Today’s writing exercise was to write with no punctuation. No line breaks, paragraphs, nothing. I thought the exercise would be rather pointless. I figured it would just make me appreciate commas, periods, etc. But the exercise caused me to focus on the rhythm of my writing, and I did not expect that. Because I could not use punctuation, my brain tried to find other ways to make the writing flow smoothly. After reading the results over, I found I did this two ways:
- Conjunctions (and, but, then)
- Repetition of words or phrases
The suggestion was to write about a hurried, hectic, or confused moment. I chose to write about a character in the middle of a chaotic dream. I thought whatever I came up with would be useless, but I may be able to rework it so it’s usable. I like the rhythm of it for a dream description.
Here, I’ll share a bit of it:
then the dream shifted tilted whirled and I found myself surrounded by flames not warm not comforting but painful malicious burning flames and through the crackling spitting flames was cackling laughter and I knew this was the danger I knew he needed my help I knew I must find him I knew she was evil I knew he was amid the piercing flames I knew I was now strong enough and by my feet were chains hot chains snaking their way through the flames and the chains were my path my clue my link to him and i had to follow the chains
My creative writing teacher in high school had us do this exercise, and I still remember it as being one of my favorites. I've actually done it with my students a few times, too!