The literary collage

Here's one I did earlier...

Here’s one I did earlier…

Okay lit-lovers, I’m going to set you all task, which could have some very interesting results. It’s a variation on William Burrough’s Cut-up technique – where you cut out words, shake them in a bag and arrange them on a page. My method involves carefully selecting sentences and rearranging them on a page so that a fairly coherent structure is present, and not just a non-linear jumble of words, whereas Burrough’s technique means you aren’t supposed to know what you’ve picked. You could make a poem, dramatic script or short story – see where the words take you! We’ve all seen messages made up of little letters to make words, so why not do the same with fiction? It’s related to – but not the same as – intertextuality, where a text is a cut-and-paste of quotations from other sources. We’re all aware that nothing is original, but what is original anyway? I suppose the ‘original’ meaning of the word is “the first of its kind” (since original is used to mean the first and/or new of something). Do we only need a minor difference for something to be original, or must it be wholly different? Well, let’s find out.

if you’re using a pen and paper:

First, you’re going to need a piece of paper – printer or notepad is best – a pair of scissors and some glue. Next, I’d like you to get a stack of reading materials – no paperbacks please unless they’re tattered anyway  – such as newspapers, magazines, leaflets and so on. I want you to read through and pick out any words, phrases and sentences which catch your eye, cut them out and arrange them to make a story – whether it’s description, dialogue or Interior Monologue. Once you’re satisfied, stick them to the page. 

If you’re on a computer (tablet, pc, phone etc.)

Open a Word/Pages document and find some interesting stuff – e-zines, web articles, iBooks, kindle for pc – and highlight the selected text. Copy and paste into your document and attempt to arrange as a paragraph as above, so it looks like a narrative.

Think you can top mine? Go on, give it a go and post it back HERE. Let your creative juices flow, language geeks!

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