Saturday, February 19, 2011

Even Twitter Can't Stop the Rambler In Me

A few days ago, I noticed this trending topic on Twitter: #sixwordnovels.

I couldn't refrain from jumping on a literary TT, so I tweeted this:
Girls die out. Boys attempt survival.
I volunteer with an organization called Girls Write Now, where they pair a professional female writer as a mentor to a teen female writer from an under-served NYC school. A few hours after I tweeted the above, I was meeting with my mentee and we were talking about genre-writing. In particular, we were doing an exercise where we both tried writing a scene that could be classified as either horror or suspense.

For some reason, my six word novel was nagging at me, so I decided to go with it and flesh it out a bit. Here's what I wrote:

"They're dead. All of them." Henry spoke in a dull voice, as if he didn't even care. As if this wasn't the end of the human race.

"What should we do now?" I asked. I was sweating and the spear I held kept sliding through my grip.

"Live. I guess." Henry shrugged. "Until we die. And die out." He held his rifle confidently. He didn't look at me as we talked, choosing instead to stare out at the thrashing sea. Unlike us, it wasn't going anywhere.

"Do we tell the others?" I asked. I couldn't help it. I had no answers, and Henry always seemed to. Whether they were the correct responses, the right ones, I couldn't tell. But still, they were better than none.

"Don't see the point in lying," Henry said.

I frowned. He was probably right. But what would the other guys do once they found out that they were all gone? Every single female of the species was either drowned at the bottom of the sea or lay decaying with its sister corpses on the mass of land we had managed to escape from.

Escape. But what was the point? There was nowhere for any of us to go from here. And without the girls, nowhere for any of our kind. We were the last and the way things were going, it seemed likely we wouldn't survive each other anyhow.

I gripped my damp spear tighter.

It's probably a little too reminiscent of Lord of the Flies to ever go anywhere as is, but I had a lot of fun writing this. It's very, very different from anything I usually write and thinking about the elements of horror and suspense was a cool exercise for both of us, I think. Besides, exploring strange and new territory has always been my favorite part of writing anyhow!

P.S. Girls Write Now is a pretty great organization. Please check out their website if you're interested in learning more!

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