642 things to write about

2 years, 3 months ago

The title is the name of a book i picked up on clearance at tjmax while Christmas shopping,

Here is the introduction:

this book was written in a single day. a single 24 hour period, with no advance notice. Nor was it our idea. An editor-friend of mine rang out of the blue and said, “Let’s do a book called 642 things to write about.”

My gut response was, “Great, but you don’t mean literally 642 things, right? you’re using 642 just to represent any big number, so it could be 238 things or 187 things-i mean, 642 things is going to be kind of impossible.”

“Okay, we could do a different number,” she said, then paused. “but i was thinking 642 things. literally.”

i was not going to tackle this alone. so the next morning, i emailed my office mates at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. There are thirty-five writers here, a warren maze of small offices and library-like carrels. my thought was that if we came up with more than a hundred writing ideas on the first day, then maybe this project could be real. i thought it would take a month.

people started emailing in ideas, in bunches. we had a hundred within an hour. five hundred by the end of the day, and the ideas kept flowing overnight. contributions came in from thirty-five different writers. at lunchtime the following day, i delivered the finished manuscript, in person, to our editor.

i tell this story because it’s a lesson in hidden potential. you never know what might happen. in a single day, if you hit the right nerve, you could have something-maybe it’s the start of something, maybe it’s the whole thing. and it doesn’t even have to begin with your own idea. you just have to get creative and plunge in.

you could use there 642 things literally, by picking an exercise and completing it. or you can just let them wash over you to stir up your creativity, to remind you that no, not everything has been written, not every good idea is already taken by someone else. there are infinite number of things one could write about and so many fresh directions for your story to go.

PO BRONSON
San Francisco Writer’s Grotto

December 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm

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Profile photo of Tine Tine (@tine) 2 years, 3 months ago ago

here is what i would like to do, as i go through the book myself, i’d like to post 3-4 statements and if all or any strike you, feel free to post your work of creativity here,

also, if you find you enjoy this process, i’d recommend the book, good buy

The format of the book is as follows:

There will be a random statement to write about || followed by the amount of notepad lines the book allows for each, for instance, “Tell a story that begins with a ransom note” || 25 Lines,

so you’d fill in at least 25 lines in your notepad, don’t let the number limit you though, its there more as a goal, if you feel the creativity flowing, do continue…

most of the statements are 7 – 10 Liners,

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Profile photo of yoinkie yoinkie C (@yoinkie) 2 years, 3 months ago ago

@tine, sounds like an awesome book and an awesome idea. Im so down. Feel free to post 3-4 ideas from the book today and ill be sure to pick a couple of them out and release the creativity.

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Profile photo of Tine Tine (@tine) 2 years, 3 months ago ago

WRITING 1:

– Tell a story that begins with a ransom note || 25 Lines

– Something you had that was stolen || 7 Lines

– The long-lost roommate || 7 Lines

– What a character holding a blue object is thinking right now || 7 Lines

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