I don’t think I would be wrong if I said that most of people can’t wait for Friday: especially for its evening part, when the week’s work has been done and it’s time to relax… or catch up with all the things neglected during the non-weekend days. Though I have to admit that regardless of how much I am looking forward to the weekend, Friday morning always throws me in a state of panic. “Is it today already?” I think opening my browser. “What’s this week’s theme?”
All because of a literary game started on Twitter by Amy Good nearly a year ago. It is called “Friday Phrases” and is open-to-every-one creative activity. All participants tweet 140 characters of microfiction, micropoetry, inspirational bits and story ideas, also commenting and retweeting pieces posted by others. I won’t bore you with details are they are nicely listed on Friday Phrases website.
First I just watched and enjoyed creative input of other players, but in the end I couldn’t resist joining the fun. Trying to fit in something interesting, maybe surprising into 140 characters? Or actually, into 137 characters as you need to include the #FP hashtag… It is a challenge at times, especially when you think you have something interesting and you learn you need to trim half of the words… This is why Friday Phrases are not only creative fun, but also a great language exercise: it helps learning how to convey the same idea in different words, to change perspective, to research new expressions. How to squeeze the very essence out of every sentence, every word.
Of course, some might argue that Friday Phrases are not as useful for those writers who write long novels as usually they don’t need to trim their words as drastically as short story writers do. But I still think they can consider it an interesting challenge aimed for perfecting their literary tools. We all need to develop constantly and search for new or just more precise ways to express our thoughts. Friday Phrases make a part of these efforts nothing more than fun.
There is also the inspiration that comes along with Friday Phrases you read and write. It might not always be direct, but it will set your imagination in motion and allow the creativity to spread its wings. Even if none of #FP tweets provides actual ideas, it will still put you in the mood for writing, plotting, creating. Sounds like a perfect warm-up before the “serious” writing, doesn’t it?
Last, but not least, Friday Phrases is a perfect opportunity to connect with other creative people. The ones that want to do something besides swarming your feed with their promotional spam. The ones that might even push your imagination even further that you planned when you pressed the “Tweet” button… Which is not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Below you can see how a single tweet can turn into a fun game of creativity and cooperation, attracting even more readers.
That week’s Friday Phrases theme was “Through the looking glass” and I decided I want a dragon in it as well. So I put together a tweet:
The doctor said: “If you look through the glass and see a dragon, take this pill.” I meant to obey, but I am still staring at the dragon.
I didn’t know that David Buchan (@Buchan_David_) would reply and prompt me to write a bit more. Yes, this story was purely improvised and I think that even though it seems to wobble a bit with uncertainty at some point, in the end it stays quite consice.
Melfka: The doctor said: “If you look through the glass and see a dragon, take this pill.” I meant to obey, but I am still staring at the dragon.
David: “Really, @Melfka, it’s rude to stare.” The green dragon coughed up tar. “Do you have a light? My napalm sac has caught a cold again.”
M: @Buchan_David_ “I know you’re a figment of my imagination! I can kill you with a pill. But I just want to look at you a little longer…”
D: “Figment of your imagination, @Melfka?” The dragon snorted a puny candle flame. “Have you eaten Caterpillar’s magic mushroom again?”
M: @Buchan_David_ “But… But the doctor…” I look away from the glass and it’s the shrink’s office again. Until it vanishes in the mist.
D: The shrink blew his nose & pocketed a handkerchief in a green suit. “Well, @Melfka, how long have you been having these hallucinations?”
M: @Buchan_David_ “All my life,” I smile as I break the glass and release the green dragon. “But he’s not a hallucination anymore.”
D: The green dragon scratches the scales under a wing. “Really, @Melfka, you don’t need to ring the fire alarm – you know I’ve got a cold.”
M: @Buchan_David_ “I heard that shrinks are a good remedy for dragon cold. And I happen to have one handy…” I give him a meaningful look.
D: The dragon swallowed its tail, but didn’t bite. “Really, @Melfka, you’re not taking our sessions seriously. I could have you sectioned.”
M: @Buchan_David_ “But I do! I really do!” I stare at the pill. I wish it would make him go away for ever. The doctor, not the dragon.
D: The dragon smiled over his glasses. “Well, @Melfka, we’re a long way from a cure. Same time next week? That’ll be £500. Next patient.”
M: @Buchan_David_ £500 paid to a dragon shrink & I leave even more confused than I was before. Do witches really have to be mentally sound?
D: @Melfka patients don’t have to be sound, just their bank accounts. 😉
I hope you enjoyed this little story and that you will join me this upcoming Friday in my delightful panic: because of Friday Phrases I can’t wait for Friday even more now.
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.