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Exercise Wednesday: A series of words with the power to destroy

July 16, 2014

Literarily, I should have known this quote long before now, but I didn’t. Maybe you didn’t either. But it’s an amazing quote and an amazing writing prompt.

Philip K. Dick is the author of, among other things, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, a landmark science fiction novel that evolved into the movie Bladerunner.

The sentence isn’t typically just a garden-variety insult, and it’s typically not the first line that comes to mind. For most people, “you’re fat/stupid/ugly” isn’t worth bothering with. But for the person who used to be fat/stupid/ugly, and still is underneath, it could be a killer. One of the reasons I know what you did last summer is a great title–and it was a novel first–is because the name alone makes you almost cringe inside.

Maybe it’s something one of your characters did, or an insecurity buried in their soul, but if Philip  K. Dick is right, your job this week is to unearth that sentence and to unleash that destructive power and see what happens.

Time limit: 25 minutes

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