20-minute ramble

It’s Writing 101 Day 1!  The challenge:

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.
Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.
And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

Here I goooooooooo!

It’s 5:10 pm right now. I’m supposed to freewrite for 20 minutes, so that means I’ll be writing until 5:30.

I’m at work. I’m done working, though, don’t worry. I was told to go home at 5 o’clock because there was nothing more to do for the day, so the only reason I’m here is because my work computer is a convenient interface for blogging.

I’m thinking about my short story, actually–how I should probably be using this time to edit and finish it, not to write down some inane steam-of-conciousness. I guess “anything I want” means I can work on the story, though, right?

Sooooo…let’s see. I need to figure out how a drunk person talks. They slur. If you write down the words properly, like this, it doesn’t look or read like slurring. But if you write it exactly how you think it would sound, it’s really difficult to make it understandable and not just sound like you’re writing in hillbilly.

For example, in my story, the dad says, “Hey, boy. What are you doing down here? Thought you might have decided to off yourself and saved me the trouble.”

That sounds way too coherent for a drunk person. But take the opposite extreme…”H’boy. ‘Reya doin downere? Tho’ ya might’a decided t’off y’self n’save me t’trouble.”

Too obnoxious. Happy medium, then.

“Hey, boy,” the man slurred. “What’re ya doin down’ere? Thought ya might’a decided t’off yourself n’ saved me th’trouble.”

That seems decent. Other problem: what to call the guy. His father, their father, and the man are what I’ve been calling him so far, but that’s getting old fast. I don’t particularly want to give him a name. I don’t want to use “dad” because it sounds affectionate, and there is no affection here.

[since this is stream of consciousness, I’ll admit my eyes just flickered over to the clock. halfway done.]

The drunk? Maybe, once. What else is there? I seriously can’t think of anything. The degenerate? That’s a little much. I’m drawing a complete blank. I’m going to skip this part for now.

I keep thinking about writing the next parts of the story, but I don’t want to spoil it, and I’m planning on posting this ridiculous babble on my blog. My hands are tied.

Hey, I thought of a solution. SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING NOW!

Okay, now I feel better. So next thing I need to write about is the phone call/friend coming to the door/whatever-it-is. Patrick gets a call? No, because he doesn’t have a cell phone and the home phone would be weird because the dad might be able to pick it up. A friend comes to the door? I guess. It might make his decision to leave more believable. But what would the dad say? I could say the dad was still passed out, but then there is absolutely no way Patrick would leave his four-year-old sister unsupervised. So the dad’s awake. The dad’s awake, hungover, maybe? Or still drunk? And he’s too out of it to care. Yes. something like that. I’ll have to find a good balance between drunk and sober so that the dad doesn’t care what Patrick does, but is theoretically still capable of looking after Nellie, so Patrick feels justified leaving. And why does the friend need him? That’s a tough one. A disaster with his pet? Another bad home situation? No, that’s laying it on too thick. Um. [three minutes left!]

A friend knocks on the door. Or, wait, they could use email/instant messaging. No, there’s no way Patrick has a computer. Okay, back to the door. Patrick opens it, his dad’s semiconcious on the couch. Hey, dude, I need your help! Can you come help me fix my bike? Uh…I’d like to help you, but it’s not really the best time… Please, Patrick, I need it to go to the grocery store before my mom gets home and if I don’t leave soon she’s gonna kill me! Can I bring my little sister, then? No way! I’m serious, we need to RUN.

[time’s up! not sure I liked that. going to need to brainstorm more about how Patrick ends up leaving the house]

Heh. Hope the people floating out in the internet ether enjoyed peeking at my writing process. To be honest, I feel a little like I just gave a peeping Tom permission to watch me undress, but hey, we’re all about transparency here.

Thoughts? Please share!

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