Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Five-Word Drill


I've been texting with someone who's working on her first novel, and she asked me for five words. So I sent them, and two days later she sent me a quite imaginative story inspired by those five words. When she sent me five words back, I at first balked - being in the middle of a rather enormous novel - but later that day I realized I had brought my most recent conflict to an unanticipated resolution and my novel desperately needed the kind of "left turn" that enlivens any good plot line. So I took those five words on a lengthy beach-walk and mentally composed a fascinating little story that became a dream in the novel, that supplied the spark for a wholly unexpected new conflict - just the left turn I had been looking for.


You never know where the next inspiration is going to come from. And I'd certainly recommend the five-word drill as a good way to keep the faculties loose.

6 comments:

... Paige said...

hum five words...

wobble
camera
guillotine
green
rocking chair

for your of course...not me :-)

Linda said...

Hi Michael:
Just thought you would like to know that Jim Van Treese has again scammed investors out of millions and in my research of him I found your blog. Incredible how these creeps just start over under a new business, new name, etc. I can answer more questions if you want to email me directly.
Also, I lived on Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor for 4 years! Small world.....Take care. Linda

Michael J. Vaughn said...

Wow! Some people never learn their lessons. Gotta give it to him, though - that experience makes a great story whenever I'm speaking for publishing conferences. It's a great caveat emptor. Can you email me? I would like to know more. Thanks - Michael

Stephen said...

In the past, I've written stories using 10 random words. I didn't use all of those words, however, as only a few of them made the story come together. So, maybe all I really needed were five.

Happy times about the needed left turn, BTW. Life has a way of throwing a bone every now and then. Good luck with the story.

Lakin Khan said...

I love the Random Word prompt and use it all the time. Sometimes I collect one word from five people to use. Even if it doesn't develop into much, it's fun and wakes up the old left brain. Congrats on getting such a fortuitous result!

great blog, btw. will look for any of your events in the North Bay.

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