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JANUARY 29, 2013 3:16PM

Open Call: It's time for a writing exercise!

Rate: 9 Flag



Nothing is more pleasurable for a writer than to get out of the doldrums and to take another path to a story. It is refreshing to do something that fires up neglected parts of the brain. 

Here are four little amusements that might interest you. Tag them open call writing exercise and I'll put the links here.

This has NO deadline! Take your time.

1. You are in a restaurant where the private booths have very high walls. Somehow, the acoustics allow you to hear every word being said at one of the nearby booths. You do not know which booth it is. You cannot see the speakers.  How will events unfold?

 2. A major earthquake strikes at San Francisco. Choose one person with the idea that his or her story, out of thousands, is the most compelling.

3. Write about the little kid with the nickname, "Stinky".

4. A story told from a woman's perspective. The same story told from a man's perspective.


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I'm praying for the strength to to participate. I so want to be all over the stinky excercise. I praise your leadership here and hope it finds energy. As you know, this place has lost much mojo, and jake sugarman, is now shaking in some corner due to Jkwalker's spells.
Ha, Fernsy! It is a little lackluster. Ironic, now that it's working so well. I miss these and can't wait to see what you do with little stinky!
Zuma, I had a "cocktail' so it is time to tell you that i always dug y0u. I think you rarely rate or read me but i still have mad respect. LACKLUSTER for sure. All sorts of factions now and our salon vs open ,and a missing editor who is eating a sandwich somewhere or has been devoured, leave us all in some limbo. But the stinky challenge might change all that. Keep noting the rampant ironies and open calls will alight, i know it! We all need to be a little more nutty for it to work. As it stands, the stiffness and fear or looking sata- range , is killing this place.
i will be thinking on this as i run around cleaning, z. thank you!
I copied and pasted them like a good little student. Looking forward to them. I love being given directions.
I would love to have a list of topics sitting there to choose from. It's hard to think of things sometimes. I have three themed blogs, so there's regular stuff to do, but I am terrible at titles.
Terrific idea! I'll be most interested to see what comes of it!


We need your story, Sky! These do not have to be long, drawn out affairs. A draft is fine. Who knows, it might become a part of a longer work or become a story later.
I'm with Zanelle; I also love being given directions. I like these prompts a lot. I'm also copying and pasting them. (Are you grading on a curve, btw?)
Yeah! Whether you try one of the exercises! ha ha. Please tag it so I can link it to here. These posts get views for a long time.
Heck Zuma, I'll just drop it in right here......

I have a friend
His name is Stinky
But on OS
We call him Tinky!

At times our Tink's
A real cute feline
At others he's
Distinctly ursine.

But cat or bear
It does not matter
'Cause our sweet Tink's
Mad as a hatter.

Bwahahaha! An "odor" to Tink! What honors.
Ok So here is my little attempt at a first draft for number four. I would appreciate some comments and suggestions. I am such a spare fact filled writer. I wish I was a little more colorful. But this is just a rough draft.

A story told from a woman's perspective. The same story told from a man's perspective.

She arrived a half hour early and sat on the park bench waiting to meet the man she had been talking to on the internet. It was a beautiful day and she watched the ducks and geese by the shore of the little park lake. She had met three other fellows at this lake and they had all been a bust.

One had a bald head and lived with his mother and told her in an email after they met that she was too fat. Another had been a Mexican fellow who she made out with in his car but he was a terrible lover. He said she reminded him of a childhood friend who had died when he was young. It took her two years to move him along. The third talked to her for ten minutes and then left never to be heard from again.

"I just hope I don't feel sorry for him." she thought. So many of the men she met had terrible sad stories. When the fellow showed up exactly on time she was relieved. He looked normal and was very nice. They talked for an hour and a half and then kissed three times. When they finally parted she was happy. No red flags and the promise to take it slow.


He arrived right on time and was relieved to see her right where she said she would be. She waved at him from far away and he thought it was cool she recognized him so easily. A nice hug in the beginning and he could feel her big breasts. They talked for an hour and a half about anything and everything. He tried not to talk about his dead wife too much and he was relieved she didn't ask lots of questions.

When they stood up to leave they hugged one more time and he kissed her. He told her that kids had made fun of his big lips in elementary school but in high school he had realized they were a gift. He got home to a nice email from her and he wrote right back. Maybe this cyber information age wasn't so bad after all.
I'm going to sleep on it.
Great ideas! I'll be back. (Schwarzenegger voice)
Thank you for no time limit. I always want to participate but I'm too slow.
Nice job, Zanelle. You make it look easy.
Take your time, all! Zanelle, you are pure genius. That is good for a first draft. Does it need more about how they are meeting? Where's the man's tension?
Hi. I hope I'm not crashing in here.

Here's my entry. I hope you like it.

Somehow, he knew that they were fooling around. To put a finger on exactly what it was that made him sure they were fooling around wasn't a top priority at the moment.
Somehow he knew.
And she knew, too.
And it turned them on.
The restaurant was mostly empty.
They looked at each other, then looked to the high paneled wall behind them, that separated their booth from the one that had captured their imaginative and erotic energies. To them, the room warmed by a few degrees, and they both reached, simultaneously, for their glasses of ice water, sipped, and let the wet and cool comfort of the liquid try to cool them off.

They didn't cool off.

The gentle laughter coming from the booth behind theirs made them both imagine a woman playfully resisting her lover's advances. Then, as the woman's laughter quieted down, desire replaced curiosity as the dominant energy, and as they listened, they imagined that the woman had turned the tables on her lover.
A hard silence set in...
They could hear the couple beyond the oak panel begin to breathe harder.
They thought they heard a zipper sliding quietly down.
The unmistakable softness of the breathless groans of lovers and pleasure overwhelmed their minds...
Kenny! That was hot hot hot and I am glad to welcome a new favorite!
Thank you zoomy. [I'm blushing]!
I liked Zanelles' piece, but, if she'll have it, I have a suggestion; for the man's part, maybe she should try using 'I' instead of 'he'.
That would make it more 'immediate' to my mind.
Just a thought...
Thanks again, Zumilicious. I'm blushing! Really!
Jeremy and Rebecca

Thursday, 7:30 pm

ever notice it seems easier to hear the rhythm of your footsteps on the sidewalk at night? the cold air feels good. and for the first time in a long time, my brain’s almost quiet. wish i could just keep walking. after all, i’m nearly half-an-hour early.

as i open the door the noise and the warmth greet me at once. i make my way to the bar. there’re a few spots open. thursday. glenlivet, just a couple of cubes. ice water back. perfect.

i wasn’t going to eat but the sights and smells of fine food change my mind. and i haven’t had a good steak in ages. I decide to take a booth.

don’t need a menu. strip steak med rare. vegetable. another glenlivet. and a water.

they say if you want someone to really listen, speak quietly. how ironic. through all the noise of the bar, the restaurant and even a hint of street sounds leaking in, my ear is drawn to the frequency of the hushed tones behind me. there’s a familiar patter to it.

a man and a woman. not arguing but disagreeing. she’s doing most of the talking. lots of speak about changes and restructuring. now they’re arguing. wow, i think someone’s getting fired. she just fired him. long silence.

shit. i think i need another drink.

the commotion behind me announces their departure. i can hear the footsteps of the man as he exits in silence. the sounds of street life pour in as the door opens. then shuts. next the crisp, click-click of her heels moving in another direction.

my food arrives. the event seems to have put my appetite in check. but damn it looks so good. i do order one more drink to honor a fallen comrade.

the sound of her heels still echo in my head. distantly. then oddly enough not so far away.

I cut into the steak. medium rare as promised. thick and juicy. the broccoli and carrot medley looks deliciously undercooked and coated with some kind of herbed sauce. the moment is... just right.

there’s that sound. click-click. click-click. right on top of me now. i’ll be damned. she’s sitting down.

“hello jeremy”.


Thursday, 7:15pm

i hate these off site meetings. fuck. who you kidding. this ain’t no meeting. it’s a firing. an ambush. two of them.

the restaurant seems nice enough. the lights are dim. i like that. the hostess approaches me instantly to take my wrap. she asks if i’m meeting someone. i am. i can wait at the bar. god knows i can use a drink for this. kettle one. rocks with a twist.

the place is busy but not crowded. there are booths in the bar area. perfect. privacy will be welcomed. i can see why HR chose this place. one last ounce of pleasure as we slip the needle into our two victims.

my first meeting arrives. late. he spots me.

“hello, anthony.” i wave him over.

“rebecca.” almost curtly.

(he doesn’t want to be here.)

i get him a drink and we move to a booth. i can’t believe how my heels echo off the hardwood floor. I’m starting to feel sick. let’s get this over with.

we sit and sip silently for almost a minute. amazing how long a minute really is. we look through our menus. there’ll be no order. I think he knows what’s coming. i start it off. the usual crap about corporate, new directions and rethinking our structure. he puts up a little resistance. he’s not entirely wrong either. but i’m instructed not to really listen.

he’s smart and realizes he has no chance here. he deserves better than this. but that’s not how it works. reality sinks in. now, pissed off, he offers up his last rebuttal and throws me a silent “fuck you”. it’s over. he takes one last long sip of his drink, gets up and leaves. out the door into the night. i wonder what it must feel like.

I finish my drink quickly and try and settle my nerves. one more to go. this one will be tougher. i really like jeremy. and unlike anthony, he has no idea it’s coming.

I find him in his own booth having dinner.

“hello, jeremy”

i stumble as i try to find my way into the routine. he actually seems to feel sorry for me. he does his best to make it easy. in some strange way he seems more intent on enjoying his dinner than succumbing to the shock from the news.

as i make my way to the door, i’m still shaken but relieved it’s over. actually i could use another drink. then our eyes meet. what the fuck...it’s mr. sunderland. my boss.

“hello, rebecca. will you join me for a bit please”?
I love this story! Well done.