Thursday, January 14, 2010

A writing exercise

I have not suggested a new writing exercise in a while, but I thought of one tonight, so here it is. Like the other writing exercises it focuses on being creative without morbidity and despair. You'll see that this one is on the edge, but the reason is that whether it is on the edge or not is entirely up to you. Thus the two choices you make in writing this story (or script or outline) should lead you to exploring your own optimism, but also illuminate some unhelpful shadows.

1. The scene: There is a planet inhabited entirely by robots. They are aware, purposeful, and have organized themselves into a coherent and one might even say "contented" existence.

The first challenge: What would a "contented" society of robots be like, to you, in your mind? You could make a myriad of choices regarding how this "coherent and content" robot society would be organized, how sophisticated they are programmed, and whether they are creative.

2. The situation, ie, the plot tension: They know they are robots, but they have no record of how they came into being. One day they find a fragment of information that states that they will all melt down and turn into slag on an exact day in the future. There is no further information such as why and exactly how that it will happen; only that it is a certainty.

The second challenge: What do they do?

Again, there is a myriad of choices you could make as you think about how the robotic society you created "would, will and should" react to this news.

Use this exercise to learn the boundary between edgy and morbid, danger and despair, the actual meaning of life and whether mechanics ever are actually "life" in any fashion, and creative problem solving (on the robots' behalf) ha.