Tuesday, November 06, 2007

To-Do Tuesday: Doing More with Less

First off, this isn't REALLY a to-do Tuesday column. I'm slowly sifting through my market updates and loops to get back up to speed. To help me have a REAL column next Tuesday, please e-mail me your latest brag-worthy tidbits--I know some of you have new books out, have editor requests, are kicking butt on Eli's challenge, etc. Send me an email with NEWS in the header!

Now, what I do have for you is an exercise. Lisa's post yesterday focused on writing MORE in a shorter length of time. But what about when your life is lived in 10 minute increments or your brain power is stuck on empty (not that I would know about either of these things)? Sometimes, you can't jump in and out of a novel length work. Heck, some days even a paragraph is asking too much.

But a sentence? We can all do a sentence. Trying to tell a story in a single sentence allows us to hone our hook skills with the added benefit of distance from our WIP. It also allows us to focus on what's really necessary for the reader. Try to tell your story with as few words as possible.

EXAMPLE: It was a five outfit morning.

Now, this is a hook for sure, but it's also a story. If you've ever been a new mother, you know that that line IS the story. If you've had a job interview or a first date, you fill in your own story.

It's your turn! Since I'm still getting caught up on all the news, why not focus on your day or your life right now. Tell me a story in one sentence increments. Feel free to tell me MANY stories!

Enjoy! And send me your news!


Danita Cahill said...

Oh, Wavy, you mean something like "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times?" I'm thinking that one's been taken though, darn it.

How about "In three years, no adult ears heard the girl talk, but Chester, an aged Tennesee Walker, heard everything the girl had to say."

Elisabeth Naughton said...

She should have pulled the covers over her head and stayed in bed.

Alice Sharpe said...

Happy days, Wavy is tiptoeing back into our blog! Yea!!!


Company was coming and she really should have vacuumed floors and changed beds instead of sitting at the keyboard.

Alice Sharpe said...


Day three: to shower or not to shower?

Elisabeth Naughton said...


When she found herself contemplating a trio of shock collars for the children, she knew she'd reached her limit.

Danita Cahill said...

Funny, Eli. The last one, definitely. Let me know when the book is out. I want to read it. hA! My little guy has a cold. He rarely gets sick, so when he does, he doesn't handle it well, and consequently, neither do I!

Danita Cahill said...

And yes, Wavy, I totally agree with Alice -- Yay!!! You're back!! Even if it's just to pop in now and then, we're happy with that.

Paty Jager said...

Yay! Wavy's back!

Where is that package of ear plugs?

Chaos, is a state of mind except when four toddlers play.

Barbara said...

Good to have you back, Wavy!

Was it something I ate?

Life is just way too complicated.

Anonymous said...

So happy that you're back Wavy!!

Okay, here's my sentence...

Henry stepped out the door of his apartment to resume another day in his boring life but, when he looked up, he spied a fully costumed belly dancer entering the previously unoccupied apartment across the hall.

How's that for milking a run-on sentence and using ly and ing?!! LOL

Danita Cahill said...

You know how hooked I am on hooks...
I think a really good first sentence is also a sentence as a story.

Karen Duvall said...

Hemmingway was once challenged to write a short story using seven words or less. He came up with this:

Baby shoes for sale, never used.

Is that powerful or what? Gives me chills.

Okay, my attempt:

The bluebird of happiness got eaten by a cat today.

Alice Sharpe said...

These are all so entertaining! And Wavy, what a perfect exercise. Short and sweet.

Poor Blue Bird of Happiness. And someone check and make sure Eli's kids aren't wearing shock collars.

Lisa Pulliam said...

Hey Wavy!! :) Cool exercise! I love reading everyone's sentences.

I had to rewrite a couple of them that had to do with birthing canals in the pelvic bone, a nerve in our actual tail bone (a tail, seriously) that is senitive to twosie consistency, and vacuums that can temporarily make a baby's head cone-shaped during birth. I learned these today in my physical anthropology class. Many of you know my medical squeamishness. That class is brutal.

So, we'll change it to something not so scary. Um. She woke up an hour before her alarm went off, not a great start.

Genene said...

Geez, Wavy, you come back and make us work. It's good to have you back, by the way.

Now, to come up with a sentence. How about this: She woke up with five males -- all of them with four paws and a tail.

Yep, that's my life lately. But I also have a couple girl doggies. It's so nice not to be the only female in the house!