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Donatella with Gianni Versace

GIanni Versace with his sister Donatella

One of the things that has helped my writing in the past two years is letting loose on random writing prompts: take any word, phrase, sentence and just run with it, time myself, and see where it takes me.

I usually find myself in unfamiliar territory.

It is like running in the woods that you knew in childhood, and suddenly you’re in an area you don’t know, that could be anywhere, not even in your woods. Maybe you’ve even time-travelled, or space travelled, but this is not where you’ve ever been before.

So for today, I decided to pick up the search terms that have brought in the most visitors to my blog this past month I’ve been napping. They are ( and I kid you not):

gianni versace 169
blood splatter 112
donatella versace young 61
bizarre 58
blood spatter 55
rivers 49

And so, here goes, completely at random.

Gianni Versace goes for a walk, and why not, we all like to go for walks. Well, the slightly less sedentary amongst us do. And instead of the Miami Beach, he walks today in the Malaysian tropics, a tropical jungle, if you like.
Why, you ask me?

Well the reasons are clear enough. Firstly, that is one of the spots I’m familiar with, and I’m the writer and I can write any old crap I want, and secondly, he is dead, and from what I know was murdered, and maybe still wanders, as victims of homicides are rumored to do from time to time. Nothing remotely unusual about that.

So Gianni goes for a walk, calling out for Donatella Versace, for she is the only woman in his gay life, his sister, his muse, his daughter by proxy, the one who inspired crazy creations and the one who inherited his glittering empire. Perhaps he wants to ask her what she is up to with is empire, are the slashed-to-the-waist dresses selling well? Does she still do bling-bing handbags ?

And why is she looking more alien than human? What has she done to her body, her face, her eyes? No matter what she looks like as long as she can hold on to that trashy chic for her brand, he’s happy. There is the matter of the blood spatter to clear up though.The one in front of his mansion. He still sees it every time he goes there, and doesn’t recognize a single one of its bizarre inmates.

But she fades away, she was only asleep and dreaming when he called to her. But now she has woken up. And unlike him, she still can only be at one place at a time. She probably dreamt of talking to him in a tropical jungle somewhere, looking pale, his eyes bloodshot, a red hole in his forehead.

That red hole bothers Gianni, he can feel it, and he would like it to fill up. Like in the days when he was young, and his brow smooth. He might look at himself in some water, jungles are not the best places for mirrors. Sure ironic what people come to. From a life of mirrors to one where there are none. A lake then, a pond, a river. Surely there are rivers in jungles?

Gianni potters about looking for the river, forgetting why, because that hole in his head has affected his memory. He hears water in the distance, and comes to a small waterfall overlooking a pool of still waters. And he looks down at his reflection. There in the pool is Donatella, La Donata, the one given by God, playing and laughing, a eleven-year old in pigtails.

That is when the timer ran out, and I have a strange piece of writing exercise 🙂

But meaningless exercises like this warm you up to your actual writing for the day, be it a boring long article or the chapter of your upcoming novel.

Gianni Versace finds Malaysian waterfall

Gianni Versace finds Malaysian waterfall

I’m off to do what I call my bread-and-butter writing now, all charged up and raring to go!

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • An interesting exercise.

    • damyantig says:

      It is great for removing writer’s blocks, Gladys, and keeps me writing everyday. 10 minutes are not hard to find if there is a will, even in the busiest day!

  • DarcKnyt says:

    Well, at least the Versaces are good for something, right? 😉

    How long do you do this for, Damyanti? How long do you freewrite? Ten minutes? More? Less? Just curious.

    • damyantig says:

      Usually I start with 5 minute short shorts, then work my way upto 10, 15, 20 minutes. Today’s exercise on the blog was 10 minutes.

      If I haven’t run out of steam by the time the timer rings, I just go on. But I usually find that some of them are great kernels for future writing.

      You can get more on this in “Fast Fiction” by Roberta Allen.