Aug 17, 2010

The Seashell

by Terri Wagner

I'm not sure what brought this on, but I've gone into 80s mode lately. Maybe because for the most part I loved the 80s. So I'm throwing out this writing exercise this guy at William & Mary had us do in his creative writing class. So put on your tights, your headband, play Manic from Flashdance and do this exercise.

Take a seashell and look at it and then write everything it evokes. Then read your response. If you spent time describing it, that's your favored forte. You like descriptions. If your words evoke memories of being on a beach, a special day, a special moment, you are into safe sweet memories. If you pragmatically wrote the scientific aspects of the shell, then you are into techno writing. If you wrote what you would do with the shell (hold it up to your ear) or how you found the shell, you are an action oriented writer.

It was a very eye-opening experience for all of us. I discovered I was action oriented. And all these years later, I find, I still am.

Have fun with it. And if you need an interpretation, just ask.


  1. I am always intrigued by those types of writing exercises. Maybe I'll be gifted some time today to try it.
    Thanks, Terri! Thinking about the '80s made me smile!

  2. I think I need to go to the beach and find me a seashell!! That will be perfect for some writing inspiration today!

  3. Okay, now I am irritated with myself. I was too antsy to see where you were going with this to pick up a shell and write about it, so now I know what the different ways of writing about the shell are, and if I try the exercise, I, being the over achiever that I am would try do them all. I would end out with a false reading.

    Great idea Terri. I think I will use this the next time I teach the lesson at our ANWA Chapter meeting.

  4. Love the exercise. I know I have a sea shell in this house somewhere. I don't know if I have any 80's tights or headband, though.

  5. I love the exercise. I and with Valerie I want to go find more shells. I also wonder like Cindy if knowing taints future experiments with objects?


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