Rules Of The Game
As a child, I looked forward to visiting Aunt Jan’s house. She had our family’s lone computer. My cousins and I played games. Far better than I, my thrill of experiencing something exotic gave way to disappointment of constantly losing. But they also had an old, manual typewriter. And my cousins couldn’t care less about it. On seeing those worn keys, an almost primal urge to write, something, anything, left me tingling. Eventually, Aunt Jan gave me that beat up old Royal.
Keys stuck, ribbons got so old I could hardly read words on notebook paper. But, I had power to create. I started with poetry, wrote stories, and other times pretended to write news stories. But, as with childhood things, I outgrew it. In time, my first computer arrived, and we gave college a whirl, then moved on with life. One day, opening boxes sealed for years, I found my old Royal.
And that long forgotten itch returned, bubbling up, raw and unfocused. But, I’d seldom written in school, and took no writing classes. Now. Who had time or money for classes. So, I wrote stories on some of those sites. When I struggled toward complex characters in exciting situations, I moved beyond readership’s primal needs.
In time I discovered WordPress, and later, Scribophile. Consumed with desire to be counted a serious writer, I confirmed my lack of formal writing education, and laid bare an entire raft of bad habits. Along the way, I realized how my limited vocabulary. And, in an age of instant access to information, I discovered lists of strong verbs. But who wants to sit and memorize.
Instead, I invented a game with simple rules.
1 . randomly select ten words from my strong verbs list.
2 . write a little story or vignette, working words into the narrative in the order drawn.
3 . Try to keep the stories under 500 words.
And I did.