I did a writing exercise this morning. I wrote a list of 10 random nouns and a separate list of 10 random verbs and then gave myself 10 minutes to write 10 sentences using both sets of words. Here are the results:
- A hot cup of coffee teaches me to slow down and savor each moment.
- The child wrote out her name using bits of her alphabet pasta.
- The worn out magnetic strip on her ID card could not be read by the scanner.
- You’ve heard of “pillow talk”? On that cold morning, the couple engaged in a little sweater talk.
- How do we listen to the incessant war drums pounding in our hearts?
- A wrinkled scarf sits on her dresser top where she tossed it the night before.
- Her old-maid reading glasses look up and meet his slick, stylish sun glasses.
- They shuffled the conference room chairs, badgering the too small tables.
- The color of the antheriums run juxtaposed against the dull, peeling wallpaper of the room.
- The vase she set upon the fireplace mantle was like a praise offered up in church.
The sentences are awkward, but the point in writing them is two-fold. First, it helps me to employ nouns and verbs in new and hopefully vivid ways. Second, these sentences can be a jumping off place for other, more solid writing. The sentence can be pared down, re-arranged, flipped over, allowed to run wild and even thrown away altogether after it has served this purpose.
This exercise is adapted from one that is in Writing Down the Bones, page 147 of the pocket edition.