Writing Prompt 1

typed paragraph

5 sentence beginnings, 5 words

The challenge: combine five randomly-generated sentence beginnings and five random words into a coherent "paragraph."

The sentences:

  • She knew he was going to be murdered in a desert city...
  • The doctor was surprised by the visit...
  • The old woman was surprised by the message...
  • The countryman forgave the insult...
  • They heard a far shot in the dungeon...

  • The words:

  • old man
  • blood
  • cathedral
  • names
  • ring

  • The doctor was surprised by the visit: the old man stumbled through the clinic's back door, drunk as a purple skunk, screaming about those blasted Arabians and their hellish nights. The countryman forgave the insult and cast yet another annoyed glare at the city cathedral beyond the clinic's alley dumpster. He'd had enough of the local bigotry, but it wasn't as if he could go back home to the warm sands and cool nights. This was supposed to be his escape.

    She knew he was going to be murdered in a desert city, had said so as soon as she slid the ring over his finger in the Las Vegas drivethrough--that's why he'd insisted they move to the most water-rich valley in the country. The old woman was surprised by the message herself, blood rushing to her cheeks as she clamped her mouth shut in the passenger's seat. (He didn't mind her blush--it made her look even more beautiful to his own purple-skunk-drunk vision.)

    If he'd found his love while so thoroughly plastered, he wondered if this mind would find someone soon, too. The doctor looked deep into the old man's eyes but didn't see the familiar madness he expected.

    Suddenly, the man latched onto his wrists with an urgent mumble and dragged him out into the alley's wet darkness, down the cathedral's back steps, and through a thick monestery door. First thing, they heard a shot in the far corner of the dungeon; deep in the dank darkness, sparks scattered across the cold stone walls and revealed names he'd wished to never see again.

    It seemed like the impossible task at first: combine blandly-structured, unrelated sentences into a coherent whole. I'm not sure mine was entirely coherent, but with time and effort, it could be something intriguing. Maybe I'll get back to it when all my current projects are done.

    On the way home, a few other things struck me, and I thought I'd share those, as well. They're part of my effort to improve descriptions.

    Feel free to tweet reactions to me or post them on my Facebook page!

    The biker's black silhouette in the bejeweled night, armpits and elbows outlined against the sodium-lit pavement, torse swimming in and out of the bridge's black view.


    The top deck of the parking garage hung between the two buildings like a maglev hammock--and like the perfect hammock, had food on one side and living space on the other.


    The red beacon blinks so close: straight ahead not a half mile. Guide me home, beacon.

    I swerve with the highway, twisting around this knot of civilization. A few more miles. Guide me home, beacon.

    At last: the tower.