (along with special guest Abbey), we tried something new.

For our writing exercise, we used the Japanese “Poop Kanji Book” to get some random sentences. In the book, every Japanese character (kanji) is given three example sentences that uses it, each of which (of course) involves poop.

After getting a random page number, we opened to the page with the kanji for “corner.” The chat voted on which of the three poop-sentences would start our story, and this is what we wrote: (bold sentence was our “random” sentence)

Writing Stream Recap: Hamster Samurai

Over the past couple streams, whenever we browsed the Writing Prompts Subreddit, lots of people in chat would suggest even better ideas for prompts than the ones we were choosing from.

So for our most recent stream (with special guest Abbey), we decided to go ahead and create our own writing prompt, and then write it.

To help with that, we came up with a formula for creating a good prompt: normal idea plus twist equals prompt. For example, robots take over the world (normal idea) plus ducks (the twist) equal the prompt: “A.I. robots have taken over the world but have formed a pact with one species: ducks.”

This was a good exercise not only to come up with a prompt, but also for any story you want to write. We’ve all read sci-fi adventures, time travel mishaps, and romance drama novels before, so having a good twist to hook the reader can really make your story stand out.

After coming up with a bunch of fun prompts, we narrowed it down to these three:

Writing Stream Recap: Cinderella’s Gay Grandson

Our last stream (with special guest Abbey) was on New Year’s Day, so we decided to ham it up as our theme and use it as our muse.

For our first writing exercise, we started off with a vote for the chat to pick which New Year’s topic we should write about (“a New Year’s Eve party” won), and we got a randomly-generated sentence to begin it with.

It was probably the hardest opening sentence we’ve had yet, but I’m happy with where it ended up. You can read what we wrote here: (the bold sentence is the randomly-generated sentence we had to start with)

Happy New Year!

In Japan it’s considered good luck to have a dream involving a hawk, eggplant, or Mt. Fuji for your hatsu-yume (first dream of the new year).

But if you have a dream about me gobbling as a cooked turkey, well, that will bring you a different kind of luck.

Happy New Year’s everyone!

Featured image: Gahag

Writing Stream Recap: That awkward moment when the hero and villain get engaged

Last stream, along with special guest Abbey, we did one of my favorite exercises: editing auto-generated fanfiction. We did this last week and it was a lot of fun, so we decided to try it again this week.

We used the auto-generator Fanfic Maker, and just to give you a taste of what we were working with, here’s the beginning of the story we were given: (all spelling/punctuation mistakes left as-is)

Writing Stream Recap: Ugh, stupid Christmas magic

Well Christmas is over, so that means it’s time to write about the harsh, sobering realities of the season that we wake up to with a hangover the day after Christmas.

For our writing exercise last stream (along with my special guest Abbey), we gave the chat five “miserable Christmas happenings” to choose from, and “drunk uncle” won by a hair. After brainstorming a bunch of ways we could write about a drunk uncle, we went with the most interesting one: writing from the drunk uncle’s point of view.

Here’s what we wrote:

Writing Stream Recap: Building snow-women and squirrel Christmas

Since our last stream was on Christmas, what better way to celebrate than by writing our own cheesy Hallmark Channel Christmas movie?

And of course, there’s an auto-generator for that!

Here’s what we got for our roll-your-eyes-but-you’ll-probably-watch-it-anyway Christmas movie plot: “The protagonist is an out-of-work actor who is forced to move back in with their parents. The love interest is a snowman magically brought to life. They work together to throw the demanding mayor’s massive holiday party (and fall in love in the process).”

Needless to say, this plot excited me. After getting some suggestions and votes from the chat, we were off. Here’s what we wrote:

Merry Christmas!

Christmas may just be another day in Japan — in fact it’s the only day kids have to go to school this week before winter break, which is kind of funny.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate with the same awkward family small talk, stomach pains from overeating cookies, and unwrapping what you think is going to be a Nintendo Switch but ends up being a Nentondo Swotch that your grandma got for you from Chinatown!

If you’re looking for holiday cheer, well, then maybe Google it. But if you’re looking for how Japanese people celebrate Christmas over here, then hey! I’ve got you covered.

Featured image: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Writing Stream Recap: EDITING fanfiction trash intro treasure

I was inspired for our latest stream by the recent YouTube video “How Star Wars Was Saved in the Edit.”

It explains how the first Star Wars movie as it was originally edited (which almost no one has ever seen) was an incomprehensible mess. It was only after going back through another round of editing that it turned into the masterpiece it’s seen as today.

You can watch it here:

This idea fascinates me. I love how essentially the film that we all know and love was hiding there, made out of the same raw footage of the original bad cut — it just had to be reorganized.

And the same idea works for writing. We all try so hard to get our first drafts done perfectly that sometimes they never get done at all. It’s easy to forget that they’re not supposed to be perfect: first drafts are just to get something onto the page. The perfection comes later, with editing. That’s when you turn the terrible stuff (like the original Star Wars cut) into better stuff.

So for the exercise during the stream, I wanted to try and turn some trash into treasure. To do this, I used the website Fanfic Maker, which automatically generates a horribly-written story for you. After getting input from the chat for what the story should be about, we got our terrible story and read it together.

It was… painfully bad. Here, you can read the beginning:

Writing Stream Recap: Karate-chopping writer’s block

For our latest stream, I wanted to induce something that most people try to avoid: writer’s block. After chat voted on a random sentence to start our writing exercise, I went with it and wrote half of a story, not knowing where I was going with it.

Then, just when I got to the point where I didn’t know what to write next, I stopped. That was my self-induced writer’s block. I couldn’t figure out what should happen next, and I could probably spend all day sitting there staring at the screen.

But instead of doing that, chat voted between three new random sentences, and the winning sentence immediately became the next sentence in our story. It was like taking a wrecking ball against a writer’s block wall, or de-clogging a writer’s block pipe… whichever metaphor you prefer.

Here’s the story I wrote, with the randomly-chosen first sentence and writer’s-block-destroying sentences in bold: