I've written before about building a vocabulary bank, but once you have this bank, how do you get the words stuck in your head? It's not enough to recognise the word when you see it, you also want it readily available for use in your writing. There's a fun exercise I like to use to cement vocabulary banks in my students' minds. We write a story together. I write the first sentence, they write the second, I write the third and so on. Each sentence must contain a word from the vocabulary bank. I've included some of the results below.
* * *
I stood stock still in the face of the vituperation. This felt like a cataclysm compared to my mundane life. I felt out of equilibrium, as though my world was crumbling around me. I had become riddled with uncertainty. Granted, the uniformity of my days had been starting to grate on me, so this at least represented a change of pace. I was filled with a sudden sense of atrophy; I could not move.
“Did you hear me?” Malice was threaded through my tormentor’s voice.
”I’ll asphyxiate you unless you reply right this instant!” My powers of speech failed me, and I could not even advocate for myself. The guards who lined the walls of the prison were cold and impartial, unlikely to come to my aid.
* * *
His brusque manner caught me off guard. I looked at him with chagrin; his insouciance was vexing me.
“Excuse me, you have been annoying me incessantly… stop. You have been warned.” At this, Johnny began cavorting wildly around the room, cackling maniacally. I had had enough of this tyrant, and his despicable ways. I launched a colossal display elf at him and he howled in anguish as it brained him. He tumbled over as I looked upon my noble elf who stared back at me with haughty ennui.
It seemed as if Johnny had turned pallid, and was indeed unconscious. He was a squat boy, round and unsightly. I suddenly felt apprehensive about what I have done and realised I should leave at once. I rested my visage upon my palms and wondered what would happen next. I heard sirens coming from behind me, so I jumped off the precipice, with the elf in my hands and a smile on my visage.
A month later a tombstone stood there, marked upon it: Here lies Mr. Clause and Elf, They will always be remembered for their kind visages.
* * *
I steeled myself and pushed the old, crumbling door open. I had a sinking feeling that it was going to make a lot of noise. Indeed, the creaking filled the vast cavernous hallway and echoed up the stairs. As I walked inside, an eerie looking figure was standing at the other of the immense corridor. Darkness filled the room, but the figure was somehow ethereal and light, standing in stark contrast to the inky gloom. The unknown thing was just staring at me, which I found harrowing.
Any exhilaration that I had felt about exploring the abandoned mosque fled. It started to run vigorously towards me; its shadowy eyes bulged. I moved nimbly back down the corridor to escape. Even as I did so, the air suddenly seemed to leave the room and I felt myself begin to asphyxiate.
* * *
I felt that his impudence had gone on for long enough – it was time to teach him a lesson. So that night the teacher decided to meticulously carry his desk and locker out of the building. The next day, an epidemic of whispers sprung up about the mysterious disappearance. Issan knew it was the teacher so he decided to wrench his teacher’s drawer open and steal everything. The teacher was presumptuous and had thought that Issan would never find out.
* * *
Gingerly, I stepped onto the ramshackle bridge. It was quiet, and had an eerie feeling. Immense, utter emptiness swirled below me. Suddenly a man ran across the bridge stark naked. He seemed determined to enliven the pensive, spooky atmosphere. Out of thin air, like wizards, a group of gaunt men, walked across the bridge, sans skin. Things had taken an ominous turn. They seemed ravenous, thus I gave one a handful of walnuts. Nevertheless, I was quite taken aback, and so I tried to sidle away surreptitiously. Lamentably, one of the flayed men admonished me for trying to sneak away. I began to perspire. It seemed inevitable that he would skin me…alive.