September 12, 2019

Alphabet Writing Exercise Gets The Juices Flowing

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

At writer’s group our moderator suggested we do a new writing exercise to get our creative juices flowing called simple, alphabet writing. It will make for a very challenging writing exercise, and I recommend having a dictionary and thesaurus near at hand.

Here’s how it goes. Begin writing by starting each sentence with a different letter of the alphabet. You must go in order, and remember it has to link from sentence to sentence to create a story. All 26 letters, from A to Z, must begin the first word in each of the first 26 sentences.

Talk about a challenge!

My friend and author, Michael Hicks Thompson, emailed me while I was writing this blog post and this was his story using the ABC Writing Exercise. You too can be creative, just like Michael.

“The Alphabet from A to Z in Cajun Country"

By Michael Hicks Thompson, author of The Rector and The Actress

“Abacus was his name. Because his parents, Pappy and Zita, were likely insane,” said Jewel, Zita’s sister. “Cajuns can’t hit a lick at naming a baby if theys life depended on it.

“Don’t look down on Pappy and Zita, though,” she continued, “’cause they had twelve babies, and Abacus was the last, so they tried they best, but they just run outta names and chose his from an ancient counting game, strange as that seems.

“Even they neighbors said they was nice folks. Friendly. Grateful. Hard workin’ folks always holding down two jobs each. It was me who taught Abacus about the world he would eventually inherit.”

“Jewel,” he used to ax me, “tell me, what’s the meaning of life?”

“Kinda like a journey,” I’d say, “a short one where you have to make the right choices to have a second life.”

“Like when I was a little boy, got into trouble at school, and told the principal it was my fault?”

“Most definitely just like that, Abacus.”

“Nobody was more scared than me, Aunt Jewel, but I learnt it pays to be honest.”

Opening the door to Pappy’s crab shack was Butra McAlfie, ‘plastic man’ we called him, ‘cause of all the wet weather gear he wore everywhere, even in the hot summa.

“Pappy,” he announced, “Yous in for a big treat. “Queen conch, got plenty of ’em today.”

“Regular price?”

“Sure, ’course.”

“Then put ’em in the freezer out back.”

“Unless you want ’dem conchs to fill up yo whole freezer, you best tell me how many you want.”

“Very well, you musta’ hit the honey pot.”

“World record for me. Xena helped, too, I must admit. You know what a tough woman she is.”

“Zita,” Pappy yelled, “get in here and let’s crack some ’o these queens open and cook us up some conch.””

Y’all can meet Michael and thirteen other talented authors on 9-14-19. You are invited to a Southern Writers Magazine event: 12 SOUTHERN AUTHORS AT COLLIERVILLE BURCH LIBRARY SEPTEMBER 14, 2:00-4:00 pm in Collierville, TN.

Have you tried your hand at Alphabet Writing? Ready, set, go!


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