The "Paper Clip" and "What If Game"

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engemi ferreira engemi ferreira
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The "Paper Clip" and "What If Game"

John wrote:
Imagine your heroine is trapped in a locked cellar that’s being flooded by storm water. She’s surrounded by poisonous snakes. Her mobile phone doesn’t work. How can a paper clip help her escape?

Voila:
"The water is rising. He is going to drown her right here . She remembered pressing her mobile phone between her bra and her by now ice cold breast. What on earth made her do that? She disregarded answering her own hypothetical question  and smoothes the clammy object out of her bra. Och! No reception. Of course. She looks down into the look-alike-pit where the snakes still turn and wriggle ~ it seems they like the rising water as little as she does.

"He must have sealed off the door as well. What can she do? Hey girl, just don’t panic; this is the last thing you need ... she looks around. The chairs and table is higher than the boxes and small suitcases. What could be inside. She gives a look at and holds a hand nearer the closest suitcase, and then turns away. What if the most horrible thing like bones of babies bodies, as he told her, really are inside? Oh no, she daren’t touch them

"Except for a tin with a few scraggly items. She dumps the items on the table. A screw, a piece of string, a small monetary piece, and a large paper clip. She looks at the narrow window where she can see feet hurrying past, then watches perturbed as the tin falls amongst the snakes. There is nothing else, except for the paperclip and reams of paper in an open file box. She grabs a piece of paper inside the open filing space and uses her finger to write on it with the dirt she lifts from under the window’s frame, using the paper clip. She holds the paper against the greyish window pane with one hand and position the paper clip between her finbgers and start tapping an S.O.S. as loud as she can, figuring that her nearly frozen fingers would not be able to make a notable sound.

"For the first time she felt warm tears running down her cheeks when only one single pair of feet stopped outside the window. She had pointed to the words: PLEASE SAVE ME I’M DROWNING, but it was a child ... too young to read ... she slithered onto the table, the paper flying from her fingers, and the paperclip dropping after it just as the child managed to turn his fathers attention to the words on the paper, to late fr her to notice the man's worried look. He knelt down trying to see through the window. A policeman just handy with a strong torch threw a spotlight on the beautiful face of my wanabee heroine and the hero grabbed the light and set off to rescue her, once he secured his child in the arms of the Bobby

"And of course they lived happily ever after ... the heroine becoming the wife of the widower and the mommy for the  child - the serial killer from whom she escaped having been caught with the heros help, and jailed."

John again:
If you figured out a plausible way you have a high creative IQ. But how can you develop one?
"Ahww. I don't think so. I would love to hear your much more ingenious way, John."

John again:
Make a habit of playing the ‘what if’ game. Conceive of events that are utterly absurd, then work out how they might have happened. For example, let’s suppose our character:

"I love these thinking games: They really do develop one's thinking abilities. So I answered after the questions you posed."

* looked in a mirror and one eye winked back at him. But his own eye hadn’t winked?
My character has a glass eye. Often the ball simply turns over and it seems as if he winks

* posted a letter in a roadside mailbox, and a hand came out of the slot and took his letter?
We have a candid movie making prankster here in SA who often uses this trick – or talks from the post box. But our Post Office system has stopped officiating like that ;~)

* turned on the tap in the sink, and the water came out of his mouth?
Oh my goodness, no idea. He probably swallowed a hose pipe?

* looked up at the reader, addressed him or her accurately by name, and said ‘I can see you’?
What a marvelous idea ~ may I use this?

And I whole heartedly agree with your take on Plagiarism. I am such a slow writer, that I have often experienced how other people ... um ... stole my ideas (I believe there is a huge storeroom upstairs where all our ideas come from in any case and it depends on who is first to use the idea) and I then had to work around them just as you explained. I discovered it actually trains one to be adaptable and versatile afa one's writing is concerned.

Thanks a lot for the exercises.  
John Yeoman John Yeoman
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Re: The "Paper Clip" and "What If Game"

Your solution to my riddle is far more inventive than my own, Engemi! I figured out that she uses the paper clip to attach her dead mobile phone to her belt and throws the belt over a window ledge above her (the window being conveniently open), where it snags. She then hauls herself to safety. This ruse delights her rescuers outside because, in the Kathy Reichs version, her trousers then fall down.

To my other riddles and your solutions:

* he looked in a mirror and one eye winked back at him. But his own eye hadn’t winked?

My character has a glass eye. Often the ball simply turns over and it seems as if he winks.

A brilliant solution! I hadn't thought of it. My predictable solution was that it was a trick mirror, set up by a villain to drive the character mad. The victim then commits suicide or is institutionalized, whereupon the villain inherits his estate. (A ploy much used in Victorian melodramas.)

* he posted a letter in a roadside mailbox, and a hand came out of the slot and took his letter?
We have a candid movie making prankster here in SA who often uses this trick – or talks from the post box. But our Post Office system has stopped officiating like that ;~)

Yes, it's a fake postbox with a child inside, maybe a students' stunt or a sketch in a reality tv program. But suppose important letters - love notes, tax demands and the like - go missing? Only to be replied to by the hoaxer? And that box roams around town? It would make a nice mystery tale.

* he turned on the tap in the sink, and the water came out of his mouth?
Oh my goodness, no idea. He probably swallowed a hose pipe?

Suppose he was trying out his new water-filled denture pads? (The kind you can get on EBay that are claimed to be super-comfortable.) And he bit too hard?

* he looked up at the reader, addressed him or her accurately by name, and said ‘I can see you’?
What a marvelous idea ~ may I use this?

Of course, you can use this idea. There's no copyright on ideas. But do be aware that author Jorg Luis Borges used exactly those words in his story The Aleph. So creepy was the tale that I did truly believe, for a moment, that the author was staring at me. But the story could not also have addressed the reader correctly by name unless the name had been supplied previously to the author - and the story was a 'one off' written just for that reader. How come? Maybe a villainous author is trying to annoy (or worse) an irritating reviewer...

I can relate to that.
engemi ferreira engemi ferreira
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Re: The "Paper Clip" and "What If Game"

Thanks, John
I'll keep these for future reference.
I just want to say that the tricks you shake from your sleeve all the time, are quite astounding. I suppose thats what happens when one has many years of experience, although there must be a big store of imagination present as well. It is invigorating when writing (reading too) in such surroundings, though forgive me for not taking part (enough) in the rest. Mea culpa ~ too impatient. And so much work to get done in this year. I do however visit when I can and greatly enjoy Writers Resources, even though I sometimes recognize 'old friends'; it is worth a lot, especially now I have to sink myself in the book I have to finish this coming year. I'm so grateful for what I learn from you and some others around here, as well as Writer's Village.
John Yeoman John Yeoman
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Re: The "Paper Clip" and "What If Game"

Thanks, Engemi. It comes from a lifetime of chicanery and secret vice: a habit of reading Edwardian mystery novels. Of course, you must focus now on your main priority: finishing your novel. Just to finish one is a rare achievement! But do post some excerpts from it here as you go, for gentle feedback.
peggles peggles
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Re: The "Paper Clip" and "What If Game"

In reply to this post by John Yeoman
Hello John,
I like this and try it out every now and then. I take a passage from any book. Wakes my brain up quick time.I am sure the author would be horrified at me messing about with the passage and what I come up with.

As well as problem solving I often change the sex and age  to look of an possible alternative solution.
it's surprising how different the outcome sometimes is.


peggles
Kate Kindle Kate Kindle
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Re: The "Paper Clip" and "What If Game"

Good idea, Peggles. Shakes it up!