Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge, part 23: "Shock"

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 has been a series of what might be best described as adrenaline rushes, although none of them were what I would describe as exciting, exactly. Standard and Poors' unprecedented downgrading of the US government's credit rating as a result of the unexpectedly reckless brinkmanship in Washington D.C. sent reverberations through world financial markets, and caused wild stock fluctuations, as well as some extraordinarily explosive rhetoric directed at the US Congress from within the population. (One of the businesses near my home has a scrolling marquee that now reads "US Congress - Hang 'Em High".) London and its suburbs erupted in days of riots that began over a police killing, as the world watched aghast. And closer at hand, I found out the hard way at the dentist's office that I really *am* allergic to some local anesthetics...it apparently takes longer to spell "anaphylaxis" than it does to start having it in response to an injection. Against that background, can there be any doubt that the most appropriate word for the week is "shock"?

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, break, cut, opening, and close, 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. I hope you're feeling better. That is a very hard way to find out.

    I'll have a think on 'shock' and see what I can come up with.

  2. Feeling much better, thanks, and I hopefully will have the time soon to catch up on my woefully delinquent posting schedule.

  3. A marvelous post, as usual, from Porky is here.

  4. Thanks again. But where is everybody? This is the quietest week ever. I'm guessing holidays still - it's peak season and I'll confess the sunshine is keeping me away from the computer too.

  5. Shock! I have arrived back from the great beyond. Miss me much my fellow writers?

  6. It should come as no shock to you that we all mourned your absence, CK.