Monster Writing Month 3

Cookbook: How to create a writing monster

As seen on this blog

by Katrine Meldgaard Kjær and Line Henriksen

Making writing monsters is easier than you think, and an ideal family activity to have fun with over the holiday break. Living with them is another story (this might be a life-long ethical exercise in living with something that you do not fully control). Follow these easy recipes and have your own monsters ready in a fraction of the time it takes to order them online:

1

Collage Monster

Ethos Lab 1
Photo by Marie Blønd for ETHOS Lab.

You will need: 

For 1 collage monster: 

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • A text
  • Hope
  • Scissors
  • Vulnerability
  • Tears
  • Agony
  • Glue
  • Colleagues (can be substituted by friends, family, total strangers, or 7 dogs)
  • A time-keeper with a timer

Aim:

To recreate your own text using other people’s sentences.

Method: 

  1. Cut sentences from your text. If you have 9 colleagues, you’ll need 9 sentences. If you have 5 total strangers, you will need 5 sentences. If you have 7 dogs, you will need around 133 sentences and the ability to work with chewed up material. Important: you do not need to use all your text! When you have the sentences you need, put the remaining text aside.
  2. Round one: 
  • Share a sentence with one of your colleagues. Choose something that you think they’ll like.
  • Receive one sentence from one of your colleagues.
  • Take 5 minutes to glue the sentence you receive onto a piece of paper. You can modify it in any way you want: delete or rearrange words, add words with your pen, write a new sentence using the words you were given, etc. Just keep in mind: you are still trying to write about the subject of your old text.
  • The time-keeper will let you know when the time is up.
  1. Round two: 
  • Share a sentence with one of your colleagues (not the same as before). Choose something that you think they’ll like.
  • Receive one sentence from one of your colleagues (not the same as before).
  • Take 10 minutes to glue the sentence you receive onto your paper. You can modify it in any way you want: delete or rearrange words, add words with your pen, write a new sentence using the words you were given, etc. Keep in mind: you are still trying to write about the subject of your old text.
  • The time-keeper will let you know when the time is up.
  1. Repeat the rounds until everybody have received a sentence from everybody else.
  2. Final round: take 10 – 20 minutes to reorganize and polish your text in any way you please. Add sentences, glitter or/and drawings. Keep in mind: you are still trying to write about the subject of your old text. The time-keeper will let you know when the time is up.

Finished! You have now created your very own collage monster in no time, with very little effort, and eternal damnation to follow. Bask in your own accomplishments with lightning, a good thunderstorm and some hubris before the consequences catch you unawares.

2

hello text

Programme
Photo by Marie Blønd for ETHOS Lab. Artwork by Mia Makila.

You will need: 

For 1 greeted text:

  • A text you’re not completely happy with and/or that fills you with existential dread
  • People you trust
  • Slight trepidation
  • A space in which it is ok to be vulnerable

Aim:

To try to see your text in a different light and possibly change how you feel about it enough to start working with it again.

Method:

  1. Address your text out loud, beginning with the words: “Hello text, you are …” Try to tell the text what you feel about it, what concerns you, why you have not been writing on it, why it makes you anxious, etc. For examples, look here.
  2. Finish the round – everybody gets a chance to address their text.
  3. After the round, take 5 minutes to write some notes on how the experience was, whether you got some inspiration to work on your text again, what you’d like to do differently, etc.
  4. If you have another writing exercise after this one, you can do one more round of ‘Hello text’ at the end of your workshop, this time with your revised or new text. Compare: has your relationship changed? Does the text still make you uncomfortable? Do you understand it a little better? Etc.

Done! You have now addressed your text and acknowledged it as the unholy creation that it is. Hopefully you have not made it too angry. Hopefully it is not the vengeful kind. Hopefully.

3

Tracking changes 

vulnerabilities monsters

Track Changes
From Monster Writing Month 2: Tracked Changes Vulnerabilities.

 

 

You will need: 

For 1 tracked monster:

  • Computer
  • Word or similar text programme
  • Platform for sharing
  • Track/changes
  • Willingness to overwrite
  • Stomach ache (optional)
  • People
  • A subject you want to explore

Aim:

Experimental method to get collaborative writing started.

To explore the vulnerabilities at stake in writing.

Method:

  1. Round one:
  • One person begins the text (max 250 – 300 words).
  • Another person continues the text. Using track-changes, this person can add and delete words and sentences as they please. They can write new text of up to 250-300 words.
  • Yet another person takes over the text. This person can add and delete words and sentences as they please. They can write new text of up to 250-300 words.
  • Continue until everybody has worked on the text, deleting and adding as they please.
  1. Round two: 
  • Repeat round 1, but this time the participants can only write new text as comments and inserted sentences, meaning that they have to engage the text that already exists. They are, of course, free to delete.

Finished! You now have your very own tracked monster created from the fuel of nightmares: track-changes. Keep it locked in your basement for your own safety and the demise of those who move in after you. Freezes well.

We hope you get many happy years together with your writing monsters!


December is Monster Writing Month at The Monster Network! We bring three blog posts that each engage with the interconnections between writing and the monstrous, between creature and created, between words and worlds. Exploring writing as an un/lively process, and text as something that always escapes the control and intent of the author, Monster Writing Month asks what kind of creatures the writer summons – and what creatures summons the writer.

You can find the previous blog posts here: Writing Monsters and Tracked Changes Vulnerabilities.

The Monster Writing blog posts are inspired by the workshop ‘Monster Writing’ organized by Katrine Meldgaard Kjær and Line Henriksen at ETHOS Lab, IT University of Copenhagen, November 2019.