Sunday, September 18, 2016

Scattergories as a writing framework

I turned a silly Facebook game into a writing exercise.

Scattergories are harder than you think. Every answer must start with the last letter of your previous answer. No fair Googling!

Name - Maureen
Animal - nudibranch
Girl’s name - Helen
Name a color - Naples yellow
Movie - Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Something you wear - yamaka
Drink - apricot juice
Food - eggs
Item in the bathroom - soap
Place - Petaluma
Reason to be late - absorbed in a good book

Now use them all in a sentence, a paragraph, or a poem.

Maureen, a nudibranch unfurls its finery at the sea where Helen's face launched a thousand ships, against a Naples yellow sky. Incongruous music from an old movie—what was it? Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When's the last time you watched that? Can you still sing the songs? Who wore the yamaka? Yehiel was drinking apricot juice, the color of eggs. He carved a whistle from a bar of soap. Said he had to meet someone in Petaluma but she was absorbed in a good book, and didn't notice him leaving.

Name - Mo
Animal - ostritch
Girl’s name - Hermoine
Name a color - eggplant
Movie - To Kill a Mockingbird
Something you wear - dress
Drink - sambuco
Food - orange
Item in the bathroom - earrings
Place - Sausalito
Reason to be late - out late, slept in

Mo always wanted to ride an ostritch named Hermoine. Her thighs were the color of eggplant. You couldn't explain the significance of To Kill a Mockingbird to a bird that big, even if her eyelashes were a foot long—sans Mabelline. With that plumage, she was always dressed to kill. Mo took a sip of sambuco, and watched the orange orb lunge into the ocean like a high diver. She twisted her earrings, thought of the days when they raided the Trade Fair in Sausalito. Little thieves they were. She was out late, slept in. Insomnia came in the form of orange orbs floating just out of reach.

Now to change the categories:

State of mind, or feeling -sorrow
Animal or plant -wombat
Color, or a flower - turquoise
A line from a book nearest you - every step you take
    or a line from a song
An article of clothing - ermine cloak
A sound, or a musical instrument - klaxon horn
Something odd in your purse, wallet, 
   or on your nightstand -  name tag
A place, city, or country - Grenoble
Reason to be late/early - exercise
Famous last words - never a dull moment

The princess wore an ermine cloak over her gown of spun silver and turquoise. The klaxon horn sounded the battle cry. Sorrow was a wombat, the sea was restless. The banner unfurled and snapped to attention. Grenoble seemed so far away. Oh well, time for some exercise, a walk along the ramparts should be safe enough. Never a dull moment. Every step you take, brings you closer to the end of the story.

a variation: Every answer must start with the FIRST letter of your LAST name. 

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