Starting with Dialogue

"Wedding Gift" by Julian Wylegly
If you've ever been to TWINE, you know we're big fans of writing prompts. Prompts are pictures, lines of text, or even lists of items that somehow suggest a story. They can get you moving again when you're stuck, and they can be a great daily warm-up exercise that works with your subconscious to create new and surprising creative ideas!

Heather Wright has some excellent writing prompts at her blog and in her book Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens, including using just a snippet of dialogue to suggest an entire scene or story.

Give this one a try:

Character 1: "I can't believe he gave that to her."

Character 2: "I can't believe she took it."

What do you think is going on here? Write for ten minutes, continuing the dialogue, or incorporating it into a scene that tells us more about who's speaking, who they're talking about, and what the mysterious "it" is! Share your writing by emailing it to us at twine(dot)scld@gmail.com.

Seven Line Story Structure

"Sete" by Eurritimia

 









Here's a fun structure exercise we did at the last meeting of TWINE, courtesy of Andrew McMasters of Jet City Improv in Seattle. Try breaking down a story you already know (fairy tales are great for this) into the seven lines below. The seven line story exercise shows you how stories are made up of a beginning, an escalating series of events and consequences, and an ending. Try it as a brainstorming exercise, or use it for a story you're already writing.

1. Once upon a time...
2. And every day...
3. Until one day...
4. And because of this...
5. And because of this...
6. Until finally...
7. And ever since then...

Eavesdropping on TWINE


Erin used this photo and painting (from Girls Standing on Lawns) as the inspiration for her timed-writing piece, "Eavesdropper."

 
"Alicia is a very quiet girl. If you don't see Alicia, you might not even know she is there. But do not get me wrong, she is very intelligent. She might even have one of the sharper minds in the class. And she is so well dressed! Every day in her little white dress those adorable socks and sweet little brown shoes. However, I'm sorry to say she is just so quiet her class participation is little to none. Has she always been so shy?"
 
Alicia stared at the large wooden door in front of her, little white dress flapping in the breeze. Slowly she put her hand on the schoolhouse door, wondering if she should go in, wondering if she should tell her parents and Mrs. Hillis she had heard everything.
 
"No, actually. She can be quite loud at home if she wishes." Her mother's voices was actually surprised. "If she's quiet at school, she must have some sort of reason."
 
Alicia decided against it. Removing her hand from the door knob, she once again froze in a position as still as a statue.
 
Sometimes being quiet had its advantages.

 


Why Are You Standing There?

Who are these girls and why are they standing on the lawn?

This month we're taking our inspiration from an artsy new book by the same duo who wrote and illustrated the fantastic YA novel, Why We Broke Up. Daniel Handler, of course, is better known as Lemony Snicket. Maira Kalman is an artist and illustrator who's done everything from children's picture books to album covers.

Girls Standing on Lawns was inspired by a handful of candid photographs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. Just girls, standing on lawns. But Handler and Kalman began to wonder, who were these girls? What were the stories behind the poses? Where did they live? And what do these pictures say about us, about changing fashions and the passing of time? What will our pictures say about us one day?

Try this writing exercise: grab a copy of Girls Standing on Lawns, browse through the library's photography books or dig through your old family photos and find an image of a person that intrigues you. Then set the timer and write for ten minutes. Who is this person? What year do you think the picture was taken? What are they wearing and why? What do they like or dislike? Where are they going next after this picture is taken? Send us what you come up with (and a scan of the photo you picked) and we'll post it here on the blog!

More love letters

"Incredible scenery on the road in Banff National Park" by Alaskan Dude
















Last week we posted about the Love Letter Project, a project where you pen and post your own letter of encouragement to someone who is going through something you've gone through. Here's another love letter, from TWINE member Licia!

Reaching Your Goals

It's a long walk from here to there,
and the light is growing dim.
This road stretches on for endless miles,
and my patience is wearing thin.
He doesn't understand,
and I fear he never will.
If I can make it to the top,
it might just make him see.
The mountain so far off
is inviting, yet scary all the same.
Filled with my sadness,
my pain,
and my hope,
if I can get there they'll all believe.
All of us have been through something. It could be something major, like watching your parents go through a divorce, or having someone you love die. It could be something so personal no one around you even knows you're struggling with it, like depression or sexual orientation. Or it could be something as seemingly minor (yet weirdly challenging) as getting sick the weekend of prom, or being completely unable to parallel park. The point is, you've probably been through a challenge or two and come out stronger.

The Love Letter Project invites you to share your experience and help someone going through the same thing by writing a letter of encouragement - a love letter, if you will. Inspired by the Love Letter Project, TWINE penned a few love letters of our own and we'll be sharing ours here over the next few days, starting with "Dear Depressed Teenager," by Anonymous.

"Dear Depressed Teenager,

I know it's hard. Trust me, I get it. I went through probably exactly what you're going through. I know, I don't know you personally. But you are extraordinary. You are unique. You have strengths and weaknesses and fears, just like the rest of us. Every battle you overcome, every move you make, builds your character and makes you more spectacular.

I believe in you. I truly do. I know it seems odd, coming from a total stranger, but trust me on this one: you do not want to miss out on life. You have a purpose, whether it be to explore space or to raise a child, YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON! You have come so far already, please don't give up now.

Imagine your life as a wheel, an ever-spinning, infinite wheel of events and possibilities. Whatever you are going through now is a minuscule bump. You have SO many great things ahead of you.

Look around you. Look at the birds, the threes, this wonderful earth. I don't know what happens after you die, but surely it isn't better than this.

YOU CAN DO IT!

Love,
Anonymous"

Poets unite!


April is National Poetry Month and TWINE waxes poetic with activities inspired by the words of Sherman Alexie, Emily Dickinson, Raymond Carver and more! Don't worry if you're not a big poetry fan -- you can have never written a word of poetry and still enjoy the April meeting.

If you were at last month's meeting and submitted writing and are wondering WHY it hasn't shown up on the blog, rest assured it will be posted in the next few days.

And, if you prefer to follow TWINE online, here's your homework for the month: browse through some books of poetry or find some poems online. Find one that you particularly like and then think about why. What images do you see when you read the poem? What words does the poet use that are particularly effective in creating a mood? What is the poem "saying"? Write your responses and include the poem that inspired you and send it to twine(dot)scld@blogspot(dot)com.