Sunday, January 23, 2011

Exquisit Corpse

Those who have read the Sardonic Girl's blog may have taken notice of her and I talking about playing a game called Exquisite Corpse. While many are probably unfamiliar with this name, they are most likely familiar with the mechanics. The basic idea is two or more artists collaborating in turn to complete a work - be it traditional art, writing, or music. Most remember this in the form of a drawing game during adolescence were a piece of paper was divided based on how many participants were playing. Each player would then take a turn drawing a portion of a body (each segment would be a head, the chest and shoulders, the stomach and arms, the waist and hands, the legs and feet, or a division as desired). The hook being that the player could only see the connecting lines from the previous players' segments; not the entire thing. The completed project would only be revealed until all participants had a turn.

While this started off as a silly pass time game played by Surrealist movement circles around 1925 (although there is suggestion that it was played earlier than 1918), it became a silly game for bored adults to play along with a few drinks. It expanded into grade schools - minus the drinking - as a teaching aid for art, and became practiced all the way to collegiate levels (the drinking was added back in for the learning). Exquisite Corpse is still used to this day as a basic learning tool, as well as a method for professional artists to collaborate on works to be displayed and sold to the public.
For those where actually adventurous enough to click on the Wikipedia link above, they might have noticed that there are hundreds of variations of this game. Rule additions, subtractions, and modifications have been made to suit or challenge those involved. The game itself has seen almost every version of media and medium. So that is why I'm establishing the [loose] framework by which the Sardonic Girl and I will play.

First and foremost: we both get no more than two paragraphs, or four lines of dialogue per turn to work with. This will prevent either of us (namely me) from taking too much control of the story.

Second: there has been no decision before hand of where the story will begin, take us, end, or even on the characters. This is a writing exercise that teaches all involved how to improvise and work off of each other.

Third: It ends when we say it ends. Or when we see something shinny. Or when we get kind of hungry. Or whenever.

Fourth: screw the rules, I have money. Yeah. Sometimes we're going to need to break the rules a little. Who cares? It's not like we're winning anything from this.
So, without further ado:

She stood in the debarking area of the passenger car - something she had just realized; as though a blind fold had been lifted. The ubiquitous red carpet drew her eyes to the olive green wallpaper, which was cut by lines of gold that gave the unnecessary illusion that they were in motion. She could feel she was in motion; or rather the train was in motion. Snow blew by the window obfuscating the scenery.

Her hands studied the texture and lines of her ornate (but simple) dress. The cocoa colored wool fit her well, yet it felt unfamiliar. The small hand bag that dangled gracefully from her wrist was like the dress, beautiful; but it was not hers.
A entered through the door. It was the Conductor. He tipped his hat, smiled, and gently said, "Ticquet , s'il vous plaƮt."