Since this week’s Monday Musings falls on Christmas Eve I’m departing a little from the intention of this series. In fact, today’s post is not about Australian literature at all – though you can make it so if you’d like! Instead, I’m going to suggest a couple of literary challenges that you might like to wrap your heads around – individually or collectively – over the holiday season. Just for fun. Here goes …
The Novel Sentence Game
This is best played with a defined number of titles – such as your top ten of the year, or the last ten or so books you read with your reading group, or a literary prize shortlist, or some other set you’d like to come up with. My reading group has played this a couple of times at our end-of-year Christmas do, using the books we’d read that year. It goes like this: Write a single sentence using all the titles of the set of books you define. The winner – if you want to go that far – is the one who manages to make a comprehensible sentence with as few additional words as possible. It can be fun, but is definitely a challenge – so much so that the rebel members of our group made up new rules to suit themselves! Anything goes as long as you have fun …
This game was inspired by the book that came out a few years ago – One hundred great books in haiku. The idea, if you haven’t worked out already, is to write a review (or simply summarise the plot) of a book in haiku form. A haiku, as most of you know I expect, is essentially a three line poem comprising 5-7-5 syllables.
Here, for example, is the haiku I wrote on Lloyd Jones‘ Mr Pip:
Matilda reads Pip
And has great expectations.
Life has other plans.
Even harder, perhaps, is this challenge inspired (a few years ago) by the Australian television show, the First Tuesday Book Club. The challenge is self-evident. Here is one from their website back in 2008 for Louis de Berniere’s Birds without wings: “Despite the title, it soars”.
I can think of other challenges, such as writing a drabble review or trying a lipogram, but this’ll do for now … However, if you have some literary challenges to share, I, and I’m sure others here, would love to hear them.
Meanwhile, I have cooking and gift-wrapping to do. Christmas waits for no women. Before I go, though, I’d like to wish all those who stop by here a very merry Christmas. May you all receive many wonderful books to read and the time to read them …