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November 7th, 2012 / 11:43 am
Craft Notes

Writing Game #1: “25, Strange as You Can”

I like making up writing games.

Let’s start with a simple one: Write the strangest, grammatically correct 25-word-long sentence that you can.

If you want an additional challenge or jumping-off point, you can specify that one or more words must be included.

Using this random word generator, I came up with the word “abbeys.” So let’s try writing a few strange 25-word-long sentences with that word:

  1. Sobbingly flee nuns like you would a rabid anteater if you must, bro, but me, I’ve always saddled right up to gals who enter abbeys.
  2. I can’t believe the post-postmodern bullshit perpetuated about how lame horses when let loose will trot down shit-ridden alleys in whinnying search of lost abbeys.
  3. Tin-foil abbeys, to any king’s dismay, can’t wash cankered hands or create long smearing sparks the way I once saw beautifully heartbroken Neptunian skywriters do.

25 words is a good length, I think. It’s long enough to lie outside conventional parlance, but short enough that you can easily overshoot, then have to trim back. (I often find myself writing 26–30 word sentences, then needing to cut them down.)

A few techniques I’ve tended toward:

  1. I write a short, simple starting sentence, then replace words and add other words and phrases to it. (That’s how I wrote sentence 1.)
  2. I type very rapidly, without time to really think, bashing out any words that come to mind. (That’s how I wrote sentence 2.)
  3. I write very slowly, one word at a time, picking each new word to offset the previous ones. (That’s how I wrote sentence 3.)

I think each sentence above retains some trace of its method of generation.

As for what I mean by “strange”? That’s obviously more subjective, and deliberately open-ended. I find exploring that part of the fun of the game.

Due to that subjectivity, I consider this less a competitive game than a collaborative one. Give it a whirl at your next party? And share your own examples in the comments?

Furthermore, note the tag “writing games” (below), which’ll catalog future installments, which will—rest assured—follow this one as surely as nuns follow an abbess.

Update:

Here’s three more I wrote by means of flipping around in the dictionary:

  1. My Belarussian nemesis drew with great sensitivity a painted bunting doing an end run around a vermillion hydra guarding a trove of homemade kosher caramel.
  2. His barfing up large chunks of half-digested squid tacos marred not only the Hardcastles’s vestibule’s Buddha figurine, but an otherwise pleasantly genteel charity coffee klatch.
  3. Horsing around Scottsdale’s genealogy museum, I ceased examining a cuckoo clock and skipped on only to find an animatronic reindeer aiming an Uzi at me.

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