When I get stuck — really really stuck — on my writing, and just can’t find the words I need to keep going on the project I’m trying to focus on, I walk away from it for a few days. Since I’m stuck on a transition in one scene, and my brain won’t let go of another project (that is with a beta reader in a very rough form) enough to work on other scenes, I’ve been procrastinating, doing whatever I can to avoid those other scenes. Well, phooey. I need to get them done. I took an online creative writing class once, and the teacher had an exercise she called “Gallumphing”.
In a nutshell, what it is, is you pick a person, a place, and a thing, and then write something short that includes those things. Since I’m such a fan of prompts (I can’t say no!), this was an awesome idea. I’m not even going to tell you how many stories I’ve written that have started this way. One. It was one.
So since I liked it so much, I found an old box (it’s a pretty one, I might add, all polished and shiney and has a tile on top) and filled it with people and places and things. I made a spreadsheet, first, one for each category of noun. And then printed them all out, and cut them out, and dumped them in the box, and gave it a good shake.
I pulled it out tonight.
Person: Personal Trainer
Place: Garden Nursery
In trying to keep it short, I’m only going for maybe five sentences to tell the entire story? So here goes!
Sherry answered the knock on her front door and looked at the man. She cringed. Karsen was covered in mud and wore a scowl.
She was afraid to look, but she did anyway. Her eyes went wide. Hiding behind Karsen, Lulu the formerly-yellow lab sat, tongue lolling out one side of her filthy face. Her butt swished on the pavement as fast as her tail whipped back and forth. “What happened?!”
“She got into the flower beds. Then I chased her through the nursery where she proceded to knock over half the plants down one of the aisles with her over-zealous tail. And then I had to pull her out of the swamp. He thrust a rope into Sherry’s hands and crossed his arms.
“Oh, my god, I’m so sorry!” Sherry stared at him in shock. “Whatever the damage is — I’ll pay for it. Just send me the bill.”
Karsen sighed. “It’s really not much. Just a bit of replanting.”
“I’m sorry. Maybe…” Sherry hesitated. Karsen was cute. No. Sexy. Even when he was covered in mud, even when he had dirt under his nails. But she didn’t want him to know. “What if I did something for you? A free session? Or…” She swore to herself at the other suggestion that had nearly slipped from her lips.
Karsen stared at her a moment. “What about dinner?”
And that is how I end up procrastinating. (We’re going to ignore the fact that I wrote way more than five sentences.) Of course, now I want to tell the rest of their story. Like… how they met, and how they turn out. But I’ll put these two on the back burner for some other time. When I don’t already have one story I’m desperate to finish, another I’m in the process of re-writing (from scratch because new plot-lines and arcs and a lot of missing stuff with a lot of repeated stuff), and another that I don’t know where to begin with edits/revisions/etc so it’s with a beta reader.
What I am going to do, also, is put together a new spreadsheet of all those people and places and things and find a way to share it. Then everyone can “Go the the Box”. Until next time!