Another way to generate text #6: “word splitting”

Posted by @ 8:01 am on July 16th, 2012

“Split the stick and there is Jesus.” —John Cage

This is a simple technique and I will demonstrate it with this very sentence. First you take some language and split its words up. Then you write through it:

Th is i s a sim ple techn ique an d I w ill demon stra tei twi th thi s ver y sen tence

One of my favorite websites is OneLook, a dictionary search engine with wildcard functionality. Using it, I “completed” the split-up fragments:

Th‘ Corn Gangg is in a sabbatical year, avoiding simolean pleasures in technophobic Martinique. Notwithstanding, Jamie Thompson and Nicholas Thorburn wish continually for a Maxwell’s demon-haunted Stradivarius; Towa Tei has twice now declared “math-folk rap” “the next big thing,” heard incessantly in every lonely senior citizen’s tencent store.

I can’t claim to have “invented” this technique; I’m sure many others done exactly this, or similar. (Feel free to name names in the comments.) At heart it’s akin to writing acrostics and mesostics.

Also, obviously, the larger the letter chunks are, and the fewer “extra” words you allow yourself (words not containing any chunks), the harder your task becomes:

Thi sis asim ple tech nique andI wil lde mons trat eit wit hth isv erys ente nce


Thigh-slapper, sis!” Asimina dimpled, biotechnically unique bandit. Wilde-eyed bewilderment, monstrous, infiltrated. Deities with diphtheria disvalued the family Erysiphaceae. Genteel arrogance!

Tomorrow at my my personal blog, I’ll put up some examples of how I used the technique when writing my first novel, Giant Slugs. Until then—

Enjoy! (I enjoin you yo-yos!)

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