Writing Game: Running With Scissors 1 comment


a moth on a pair of dark metal scissors, leaning on a wooden spool of twine, next to an orange flower

1. Take one of your poems or microflash, or even a paragraph from something you’re working on.

2. Chop it up into single words.

3. Alphabetize your list and post it below. You can cut out the incidental words like “to” and “the”. Let’s keep the lists to 25 words or so max so it’s not overwhelming.

4. Grab someone else’s posted list and, using their words, write a new poem or flash.

If the poem you built your own list from is something you’ve posted here, or is available elsewhere online, go ahead and share the link with us so we can compare our own efforts with the original.

If you want to play this game by yourself, make lists of words from poems or other works that you love–and then stick them in a drawer until you forget the original enough to make something new.

Let’s repurpose some word lists to make exciting new things!

PS Here’s a list of words from my Day 4 Poem (password: poetrymonth) to get you started–but don’t peek at the original until you try writing your own so I don’t cramp your style

  • back
  • beneath
  • black
  • call
  • dear
  • fertile
  • home
  • hurry
  • imploring
  • return
  • root
  • seed
  • snow
  • soil
  • spring
  • springtime
  • sweet
  • turn
  • waits
  • white
  • won’t
  • worm
  • you

Please be generous about sharing your own lists so that other people can play, too!


One thought on “Writing Game: Running With Scissors

  • Shaula Evans Post author

    I have just written a poem based on the word list above (even though it’s my own) and posted it in the Day 25 poems. You can compare it with the original among the Day 4 poems if you’d like.

    Two additional thoughts:

    1. When I made the word list above, I was struck by some of the slant rhyme, assonance and alliteration among the words on the list. (Does anyone need a gloss on those terms? If you do, don’t be shy, just let me know.) It that respect, the act of making the list reminded me a little of Verlyn Klinkenborg’s sentence test–taking the elements out of writing and looking at them in a new light. When you make your own word list, see if any interesting patterns emerge for you.

    2. In the past, I’ve explained this exercise to writers as “(crowdsourced) fridge magnet poetry”, because you’re taking a pre-set collection of words and turning them into something new. (And, in this case, you’re also contributing to the sets of words, too.) I hope that analogy helps make sense of it for you.

Comments are closed.