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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Unmagnetic Prosetry

While I was planning the writing workshop at my local library I had the idea of doing something like magnetic poetry, but using the opening 300 words from some of my favorite short stories and novels. I didn’t tell my participants which story the words had come from until they’d reconfigured them into something totally different. I just love the idea of using the exact same words to make an entirely new story. Ah, the magic of language!

Here’s the one I did:


I was hampered slightly by the words I didn’t have (all right, so I cheated a little), but I was still pretty tickled with how it turned out. Can you guess whose words I rearranged?


Jedediah Berry! (Now when is that man coming out with a new novel?!)

It’s a little labor intensive (I used a tiny rotary cutter to cut up the words), but I still think this is a great way to loosen yourself up–and once you have the words in a Ziploc bag you can take them out and make something new whenever you like.

3 Comments to Unmagnetic Prosetry

  1. May 14, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I found this exercise quite enjoyable, despite the challenge it posed. That was nicely put together.

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    May 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    So what were some of the rearrangements? Very good teaching idea!

  3. May 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I may share some others, if the writers are cool with it…

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.