Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Limited vocabulary (writing exercise)

I had an idea yesterday (don't all laugh at once!) and I thought I'd share it with you.  It's a poetry writing exercise you can try which really makes you focus.

Find a longish word with a range of different letters (ideally with a couple of vowels) and then make as many words from the letters you have.  When you are ready write a poem using these words you have made.  Depending on the original word you may need to add a few extra letters after you have completed your list.  I'd suggest an extra vowel or two and two conjunctions (joining words) if you don't have enough already.  There is no time limit to this exercise and it might be as well to do it in two/three sessions.  If you find the original word you choose doesn't produce enough letters to make many words, choose another.  You quickly find out if it's not working.

Here is the outcome of my try at this.  The word I used was THUNDERSTORMS and I added 'a' as an extra vowel and my two joining words were 'in' and 'of''.  These extras can be used as many times as you like and the rest of the words once unless they are conjunctions. You don't have to use all your words!  Here is my poem:


To the north, thunder
more a dust in morse,
then dense,
tone, a rude retort
thrust out, then a rest,
a stem, of sorts, on route
to some end.
Under the red rust sun
morn stuns, stands,
struts her hot house
to the south
to smother the storm.

What stood out for me was the words I made eched the original word creating atmosphere. They ring together.  You may not write a prize winning poem but it's a real challenge and great fun to do.  Have a go - post your poem here with the original word and any 'extras' you used.

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