Creative Writing Prompt for July 20

Friday, Jul 7, 2017

Our Creative Writing Group meets the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. (Starting in September we'll meet the 1st and 3rd Monday) We are working through the exercises in Brian Kiteley's The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction. The assignment for July 20th is The Language of Work - 160

Write up two lists of words peculiar to two different types of workplaces, which only someone working in these jobs would know - or know the particular meaning of. If you have experience in a unique and unusual job, use your knowledge of it for this exercise. You can also research trade journals, how-to books, and encyclopedias - or make up a bunch of terms completely from your imagination. Then write a fragment of fiction in which two people in different jobs try to explain their work to each other, tripping over the acronyms, pet phrases, and terms of art you came up with. 500 words

There are some jobs where there is an obvious arcane vocabulary - engineers, proofreaders, doctors, CIA operatives - but most other work environments have their own quite idiographic languages (idiographic means dealing with something concrete, individual, or unique; this word can be usefully related to idiolect, one's own personal version of a language).

I worked on a movie set in Provincetown, Massachusetts, one spring. Mostly I drove out to the nearest large airport in Hyannis to pick up actors, electricians, grips, and best boys. It was an hour's drive, so I had a lot of time to talk with these people. An electrician had some of the most arcane terms for the work she did and the people she worked around. The actors were "the talent." Her "juice" scared nearly everyone else on the set, so she had supreme power, so to speak. She could shock into submission anyone who crossed her.

Come with six copies of your completed assignment to share. We'll discuss and provide feedback. First time? Feel free to come and observe before jumping in.

NOTE: After August 17 this group will move to the 1st and 3rd Monday. Information can be found at