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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Workout

It's good to see everyone has a firm idea of why they write. It makes today's excercise so much more fun!

Touch your toes and....

Let's talk tension.

Tension (n):
1 a: the act or action of stretching or the condition or degree of being stretched to stiffness : tautness b: stress 1b2 a: either of two balancing forces causing or tending to cause extension b: the stress resulting from the elongation of an elastic body3 a: inner striving, unrest, or imbalance often with physiological indication of emotion b: a state of latent hostility or opposition between individuals or groups c: a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements4: a device to produce a desired tension (as in a loom)

When you write a story of nay length tension is what keeps the reader turning the pages. It is an element of the plot. In my mind it's what separates books like Moby Dick from Jaws. One has prose, and one has tension.

So, take your Classic Fairytale Opening, the pig boy working on the farm. And add some tension. As Pig Boy wanders the farm, what will you do to him?

List three sources of tension on the farm, and then list one more setting a primary source of tension there. Bonus points for creativity.


  1. Moby Dick is special for other reasons... like Ahab speaking to his pipe.


    . . . Okay, doing the exercise.

  2. 1.) It's a farm of zombie pigs, who have devoured their original owner. And they are still hungry.

    2.) Pig Boy, however, needs the owner's recommendation to get a job as the late farmer was the head of the Pig Farmers Guild and no one gets into the "family" without his approval. He needs it by tonight or the disgruntled farmer up the road--whom Pig Boy has insulted and boasted that he can get a job easier than the farmer can sling a bucket of slop--will send bounty hunter after Pig Boy. Alive isn't necessary to get paid.

    3.) The gate latch is broken and the zombie hogs have realized this--now they start escaping. There are no convenient porcine zombie killing weapons handy. Plus, the lose pigs are now between the farm house where there might be something Pig Boy can use to forge a letter of acceptance (and his only chance of staying alive) and Pig Boy himself.



  3. Zombie pigs? Oh dear....

    Merc, there are times where you worry me.

  4. I only worry you sometimes? Hmm. I need to work on that. %-)

  5. Hehehehehe! Zombie pigs... :D

    Ok, how about this one:

    1. Pig Boy (whose name is Gary--how's that for creative?) is hearing voices...and his truck won't start.

    2. The pigs are concerned because winter is coming, and they have to choose who will be sacrificed to the Almighty Pig Farmer on his birthday.

    3. Gary realizes that he's hearing pig voices and once he learns to talk to them, they plot to trick the farmer into eating a fake pig.

    4. (primary source of tention): The farmer finds out about the plot (he's been hearing pig voices for years...he just ignores them), so Gary and the pigs start speaking in Pig Latin. Then they create a giant tofu pig and leave it in front of the farmer's front door. Then, under the cover of darkness, they'll all burst out of the pig and tie the farmer up in his bathtub...

    Ok, I should probably stop there. I think I'm getting carried away. :D


  6. *cackles at Maren's post* I like that one. %-)

  7. I plan on making this my Thursday workout. :)

    I'm too tired right now to work anything out. Will try and start a new chapter for Monarch, but we'll see how that goes.