Yes, I am tardy with my Weekend Writing Workout.
I've been involved with FTX West these past few days, which is a growing Film and Television Expo in Vancouver, BC. It's got some really great people leading fabulous workshops at their conference. We (Women in Film) sponsored a pitch session with Laurie Sheer (media maven and all around great lady) this morning. Also teaching this weekend are Guerrilla film-maker Chris Jones from the U.K., Jeff Kitchen, and Blake Snyder (who wrote Save the Cat!, billed as "The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need"). In addition to the conference, there's a huge exhibition over the weekend.
If you ever needed an excuse to come to Vancouver (other than the fabulous city itself), FTX would be it.
In any case... are you ready to ROCK your writing?
Back to my exercises around Objects, Images, and Incidents...
Here's a way to get into that mode of SHOWING instead of TELLING. Of finding the images within your story.
Pick a story you want to work on (short story, novel, screenplay, it doesn't matter) and for 5-7 minutes, write spontaneously - no stopping, no editing, no crossing out - starting with the line This is a story about...
Write it as a LIST, beginning with that line each time. WRITE OUT the line, do not write " " to repeat the line, as writing the actual words allows you to generate the next thought. This is important. Set a timer and just go.
This is a story about guilt. This is a story about love. This is a story about redemption. This is a story about loss. This is a story about a father losing his child. This is a story about taking responsibility for one's actions. This is a story about a man who needs a friend. This is a story about a man who needs to participate in life again. ETC.
Go through your list and find one of the things your story is "about" that really resonates with you. Then, for another 5-7 minutes, list as many IMAGES (from your story) that you associate with that idea. Don't stop to think, don't edit, just write them down. Even if they sound silly, even if they don't make sense to you at the time, write them down.
This is a story about loss
Empty bottles strewn around Winston's house
Boarded up windows
Winston sitting up alone in his bed, middle of the night, awake
Margaret working alone late, at her desk, small lamp on, Janitor knocks on door
Margaret eating in a restaurant by herself, mostly empty, raining outside
Winston's pool, no water, leaves covering the bottom
Winston's ex-student leaving a pizza on the porch
Now the really fun part. You get to write a scene! Pick one of the images above, one that inspires you, and use it to generate your scene. Remember to consider all the images in the scene, which is actually an incident. So your image is moving you to create an incident around it.
Margaret stares into Winston's pool. There is no water. The bottom is filled with a season's worth of leaves. A plastic patio chair is half buried beneath them. She surveys the patio. A second patio chair sits overturned in a bush. She approaches the chair and pulls it out of the bush.
"What are you doing!" a voice shouts from the house. Margaret looks up into Winston's unshaven face in the window. He holds it open an inch. His hair is uncombed. "Leave that alone."
Write on and have a great weekend.