I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Random Box


by Teri Smith

Writers use many techniques to escape the typical, most expected way of saying things. We beg or bribe (with chocolate) fellow writers or family members to brainstorm with us. We open a dictionary at random and pounce on a word with a finger. Anything to shake us out of the first idea that pops in our heads.

But since writing most often sends us into solitary confinement, I love to use my Random Box. Open my box, and you'll find it's packed words. Words that I've stirred, mixed up, and chosen at whim. I fill it mostly with strong verbs and specific nouns. I toss in the occasional sensory adjective. But most important, I fill it to the brim.

     How in the world do I use such a thing? Suppose I want to describe the heroine looking out over the sea at the sunset. I could use the same, tired phrases to describe a sunset, or I could draw out some random words from my box.

     I'll draw out some words now: scanned, bundled, spattered, whirled, peppered. I might write: Candice scanned the horizon as the sun whirled its reds and pinks across the sky.

     Okay, maybe that's not genius, but it did get me, even at the spur of the moment, out of a typical description of a sunset.

     Now here's a challenge for you. Describe what she might hear while standing on the edge of the cliff gazing at that sunset. Here's some words randomly chosen from my box for you to work with: howl, snip, prowl, wrestled, shuffle, tick, skedaddle. You don't have to use all of them. Choose any that strike your creative fancy!

     Or if you wish, you can tell me how weird writers sound when they talk about things like random boxes.
 

14 comments:

  1. The waves roared and crashed and along with the howling wind and screaming gulls, created a cacophany of sounds that energized and calmed her at the same time.

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  2. Teri,

    Love your random box! My brain isn't awake enough to write a sentence for you, and I think only non-writers think writers are weird for talking about things like random boxes. To me, it makes perfect sense. ;-)

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  3. Seconds ticked by as Candace prowled the cliff, waiting for the emerald flash others waxed eloquent about. An ancestral howl tore from her throat when once again, the flaming red ball dropped into the ocean with nary a hint of green.
    Teri,, this was fun. I love your Random Box! Starting mine today!!!! I love the way your mind works.

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  4. Oh, I love it, Teri. That's such a cool idea!

    I'm short on time, so I can't do the challenge just now, but I'll be thinking about it. :)

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  5. Great idea! I just love using a new word or at least something fresh to describe an ordinary situation.

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  6. Teri, what a great idea!!!! I need to start a random box for myself. I have two kiddos sitting nearby, munching breakfast, so my mind is distracted by words and goofiness. :O) I'm going to be thinking on this, and if I get inspiration, I'll come back and share it. :)

    Can't wait to begin my random box!

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  7. Teri, love this idea! You are right, it really allows your mind to take a description in a new direction! Thanks for the idea!

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  8. Candice prowled shuffling to the cliff's steeoest edge, wrestling and snipping away its wayward bits frenziedly until she cut too much and it and she fell seaward, cannonballing into emerald-green phospheresce at the very instant blood-red sun sizzled and extinguished its molten light in salty depths leaving silent black night to rule.
    (Thanks, Teri. Good drill. I've obviously read too much Bulwer-Lytton.)

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  9. Wow, Susan, what a sentence!

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  10. Great sentence, Pat! I love how these sentences were nothing like the ones that came to my mind!

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  11. Now, Dee, that sentence was a whopper! But again, it's cool how each person has their own style!

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  12. Thanks for getting us going, Teri. Blessings your way. Hope your mom is doing okay--

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  13. Great idea, Teri! Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Teri, this is a terrific idea. I believe writers could benefit from this in many ways--struggling with plot, scene starters, character development, etc.

    I just received a beautiful box for my birthday. I think it will make a great random box. Thanks for the inspiration.

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