Monday, February 12, 2007

Dictionary (Thesaurus?): Impossible

Just found a great writing challenge, from A Paperback Writer

Let's play Dictionary: Impossible.

Writers, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take out your dictionary and flip through it, then stop on any page at random. Write down the first word you see. Repeat until you have a list of ten words.


Level 1: Create at least three novel titles using only the words on your list (a, an, the, and other simple words can be added for style.) You have five minutes to complete this level.

Borough Cemetery
An Underproof Cocktail
The Nag
Excessive Nonage
Steamroller Subculture

Level 2: Create a story premise for the titles you've created from your list. If you get caught on this level, PBW will disavow any knowledge of you.

Borough Cemetery: Citizens of a fortified medieval city discover the victims of a strange plague won't stay in their graves.

An Underproof Cocktail: Farmer Bubba's miracle cherries were supposed to soak up the alcohol from the youngsters' drinks, not turn the teens into killer zombies.

The Nag: She knew he loved her; all he needed was a little half-hourly reminder to show it.

Excessive Nonage: How many times could one demi-goddess cheerleader turn sweet sixteen?

Steamroller Subculture: Homeboy heavy equipment operators battle a demon road crew paving the way to hell.

Level 3: Write an opening line for the title/story premises you've created. Should you decide to continue on with the mission, you have exactly thirty minutes to complete this level.

Borough Cemetery

The Baron would have blamed it all on the gravediggers, but theirs were the first bodies left in pieces outside the city's gates.

An Underproof Cocktail

Seein' pictures of that college fella usin' clay teabags to soak up poison outta bad drinkin' water were what gave me the original idear.

The Nag

She'd left him her phone number, written on his bathroom mirror in red lipstick along with a kiss-print and CALL ME LATER.

Excessive Nonage

"Diana Hunter made the squad?" Heather, who had not, turned purple under her crystal rose blush. "She only moved to town like two minutes ago."

Steamroller Subculture

Bodeen climbed down from the barricade truck and walked over to inspect the surveyor's mangled, bloodstained tripod. "Somebody let Julio back up the dozer again?"

Level 4: Write the story to go with one of your opening lines, premises and titles. You may take as much time as you need, but remember that any idea may self-destruct in as little as ten seconds.

Level 5: Write the stories to go with all of them, and you win Dictionary: Impossible.

Now, since I don't actually have a dictionary, I'll use my Roget's Pocket Thesaurus. It's not quite the same, but should be an adequate substitute.

My words:

  1. laggardly
  2. forward
  3. regard
  4. analysis
  5. defiant
  6. loyal
  7. striking
  8. concerning
  9. profitable
  10. trivial
Level 1

Laggardly Defiant
Striking Regard
Profitable Analysis

Level 2

Laggardly Defiant - A young heiress is quick to anger, but slow to forgive. When it comes time to stand up for her rights, she finally errs on the side of caution... and loses her family's estate as a result!

Striking Regard - A vain man is the idol of an entire country. One woman, above all others, wishes to make him her mate, regardless of his cooperation in the matter.

Profitable Analysis - A statistical analyst gets an entirely new job, serving as a pollster in a microscopic magical kingdom in his own back yard.

Level 3

Laggardly Defiant - My mother always told me that I needed to stop being so easily offended or I'd regret it; that's why I decided to hold my tongue when Baron Von Stuberhauser called me a flaming harlot.

Striking Regard - Jase never really wanted to settle down, preferring not to be tied to one woman, so his reaction to Bonnie's marriage proposal was understandbly vehement.

Profitable Analysis - "What have you been smoking, Abacus?" Marley exclaimed, his bright green eyes wide with alarm.

Level 4 - forthcoming

1 comment:

Manda86 said...

Heather, I found your link through (mine's I just read through your blog, it's pretty good. This idea is quite ingenius actually!

So here goes...

The Bloody Cadaver
The Bare Lucern in the Wind

The Bloody Cadaver - Jessie discovers that the new guy she's with is not quite as lively as he seemed.

The Bare Lucern in the Wind - A farm boy find the forage plants around his home are slowly dying.

The Bloody Cadaver - I knew Jean-Luc had been too good to be real, heck, he wasn't even alive, not really anyway.

The Bare Lucern - They were dying. All the trees were disappearing.

Okay, probably not my best effort, but then again, I've just sat through two hours of Civil Procedure, there are no creative juices flowing at the moment ;)