Good Monday, my friends!
After a really long time… seriously, I can’t remember the last day we did this and that is only partly because of the memory lapses due to my advanced age :)… what was I saying?
Just kidding 🙂
It’s a Short & Sweet day!
And today we’re going to play Writer’s Taboo, a fun new game I just made up right this very minute!
Here’s how it works:
For your Short & Sweet you have to describe, in a few sentences, your choice of a setting common to childhood, or a common childhood experience or milestone (don’t worry, there’s a list!) without using the words most commonly associated with it! And you have to do it well enough that we can guess what it is!
That means you have to crawl out onto the creative limb a bit and stretch your descriptive skills.
As writers, we focus a lot on words – choosing just the right words to say what we want to say.
But sometimes we take the easy way out. We know, for example, that if we mention Valentine’s Day our readers are instantly going to think of pink and red construction paper hearts, white lace doilies, chocolate candy with red foil wrappers, and those little Conversation Hearts that look and taste like chalk 🙂 So we say it’s Valentine’s Day and leave it at that. (Okay, I’m oversimplifying a little, but you get the idea :))
The point is, don’t go for the obvious or the easy. Try for something a little fresher and more interesting. If you do it well, your reader will feel transported and far more delighted than if you say something the same way it’s been said a thousand times before.
Here are your choices:
(for those of you who like randomness or have trouble making decisions at this hour Monday morning, pick a number between 1 and 15 and go with whatever you get :))
You may not use the words of the thing itself (e.g. birthday and/or party for Birthday Party) or any of the 5 words listed after it in your description. And I recommend you write your own description before you read the others in the comments – there are only 15 choices so it will be fun to see how alike or different they are but it will be really hard to do if you’ve read someone else’s before you try to do your own. Just write your description – don’t tell which one you picked or what words you’re avoiding.
1. Birthday Party: cake, present, balloon, candles, guests
2. Losing First Tooth: wiggle, loose, tongue, gap, pillow
3. Playground: swing, slide, sandbox, jungle gym, run
4. Picnic: basket, blanket, ants, lunch, grass
5. Doctor’s Office: nurse, scale, needle, stethoscope, thermometer
6. Fourth Of July: firecrackers, barbecue, parade, bonfire, American flag
7. Getting Dressed Up: tight, itchy, hate, uncomfortable, stiff
8. School: book, teacher, classroom, recess, pencil
9. Tree House: ladder, rope, high, trap door, boards
10. Camp: summer, poison ivy, bunkhouse, swimming, arts & crafts
11. Riding A Bike: learn, wobble, two-wheeler, helmet, training wheels
12. Field Trip: bus, partner, bag lunch, museum, walk
13. Halloween: costume, jack o’lantern, spooky, candy, trick-or-treat
14. Getting A Pet: new, dog, cat, bowl, responsibility
15. Fear Of The Dark: scared, monsters, nightlight, shadows, black
(If anyone has a great idea of an item to add to the list, email me and I’ll add it in so there are more choices – and of course I will credit whoever’s brilliant idea it is!! :))
Here’s an example. I’ll use an item that is not on the list so as not to ruin any of the 15 on the list for you.
The classroom smells like sugar and worry. On each desk sits a box, made in art last week. Ms. Rousseau, the art teacher, said we couldn’t use the usual colors and shapes to decorate – she said we had to think outside the box. Then she laughed at her own joke. I painted mine rose (so there, Ms. Rousseau!) and pasted arrows cut out of lacy white doilies all over it, flying every which way, all of them missing the mark. The boxes have a hole in the top so that kids can drop cards or small candies in. I sneak a look around the classroom. Dave Hannigan stuffs a football into the hole on top of his box and looks like he’s getting ready to punt. Missy O’Haus’s is so full that little folded cards are spilling out the top. Be Mine, says one with a cherry tootsie pop taped to it. I’m afraid to pick my box up. It looks empty. What if it’s empty? Whose idea was this dumb February 14th holiday anyway?
Gosh! It’s surprising how hard it is to talk about something without using the words you most want to! But the idea is that it makes you reach for more – different sights, scents, sounds, tastes, emotions, experiences, and descriptions so you can hopefully come up with details you might not have otherwise. Can you guess what mine was? (And I will tell you I avoided the words red, pink, chocolate, heart, love. Can you hear me sobbing that I wasn’t allowed to mention chocolate? Oh, the cruelty! :))
I think it’s fun (even if I don’t do it all that well) – but then you know how much I love games and puzzles and this is sort of like that 🙂
I hope you all enjoy trying this! I can’t wait to read your descriptions and see what you come up with to beat around the bush! 🙂 Remember, don’t tell which one you’re doing or what words you’re avoiding! And actually, if you’re not up for the full challenge, if you even just want to write a setting/milestone/experience and the 5 things you can’t use to describe it (as I did for the list above), that is helpful too – it gets you thinking about what the most obvious choices are, which is helpful in trying to avoid them!
Looking forward to what you all have to share, whether list items or creative descriptions!
Have a great day, both writing and otherwise! 🙂