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I decided to organize a weekly creative writing exercise in the office to sharpen the skills of the writing pool. Everyone takes a turn inventing an exercise or a prompt.

The only general rule we've been using is that it should be doable in an hour or so. We've also tried to keep things fun.

Please feel free to share your own exercise efforts by leaving a comment. You can do that at the end of each exercise by clicking on 'Share your own effort'. Enjoy!

Writing Exercises Quick Links
Write an Obama Speech
Wordlplay, Anagram as Inspiration
Strictly Dialogue
Character Sketch
An Article of Clothing
The Truth
Press Release
Creative Description
Paired Fiction Writing
Connecting Ideas
Writing in Persona
Point of View
Interior Monologue
Body Language
Alternate Ending
Book Cover
Horror Writing
Dialogue 3
Dialogue 2
Nanofiction Writing
Writing Without Adjectives
Love Letters
Fictional Monologue
TV Show Opening Monologue
Short Story, Object as Narrator
Speech Writing
Tongue Twister
Suspense and Emotion
Describe and Compose
Poetic Confession
Application letter
Essays of Absurdities
Dialogue with Self
Imaginative Writing
Short Story from Cartoon
Five Random Words
Letter of Complaint

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Exercise 33 - Alternate Ending

Instructions from Mark, today's writing exercise provider.

Below is a short story by Neil Gaiman. Please take time to read it and take note of the text highlighted in blue. The challenge is to write our own ending to the story which may or may not alter the plot in any way. I think we shouldn't have a problem writing at least 150 words.   


Neil Gaiman

A few years back all the animals went away.
We woke up one morning, and they just weren't there anymore. They didn't even leave us a note, or say good-bye. We never figured out quite where they'd gone.

We missed them.

Some of us thought that the world had ended, but it hadn't. There just weren't any more animals. No cats or rabbits, no dogs or whales, no fish in the seas, no birds in the skies.

We were all alone.

We didn't know what to do.

We wandered around lost, for a time, and then someone pointed out that just because we didn't have any animals anymore, that was no reason to change our lives. No reason to change our diets or to cease testing products that might cause us harm.

After all, there were still babies.

Babies can't talk. They can hardly move. A baby is not a rational thinking creature.

We made babies.

And we used them.

Some of them we ate. Baby flesh is tender and succulent.

We flayed their skin and decorated ourselves in it. Baby leather is soft and comfortable.

Some of them we tested.

We taped open their eyes, dripped detergents and shampoos in, a drop at a time.

We scarred them and scalded them. We burnt them. We clamped them and planted electrodes in their brains. We grafted, and we froze, and we irradiated.

The babies breathed our smoke, and the babies' veins flowed with our medicines and drugs, until they stopped breathing or until their blood ceased to flow.

It was hard, of course, but it was necessary.

No one could deny that.

With the animals gone, what else could we do?

Some people complained, of course. But then, they always do.

And everything went back to normal.


Yesterday, all the babies were gone.

We don't know where they went. We didn't even see them go.

We don't know what we're going to do without them.

But we'll think of something. Humans are smart. It's what makes us superior to the animals and the babies.

We'll figure something out.

Below is my alternate ending.



Yesterday, all the babies were gone.  

We don't know where they went.  We didn't even see them go.

We don't know what we're going to do without them.

But we'll think of something.  Humans are smart.  It's what makes us superior to the animals.  

We'll figure something out.  

True enough, someone pointed out we could always make more babies.  

At first only a few thought it was a great idea.  A few stopped working and then started making babies everywhere they could.  It was hard, of course, but it was necessary.  Soon everyone was doing it.  In the streets, in buses, in schools, on rooftops, anywhere it could be done.  It didn't matter who you we're with, it had to be done for humanity.

Pretty soon all our labors bore fruit and we had a lot more babies for all our needs.

More babies for testing, more babies for leather and more babies for food.  Now we had everything we needed.  And everything went back to normal.  

Then, as suddenly as they had left years ago, all the animals came back.  We we're so surprised.  It turns out, the animals never left.  They only hid themselves away from view and had been observing us secretly all these years.  When someone asked them what prompted them to come out from hiding, the animals responded that there was no reason to hide anymore.  

All the humans had disappeared.

Posted at 05:33 pm by bisoy

February 8, 2008   05:43 PM PST
It took us a long time to get back to our exercises. We kinda fell out of the habit and the workload going towards the end of the year didnt' help. But we're finally back. Hopefully we can keep this up regularly.
February 8, 2008   05:38 PM PST
Here's a link to an illustrated version of the short story....


Mark provided the link

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