In previous “spam game” exercises, I’ve suggested that you take one of those weird randomly-generated spam subject lines and imagine what product the email would be trying to sell if the subject accurately represented the contents of the email rather than being randomly generated. Then you use the product in a story, write a pitch for it, or something similar.
Today I’m going to give you a slightly longer list of possibilities:
- Take several of these subject lines and list the words individually down the side of a sheet of paper. Number them. If you have dice or some other sort of randomizer, use that to choose several at random. Otherwise just close your eyes and mark several with a pencil. Use this new set of words in one of the following exercises (or some other exercise that uses a random prompt) in place of actual spam headlines.
- Choose a subject line at random and imagine that you’ve received an email from someone important to you (best friend, beloved aunt, older sister, etc.) with that subject line. Write the email, or a first-person stream-of-consciousness from your point of view as you read it, or a story in which you receive that email.
- Choose a subject line at random, write it at the top of a sheet of paper, and free-write from it as a prompt. Just let go and draw random associations.
- Choose a subject line at random and use it as the title of a short story.
- Choose a spam email at random–one that includes non-randomized text–and study its structure. Write a short-short story duplicating the structure as closely as possible. For bonus points, use the subject of the spam email to give you ideas for the story.
If you think of other possibilities, feel free to leave them in comments below.
In case you don’t get as much spam as I do, here are some of the more interesting spam headers I’ve received recently:
- Complication skyscraper
- Evolution bodice
- Impeachment secede
- Indefinitely sherbet
- Inspiration checkpoint
- Phlegm glossy
- Pinup prodigal
- Technical wholesome
- Trust, nutrient ratio
- Trust, paper jogger