Monday, January 6, 2014
By Ashley Lister
Happy New Year. In a bid to keep things lively around here, I’ve decided to alternate each month of 2014 with a writing exercise one month and a poetry exercise the next month. This month we’re looking at one of my favourite writing exercises: the swiftie.
Tom Swift was the central character in a series of books produced between 1910 and 1933, the majority of which were attributed to author Victor Appleton. One of the characteristic (and much parodied) features of the narrative in these stories was the speech attribution. These attributions, usually adverbial, have become the source of an entertaining parlour game where the attributive adverb has to be humourlessly linked to the content of the sentence, usually with a pun.
“We must hurry,” said Tom swiftly.
“I’m working as a security officer,” she said guardedly.
“I have a cold,” he said icily.
“Do you want to see my pussy?” she purred.
“But I asked for a cabernet sauvignon,” Tom whined.
“I was just looking at pictures of my mother,” Oedipus ejaculated.
Take a shot at producing a small handful of your own swifties in the comments box below. It goes without saying that these swifties are entertaining as a writing exercise, and a great way for warming up your pen hand and getting words on the page, but they should not enter into serious attempts at fiction unless you’re determined to stop your readers from enjoying your work.