Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Welcome to the Fantastical Fifty

Welcome to the Fantastical Fifty* (you could also make other use of the FF and rename its slave the Faffing Fool (that would be me).

Sometime last month I read this interview with Kelly Link and in it she suggested the following story generating idea (via Stephen Dobyns). In an hour (or more - I took about two) write down 50 first sentences, the first things that come out of that delightful noggin of yours (I have a book of keywords and weaved my sentences around the first 50 words I stumbled across). Then pick 25 of those sentences and write 25 first paragraphs, and out of those you should be able to conjure up half a dozen short stories.

Now, I'm a greedy gal and I'm currently trying to weave 50 stories out of 50 first sentences (because they are all undeniably...partway to...almost...well I thought they were wonderful for at least 50 minutes). I do expect the number to drop by at least half before the year is out, but at the moment I'm having fun and it feels like a weird mix of procrastinating and writing at the same time.

*This is what happens when you realise you have almost no stories 'out there'.

13 comments:

katey said...

That is truly an excellent idea! I'd be lucky to come up with 10, of course, but I guess even that might yield ONE story, right?

K.C. Shaw said...

That's a cool idea! Of course, I'd end up with 50 new novel ideas, like I need anymore of those worthless things. :)

onipar... said...

Well hell. I thought those tweets about a normal word count (2,000-ish) relating to an unlikely number of stories (50) was all...ummm...embellishment. :-D

But now that I read your post, I find myself wanting to try this on for size.

Andrea Allison said...

Sounds like an awesome way to come up with new story ideas but my brain would implode if I tried writing more than one story at a time.

Cate Gardner said...

Katey, I'm with you on the ONE story. If I get at least one out of the experiment, I'll be happy. Of course if I get FIFTY, twitter will explode.

Kate, ha! How about fifty first sentences of possible chapters.

Anthony, you thought I was embellishing!!! Consider your wrists slapped, now write 50 sentences as punishment.

Andrea, my brain imploded at about 7:25 on twitter yesterday evening.

Aaron Polson said...

I've done a similar trick in the past, but never all the way to fifty first sentences. Wow. I'd have a tendancy to be a little greedy, too, and tackle all fifty.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I know what I am doing my next dry spell. :)

onipar... said...

Awwww, but Caa-aate. I don't wanna!

*Tony crosses his arms and stomps out of the room.*

Cate Gardner said...

And no doubt Aaron, you'd achieve all fifty.

Cool. Let me know how you get on, Jamie.

Anthony - my word is lord, get to.

Danielle Ferries said...

I'm going to give this a try. I love writing activities.

abrokenlaptop said...

I'm intrigued! I truly wish that you and I could don fairy wings and sit under trees, writing our Fantastical Fifty. That would rock.

-Mercedes

Cate Gardner said...

Danielle, I love them too :D

Mercedes, that sounds delightful.

Barry Napier said...

When I am detoxed from vacation, I am SOOO doing this.