Writing 1 at iO, with Nate Herman, day 2

If you are wondering why I’m not getting as many of my notes onto here as I was previously, this class is one of the reasons. It is a fantastic class, but it, along with Writing 2, is a massive amount of extra work, and I am discovering I am in need of sleep every now and then damn it! My first day off of this whole trip is today, so I am getting some of the writing done, I’ve done some sightseeing and I’m off to watch what is supposed to be the best improvisers in Chicago tonight, TJ & Dave.

In fact, I will soon be doing an entry covering the day off and it will even have some photos. Nice.

Despite the fact that I am now over 40 pages of notes behind in my writing up, it will get done. However, before that happens I have several writing assignments incomplete, including: one monologue based off a news article written from a contrary perspective, one monologue rewrite, one monologue to turn into a dialogue, two Saturday Night Live (SNL) style opening monologues, and one other strong opinion character based monologue. Actually, writing this out for you just now, it doesn’t look so much, although writing in somebody else’s voice is something I’ve not yet tried and scares me slightly. Ha, I will blast through.

Anyway, enough of my weekly platter, right now, for you, are my notes from the second class…

Last week, we were asked to write a couple of jokes a day just to get into the habit. I didn’t manage the daily joke writing, but on the days that I did manage to write jokes I wrote quite a few (see other entries in this blog). Nate wanted us to take one of the jokes we’d written and to expand it into a couple of paragraphs, a sort of commentary piece.

Nate suggested to us that before writing any longer piece he found it helpful to sit doing nothing, just thinking about it first. He suggested we try it, aiming to think through everything we want to say before even putting pen to paper (or even greasys to keys)

As I’d written quite a deal already on my articles, I chose a smaller joke and went from there:

The city (of Chicago) is beefing up its rat fighting detail. Because in Chicago, rat fighting is big business.

And that is sensible, I mean, rats don’t pay taxes, how are they contributing? They live off the generosity of others, trawling through our garbage, they’re uneducated and they don’t have health care. By rat fighting, they get to give something back. The city captures the rats and puts them in rings. They then charge admission and also take a commission from betting. And so the rats on the streets help pay the wages of rats in City Hall.

There are also several networks interested televising this, including America’s Got Talent who believe that the rats are at least as talented to the people who come on the program, although both human and rodent contestants on that program tend to come from the same type of environment. Meanwhile, the Worldwide Wrestling Federation has criticised the rat fights, saying they look ridiculous and unbelievable.

The city recently admitted that rat fighting is in fact only a pilot scheme, they soon plan to move onto the homeless, who, it is felt, similarly currently contribute little to society. An added advantage to the homeless over rats is that they are easier to track down as they smell more. Calling it Bum Thumping, they feel this will clear up the issue of poverty. Every time the homeless person wins, they get a meal. If this is successful, the disabled are next…

Chicago is proud of it’s social responsibility, the only place in the country with a safety net for the bottom of society. Even if that safety net is only there to protect the viewing public.

The notes coming back from both my own and other people’s pieces:
If you have more of a line to start with, there can be more information to work with through the rest of the article that you write. If you take only a short phrase like mine, it encourages more flights of fancy, which is also fine.
Heighten more.
Reread and tighten more.
Then, heighten and tighten even more.
Listen out for games in the article you have written. Continue to build them, heighten them, play with them

Tighten and heighten the above.
Write a point of view monologue in the voice of a person or object who doesn’t share our own point of view / has a different view point from us. (I will probably write from the perspective of one of the rats)


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