I got this writing exercise from one of my mentors, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, at a workshop I did a few years back. I found it very instructive. It's simple to explain, and much harder to do.
The concept is simple enough.
I've also included links to the original books in the examples, if you'd like to get a copy. These are affiliate links, so I get a small percentage from purchases, which I really appreciate.
As you study the results and compare your work with the original work, consider some of these questions. You may want to write your thoughts down, if that helps.
Check back. I'll add more examples for you to try in the future. If you want to learn when I've added more, or added other information to the site, sign up for Readinary, my email newsletter.
the rioting is finally over and the fires have burned out washington dc is a blackened ruin and so are the west and south sides of chicago pittsburgh newark hartford and trenton have all suffered serious damage so have many other cities jimmy and i drive the green oldsmobile that belonged to henrys church and listen to the news we hardly speak to each other any more there isnt much to say martin luther king jr is dead assassinated in our home town in our neighborhood and both jimmy and i played small roles in his death inadvertent roles of course but roles nonetheless
The rioting is finally over, and the fires have burned out. Washington, D.C., is a blackened ruin, and so are the west and south sides of Chicago. Pittsburgh, Newark, Hartford, and Trenton have all suffered serious damage. So have many other major cities.
Jimmy and I drive the green Oldsmobile that belonged to Henry's church and listen to the news. We hardly speak to each other any more. There isn't much to say. Martin Luther King, Jr., is dead, assassinated in our home town, in our neighborhood, and both Jimmy and I played small roles in his death. Inadvertent roles, of course, but roles nonetheless.
I remember reading A Dangerous Road and thinking that, "I wish I could write a book this good."
Kris Nelscott wrote a mystery set against a time of protest and progress in America, opening following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. It's not the sort of book that I am likely to write. At least right now. I write mysteries, just not historical mysteries. My Moreau Society series is science fiction. My C. Auguste Dupin mysteries are cozy stories with a cat as the detective. I might write historical mysteries someday. If I do, I'd love to write something so amazing.
thomas decker was half an hour from home when whisperer stopped him in his tracks decker said whisperer speaking inside deckers mind decker now ill get you this time i will get you decker swiveled about on the game trail he had been following his rifle raised held away from his body ready to snap to his shoulder against the first sign of danger there was nothing in sight nothing stirring the heavy growth of trees and brush came down close against the trail on either side it all hung motionless there was not the slightest breeze, no flicker of a bird there was absolutely nothing everything was frozen as if eternity had clamped down decker
Thomas Decker was half an hour from home when Whisperer stopped him in his tracks.
—Decker, said Whisperer, speaking inside Decker's mind. Decker, now I'll get you. This time I will get you.
Decker swiveled about on the game trail he had been following, his rifle raised, held away from his body, ready to snap to his shoulder against the first sign of danger.
There was nothing in sight, nothing stirring. The heavy growth of trees and brush came down close against the trail on either side. It all hung motionless. There was not the slightest breeze, no flicker of a bird. There was absolutely nothing. Everything was frozen, as if eternity had clamped down.
"Robot believers at the far end of the galaxy endeavor to create a true religion, but their efforts could be shattered by a shocking revelation.
Project Pope highlights many of the themes and concepts found in Simak's work. I reread this book not all that long ago and enjoyed revisiting the characters and the questions raised by this story.
he heard its purring growl he smelled its sweet carrion breath tad trenton clapped his hands to his eyes hitched in breath and screamed a muttered exclamation in another room his father a scared cry of what was that from the same room his mother their footfalls running as they came in he peered through his fingers and saw it there in the closet snarling promising dreadfully that they might come but they would surely go and that when they did the light went on vic and donna trenton came to his bed exchanging a look of concern over his chalky face and his staring eyes and his mother said no snapped i told you three hot dogs was too many vic and then his daddy was on the bed daddys arm around his back asking him what was wrong tad dared to look into the mouth of his closet again the monster was gone instead of whatever hungry beast he had seen there were two uneven piles of blankets winter bedclothes which donna had not yet gotten around to taking up to the cut off third floor
He heard its purring growl; he smelled its sweet carrion breath.
Tad Trenton clapped his hands to his eyes, hitched in breath, and screamed.
A muttered exclamation in another room—his father.
A scared cry of "What was that?" from the same room—his mother.
Their footfalls, running. As they came in, he peered through his fingers and saw it there in the closet, snarling, promising dreadfully that they might come, but they would surely go, and that when they did—
The light went on. Vic and Donna Trenton came to his bed, exchanging a look of concern over his chalky face and his staring eyes, and his mother said—no, snapped, "I told you three hot dogs was too many, Vic!"
And then his daddy was on the bed, Daddy's arm around his back, asking him what was wrong.
Tad dared to look into the mouth of the closet again.
The monster was gone. Instead of whatever hungry beast he had seen, there were two uneven piles of blankets, winter bedclothes which Donna had not yet gotten around to taking up to the cut-off third floor.
I love Stephen King's work. I've gone back and reread his books. In Cujo, King creates a character, a monster, that sticks in popular culture alongside other horror movie creatures. The book shows off King's talents for creating characters and intense situations. It isn't the easiest book to read, it hits a bunch of triggers for me as a parent and as a pet-owner. It's also hard to put down, hard to get away from once you've started reading.
Ryan M. Williams lives a double life as a full-time career librarian and a multi-genre writer with over twenty books. He writes across a range of genres including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, mystery, horror, and romance. He earned a Master of Arts degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose University. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publish, and in On Spec Magazine.