In my last bunch of ramblings I told you about a cute little site I’d stumbled upon while taking a sneaky break from doing any serious work on my laptop. You’ll recall I’d been chundering on about doodling in notebooks and on scraps of paper while waiting for inspiration to strike?
I’m not enough of a Luddite to boost the virtues of pen and pencil (I nearly said quill), or the dear old steam typewriter over the modern miracle that is the computer, but you must admit it doesn’t exactly lend itself to the ancient and noble art of the doodle. I used to be a great fan of doodling you know. For those unfamiliar with the term I mean the process of filling jotters, or the margins of books, or any available scrap of paper with meaningless nonsense while we waited for writers’ block to depart and the muse to return.
Nowadays, I said, the computer had virtually consigned doodling to the dustbin of history. We’ve had to replace it with something. We simply couldn’t keep staring at a blank screen for ever. The answer, of course, is both simple and inevitable. When our writer’s eye begins to glaze over and that elusive next sentence stubbornly refuses to materialise – we take a crafty peek at what’s going on in the dreaded World Wide Web.
It’s no use arguing. You might as well confess. We’ve all done it. Call it research if it salves your conscience. Call it simply pinching a couple of minutes off to clear your head and recharge your batteries. Call it getting one over on the Boss. Whatever the excuse, we’ve all been guilty at one time or other – so you might as well admit it.
I do it quite often, but I’m my own boss these days so I suppose you’re going to tell me that doesn’t count. Whatever. As I mention in my last blog I stumbled upon a little site I found absolutely intriguing. The more discerning among you will know that I run a little 55-word story competition on my site. It’s had moderate success and is proving popular. It’s also a neat way of boiling a story down to the bare bones, which is a useful exercise for any writer. It’s not my own idea. I borrowed it from others and it’s been around for a while.
Imagine how I felt than when, on peeking into The Freelance Writers Connection, over on LinkedIn, I discovered they were running a contest to tell a story in – wait for it – just six words!
Strewth! It’s difficult enough to spin a yarn in 55 words, reducing it to just six is stretching things a bit far. Drop into the site and take a look for yourself, there’s some quite interesting stuff to explore. But only SIX WORDS to tell a story. Naw! You budding novelists out there can rest easy.
I skimmed through a few of the entries. To be honest, you wouldn’t want to append your name to too many of them. There were, however, one or two little gems. In the end I decided it would be churlish not to leave them something.
In the end I wrote “Jesus wept. He had good reason.”