Last night we did just that, only we didn't start with the opening paragraph. We started with the last paragraph and worked our way backwards to the beginning. We were allowed to read the entire last paragraph before we added. It proved very interesting. Here's the piece I started and ended. Each paragraph, bold, italic or normal, represents a different writer. *Remember, this piece was written backwards:
Exercise: Chinese Whispers in Reverse . . .
You hear about it in tales, read about it in books, or watch it in films, but never do you expect it to happen to you. Things like that just don't happen. They aren't real - but I can prove you wrong. They're so real it's beyond belief.
It's amazing how such a little thing can capture your attention, and how that little thing can suddenly devour your very being and consume your mind. It's hard to believe how one little thing can cause so much trouble.
Daydream or fixation. I couldn't decide. They say you can't think about what you don't want to think about without thinking about it. Each day it took me longer to walk passed the mound. Each day the portion of my brain devoted to anything other than the mound became just that little bit smaller.
I'd been passing the patch for months with a restless hope in my heart. The mound surely held priceless treasure, and I waited each day for the secret to be revealed, or perhaps to reveal itself after the fashion that secrets have of wanting to be known. I waited, wanted, hoped, and when the sight came I was stunned.
It was such a rare sight to see, but I knew instantly what it was the moment I saw it. Green shoots, lusciously green and so mouth wateringly green. I could only imagine what sat at the other end, and the more I imagined the more my mouth watered. It was a carrot.
I needed that carrot. I mean, real bad. Nothing would get in the way of my craving. Predators or gossips, anything scary that would mean death in the night - either physically or socially - was ignored. I grabbed the trowel and ran into the garden.
Quietly, surreptitiously, with my breath held in my chest like solid, I stabbed the trowel into the black earth. The night was lit by a plaid moon, but still I hunkered down in the dirt, closer to my objective than ever before. My heart beat fast, thudded, tumbled, all the analogies you've ever read that hearts do. I heard a noise from behind and stopped.
At first I thought I'd been caught, but as the shadow from behind me grew, I knew that wasn't the case. What WAS the case, I didn't yet know. To discover that meant that I had to turn around. I didn't want to do that, but I had to. Leaving my hole only half dug, I looked over. It was no man standing behind me. It was a 6ft ferret . . .