Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Picking Up Raven's Wordzzle Challenge

Bouncing around blog land, I came across Raven's blog and her weekly meme, "Wordzzle" challenge. It sounded like an easy enough thing to do so I picked up the glove and self tagged. I don't promise to keep this up weekly as I don't know how much I'll enjoy it. Or how much time I'll have later on. Until then, here's the skinny on the Wordzzle.

It's week 16 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.
The woman who started this is Raven. What she does is give us a bunch of random words and phrases to make into a SHORT paragraph. It's great fun and a good challenge for your creativity.

The words for this week's
ten word challenge were: spaghetti, larkspur, Prilosec, roaring lion, adamant, green green grass of home, paradox, filibuster, face cream, trout fishing And for the Mini Challenge (designed after a request for fewer words): jury of ones peers, barking dog, a wing and a prayer, liver, sprained ankle.

Raven put some guidelines up on week two to help handle things:
1) If there is a word or phrase which seem like the most difficult to use, try to get it out of the way first.

2) Sometimes especially outrageous words can be turned into the name of a character, e.g. given the words Bambi and bonanza on one occasion, I created a character named Bambi Bonanza, thus eliminating two really hard to use words in one easy stroke. Try to keep the names plausible, though. Nothing like teddy bear toothbrush. That's just cheating.

3) If you come across a word whose meaning you don't know or can't quite remember, there are a number of solutions. One very simple one is to have a character tell you that they don't know what it means. Make it part of the title of a book. Put it on a flag or poster. If you think you can get away with it, use it to name the cat or dog, a company or a castle.

4) Let your imagination play. It is not necessary to write the Great American Paragraph, to be profound, to make perfect logical sense or to write with total scientific or historic accuracy. The idea is to have a good time and to stimulate your creativity.

5) Don't work too hard. I seldom spend more than 20-30 minutes on these exercises. But it's up to you. If you want to spend time crafting a masterpiece why not? As long as you enjoy the process. If you aren't enjoying it then it is probably doing your creative juices more harm than good and you might want to find another way to entertain yourself.

That's about all the hints I can offer. This is an art, not a science, a game, not a chore.

So here's my effort on the Ten Word Challenge:

Trying to deny the existence of her Prilosec headache, Samantha decided to go ahead with the longer but delicious version of her grandmother's spaghetti sauce for the gathering of friends she was hosting. She didn't really feel like cooking this evening. Lord knows it was hot enough, but if she didn't start on the sauce tonight there wouldn't be time to complete the rest of the menu tomorrow. In the back yard she could hear her husband giving their son, Jason, his fly casting lessons in preparation for the planned trout fishing trip to the rivers of North Carolina. She was looking forward to the trip and spending time with her childhood friend Joann and others from school. She didn't know if there'd be much to talk about. The flat lands and distances of the great plains had definitely taken their toll on her life. Living under the unshaded sun of their Oklahoma ranch she felt like she'd become as aged and uninteresting as the crumbling bank of the dead creek that was just a stepping stone away from their back fence and the reason for John's being adamant on a fishing trip. He wanted their son to be able to see mountains and know the joy of bringing in a fighting demon before he headed off to law school. Yes, the green, green grass of home was definitely calling her. "Why did I even put up a fight?" she asked herself. Then she remembered their "discussion" on where to stay. John had wanted to camp along the rivers while she wanted to stay in a nice bed and breakfast in town. "How could I have forgotten?" she wondered. The argument had lasted for days. John knew she didn't like camping. Laughing, she remembered how she'd almost called off the wedding when he suggested it for their honeymoon. But the paradox created by their at odds vacation expectations had defeated him till he agreed that she needn't accompany the men on their overnight treks. It bothered her, not doing things together as a family should. With the scent of dried mown lawn and larkspur on the evening breeze aggravating her headache she pushed her worry down as she gathered her ingredients. Knowing she'd be up late till the sauce completed its 5 hour cooking process, she figured if she didn't get rid of the headache it would be so bad by the time she got to bed that she would have to sleep in another room so that her crying didn't disturb John. Hating that she did so, Samantha downed a hydrocodone in the hopes that the drug would create a filibuster in her system preventing the headache's progression to migraine status. And it was finally working when Jason and John came racing in hollering about the upcoming storm which was blowing in. She could hear the wind coming growling through the sparse trees like a roaring lion. The change in weather hadn't dimmed their excitement at Jason's putting the training fly in the target ring seven times in a row. She congratulated her men and reminded them it was almost dinner time. That being done she got back to her sauce which had now taken on the consistency of lumpy face cream, meaning she needed to add more water to the pot.

Ok, that wasn't a quick exercise. Hopefully I'll get faster if I practice. And it actually feels like more of a story than a paragraph. It seems to want breaking up at several points. Considering the length of time it took me to do the 10 word challenge I understand the request for the mini challenge. If I do this again I may tackle the mini instead. In fact it may be a requirement that I do the mini instead. See that list below? They looked good until I tried to use my dictionary to find out one of their meanings. It wasn't in there. It wasn't on the Oxford web site either. So can anyone tell me please, "What does prenomial mean?"

Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: prenomial, inexplicable, tangerine, masks, chocolate cake, panorama, librarian, Stonehenge, meek, florid

And for the Mini Challenge: vituperative, bunny rabbit, house warming, sanitation, triangular

Since my group shares memes and of course, we write a lot, I'd like to invite Paschal, JS, San, Sandi, and Anne to join in.


Sandi McBride said...

Well done Lee, I think it held together very well and seemed a good story...I believe that is what it is supposed to do. I'm not sure, but I believe that a prenomial is like a first name, or what you are known by...not sure, but will ask "The Editor" when he arrives to see if I'm on the right track...but I think it is that...

Lee said...

Thanks, Sandi. In some ways this reminds me of one of the exercises that we did on poetry night at JS's place before she and wife moved to VT. I guess that the number of words you have to use and the purpose you put them too makes a difference. We had 3 words, or was it 4, and a theme to use on poetry night. It went really quickly. And it was fun, sometimes hilarious, to hear what we came up with. So I can see how this type of exercise would be helpful and fun.

I take it the Editor is Mac?


murat11 said...

Sounds like mucho fun, Lee. Just time for a quick mini right now:

"That was one hell of a vituperative bunny rabbit you hauled over for my house warming, Marge. Though I did find his sanitation decidedly triangular."

Speaking of damn fine, that was one damn fine prenomial paragraph you tossed off for the Big Wordzzle. Keep it up: stay with the Big Show. I liked your description of the dead creek. Lots of cool details, and an excellent use of filibuster.

Lee said...

LOL That's some slick sentencing, Paschal. We need to keep this going. If you check out Raven's post and do your own post linked I believe she is sometimes accepting suggestions for what words to use. :) Might be fun!

Thanks for the nice compliment. You say the nicest things when I least expect it. I'm glad you liked my nonstandard usage of words. I have to say that in this case the words drove the story. One at a time they teased and laughed as they teased me down a wandering path, till I finally found them all at rest in the closing of the final quest.


murat11 said...

I took the plunge on next week's challenge. Great way to keep the surrealist juices flowing. Ciao.

Lee said...

Awesome, Paschal! I'm headed your way! :)


Akelamalu said...

Welcome to wordzzles and what a great job you did with your first attempt.

If you join in regularly you'll soon be doing the 10 word, the mini and a megawordzzle!

Lee said...

Thank you, Akelamalu! It's so nice to hear from someone more experienced in this. I saw that Raven did combined wordzzles. Hopefully that will come to me sooner rather than later.

I wonder if anyone does this type of thing with poetry.


david mcmahon said...

I think I checked out Raven's site recently. Sounds like a terrific challenge.

Lee said...

Absolutely, David! It forces you into write mode and makes you get practical about using what you have. It also forces your imagination into channels it wouldn't have gone on its own. :)


San said...

Beautiful work, Lee. I have a real feel for this character you're created from a few random words. Just don't ask me to eat her spaghetti sauce.

Thanks for the invitation. We'll see...

Lee said...

Thanks, San! I hadn't realized it would happen like that. I thought it took planning. This just sort of fell out of me as the words drove the writing. I bet there are people out there who do organize intensely, but this feels like the way I do college papers. Gather facts, stack them in order of presentation, and then just type. The only things missing here was the organization.

As to the invitation, I think you'd be great at this. You already write beautifully, and as an artist you sometimes use what you have to make something unexpected. Go for it, Girl!


Dianne said...

Hi there!

I was googling 'prenomial' for this weeks Wordzzle and you came right up!

I love that.

I've been doing the Wordzzle from the beginning and really enjoy it and I'm thrilled that more people are trying it out.

Make sure to put yourself on Raven's Mr. Linky so that all the others can find your story.

I really enjoyed reading this one.

Nice to meet ya :)

Raven said...

Hi Lee! Welcome to Wordzzles. Sorry I missed your post until today. This is a great job. I hope you'll participate again. Prenomial was a contribution from one of the other participants. As far as I can tell (though Merriam Webster on-line didn't list it), a pre-nomial is an honorary title that people sometimes put in front of their names.

I'm going to post my exercises for this week in an hour or so. I used that word by saying "What the hell does that mean." Sometimes that's about all you can do.

But anyway, so nice to have you participating. My apologies for being so late to discover your post.

Lee said...

Hi Diane,
Thanks so much for coming by and reading my first effort! I'm glad you liked it. I think I managed to get my site on Linky but it was after the story and comment. So I only hope it worked.

Nice to meet you too!


Lee said...

Welcome to my place, Raven! I'm so glad you dropped in! No need to apologize, I did the whole thing out of sync. I'm just glad things fell into place.

Yeah, I was looking on the web for prenomial too. I think you're right on its meaning. It weird though. I couldn't find it in the dictionary but there were some examples of what it meant that were clear enough. It's almost like its a new word that hasn't had time to fit into standard usage.

I'm looking forward to the next one. We'll see how it goes. I'm glad I found the wordzzle too. It and your followers are helping me explore all kinds of interesting places. :)

Hope to see you again soon!


david mcmahon said...

Prenomial? Say what? You always put a smile on my face, Lee!

Lee said...

LOL Glad to be the source of joy, David!

Getting a new used computer. Gonna be better than the one I've got. Can't wait to start setting it up.


Jeff B said...

I think you get the award for the most creative use of the word filibuster. Well done.

I have only been on board with Wordzzle's for a few weeks now, and I look forward to them each week. Kind of like the slogan for Pringles chips, "Once you pop, you just can't stop!"

Hope you'll continue to share your talented writing with us.

Lee said...

Thanks Jeff! And thanks for popping in. I do intend to keep on at it. They're fun. But boy, I sure hope I get faster at them. :)


david mcmahon said...

... and don't forget to sy G'day to your Dad from me.

Lee said...

That's a promise, David! I'm seeing him on Saturday.


Fletch said...

Raven has already 'uncovered' pre-nomial, hyphenation 'n' all.

Some examples are:

I think the one that takes the biscuit is 'Mister', a pre-nomial that some top surgeons adopt!

BTW, loved the 'Wordzzle' effort. Haven't visited your site as frequently as I should have in the recent past (been a bit busy with other sites - you know what I mean), but will try and make up for it.

Lee said...

Ah, the title "Mister". It can be used in so many ways and not all of them terms of respect. :)

Thank you for the good examples and even more for the kind words. It's great when you have time to visit. Please don't hesitate to stop by, any time day or night. (g)