Last night at Men's Bible Study, Tim confessed to having some troubles sticking with his writing discipline, a difficulty that several of us shared. He listed as one of his goals to write and post once per week a fiction project of some kind. We discussed some of the ways to organize and spur that, one suggestion being the launch of (yet another) blog.
While I'm not yet prepared to launch another blog, I find myself sharing Tim's frustrations with my literary output lately. Luckily, Men's Bible Study last night also furnished me with a solution to my writing dry-spell. All of the rest of the guys were going on and on about fantasy football (second only to commodity trading in snore-factor for me). But while they were considering dozens of names of random players from various NFL teams, spouting stats and rankings for their fantasy teams, my imagination caught a hold of something and a chunk of a short-story popped into my head. I'll be working on that with whatever free time permitted me in the next week, free time after that becoming only a fantasy in itself (with little Sarah on her way).
So, based on all this, I hereby propose a writing challenge. Spend a day listening and observing for a provocative hook that happens around you. Perhaps it's a blog article you have read, a conversation overheard, a TV commercial, an irritating work project, a road-rage episode, anything. Take from it a theme that infuriates or fascinates you, and then press that theme to its edges using either the technology of science fiction or the magic of fantasy to explore it imaginatively.
Here's my example.
The ridiculousness of fantasy football blew my mind: first you take a long LONG lists of stats of individual players and choose a set of them. Then you watch their performance numbers game by game during a season and trade them around like coffee beans in commodity markets. This fascinated me as an organizing principle. What if our knowledge and labor economy worked this way? What if armies were organized like this? What if technology could "stat-out" people according to work performance or combat capability, and then manage them like a billion independent free-agents like a giant stock market? I'll be writing, using science fiction and the industrial engineering concept of "Just in Time", a day-in-the-life story just to see what that would be like. Who knows if I'll get anywhere, but it sparked me enough that I have written 400 words of brainstorms, background, and scene possibilities this morning. I'll have some prose to post soon...