Writing Exercise #1

I’m dusting off my fiction cap and hopping back into the saddle to pen some short stories again. Smart weightlifters stretch – smart writers call for the muse with a warm up writing exercise.

Today’s exercise is called “Page Number, Line Number, Start”. It goes like this:

First, pick a random book off your shelf (preferably fiction, though I’m sure you could do something creative with a non-fiction book also). Check to see what the last page number is, then pick any number between the first and last page number. Once you find your page, then choose a number between 1–5 and find the sentence that corresponds with that number (ie. number 2 would be the second sentence). Use that sentence as the first sentence of your prompt and write for ten minutes (or the time frame of your choosing).

Stephen King’s cinder-block sized novel The Stand is my choose of book. From page 426, sentence 3:

Why go to the trouble of stealing and killing and risking your life when everything you’d ever dreamed of having as you sat in the shithouse with a Sear’s catalogue in your lap was now available behind every shop window in America. Post-scarcity killed the outlaw. All the real ones, at least. In America, the money-well was evergreen. Mega security caused by that constant flow doused the flame of criminal passion that once blazed in bosoms from Seattle to Maine; Now, only the petty, short-sited and uninspired remained. Why rob a bank when a twenty five thousand dollar credit line was a phone call away? Why kill for gold when you know that Uncle Sam will never forget your monthly allowance? Cornelieus McThandius Von Turtledove never answered the question out loud, because why state the obvious. Theft in times of plenty was a spiritual expression of self-government. It was a way to stand above the swelling hordes of stinking tax-cattle.

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