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Exercise Wednesday: He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him.

November 6, 2013

Sometimes the oddest thing can act as a prompt. I was sitting in the front room at home and my wife was watching a Big Bang Theory rerun in which Sheldon steals a line from Ricardo Montalban’s amazing performance as Khan in Star Trek II.

In my current work in progress–the one I’ve been working on since I learned my ABCs, I have a character who would say such a thing. Her name is Catherine. She’s a bad-ass radio chick who likes to perpetuate a reputation as a bad ass and also likes to quote movies. It’s kind of a running joke between her and my main protagonist.

As soon as I heard the quote, I figured it was perfect for her to use…if she was pursuing a guy who was reluctant to succumb to her charms. Just the words, in a different context, take on an entirely different meaning. If you were a guy and an attractive woman said about you, “He tasks me and I shall have him. I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s Flame until I give him up,” you’d be at once intrigued and terrified.

(Of course, that quote is paraphrased from Moby Dick when Captain Ahab says at various times “He tasks me.” and “I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up.“)

Today’s exercise is simple: find a phrase and build a scene in which one of your characters uses it out of context to mean something else.

You could use the same quote, choose one of the ones below, or one of your own.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (Also featured in Star Trek II.)

“The past–or some other entry of your choosing–is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”

“Humans (People) have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.”

“It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

“I’m your biggest fan.”

“You should be kissed often and by someone who knows how.”




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