A Smackdown Writing Exercise from Halle Butler
For a second, think about something or someone you really, really don’t like (SUVs, your boss, someone you envy, people who don’t recycle, etc.). It should be your hardest-held and most sanctimonious opinion. Write something where you and your opinion get a huge victory. Like staircase wit, but if it happened during the conversation. A true smackdown, where you and everything you think are totally right. This will be fun, and you should write it really fast.
Then, immediately after the victory, have something really really awful happen to you. Punish yourself for your smugness and your fleeting, misplaced happiness. Oh you really liked yelling at that person, didn’t you? You really made them feel small, didn’t you? I bet you think you’re pretty smart and cool, huh? Now you’re going to get fired, or rejected, or physically injured in some way–or whatever you think is the worst. This will also be fun. Word count-wise, it should be twice as long as the victory.
While you’re writing, try to imagine both the victory and punishment as meaningless.
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