Sunday, July 17, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge, part 20: "Cut"

When this exercise was hosted over at Porky's Expanse!, he always chose the word for the Expanders! challenge based on some relevant happening or theme. This week brought the release of the final Harry Potter movie, the last chapter in the greatly-streamlined screen adaptation of the books a generation has grown up on. This provided a welcome distraction from politics for those of us here in the US, where the Federal government appeared to be having a hard time deciding whether it wanted to slash taxes, social programs, investor confidence, or it's ties to reality more deeply. Closer to home, I finally made the difficult decision to close one of my offices, eliminating a truly dreadful 400 mile round-trip commute that I have been making almost weekly for the past seven years, but removing with it the chance to see a number of friends in the flesh on a fairly regular basis. The decision was made partly to have more time to spend doing hands-on homeschooling and creative projects with my son, who recently made qualifying scores for a national talent search program. The one word that gets to the core of all of these is "cut", and that is the word of the week.

If you aren't familiar with the Expansion Joints project, it all began over at Porky's Expanse!.

The rules are just as they are described over at Porky's: as much narrative as you can cram into fifteen words, one of which must be the word of the week.

This can take the form of

1. An epyllion,or litle epic, a stand-alone fifteen-word narrative, or

2. An epos, or 'epic'. Instead of an independent 15-word story, you can choose to develop someone else's story from a previous week, or extend your own story from week to week. Just write the next installment. If it has 15 words, uses the word of the week, and continues the story, you've done it.

There are two important things to think about if you choose epos. First, you should have the permission of the person who wrote the story you will develop. If anyone writes a 15-word epyllion or adds to an epos and is happy for others to develop it later, please say so, with something like 'for use in an epos'. Second, by using specific elements of someone else's story, we technically create a derivative work, so it's best to avoid this.

There are a number of generous contributors who have given express permission to use some of their writing as the basis for epos:

Porky, the founder of the project, offers up all of his contributions.

GDMNW has opened up the three stories here.

Dave G_Nplusplus makes any of his Expanders! stories available for use in an epos.

Arlequin has an epos running on his Expanders! page, and he has graciously extended permission to play with any or all of the contributions there.

Andy, over at The Creepy Corridor, has also made his epos posts available for expansion.

And, as always, feel free to use any of the stories on this blog that are tagged as "Expansion Joints" in an epos.

Words that have previously made an appearance in an Expanders!/Expansion Joints include: food, fort, stuff, elf, rogue, pass, fool, hammer, note, temper, table, twisted, missing, sacrifice, spirit, rush, tie, line, free, and break, in case you are of an historical bent, or wish to write a complete set.

When you've finished writing your entry for this week, either post your 15-word story directly in the comments here, or leave a link in the comments to the blog page where we can find it.


  1. My offering is:

    After almost getting himself cut off, he'd managed to fight his way clear without injury.

  2. Cut it out Arlequín! Didn't you remember Porky was to be first and myself third?

    *Runs for another corner of the internet...*


  3. lol.. Sorry that was a week ago and I've been to sleep since then.

    That was pretty awesome though! I stand agog!

  4. I'm impressed too, by both, and I'll willingly stand aside for them. Fourth will do me fine!

    This week's then is here.