|art © Edward Gorey|
|art © Edward Gorey|
See notes if you are unsure about what an adjective or adverb is, or what tense to use.
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Exquisite Corpses is a word game invented by the Surrealists in Paris during the 1920's. It is not a game as such, but a way of discovering accidental poetry.
To play, four or more people are each given a pencil and paper. Each secretly writes down an ajective, folds the paper to hide it and passes it to the next player. Each player then writes a noun, folds the paper, passes it on again, and so on through the sequence adjective, noun, adverb, verb, adjective, noun. When the sentences are complete, they are passed on once more and then read out. The two "the"s can either be added by the players at the appropriate moment, or inserted by the reader.
If you only have four or five players, you could drop the adverb, as ideally each player will only contribute one word to the finished sentence.
If you only have two or three players available, you could try another Surrealist word game called "Definitions". This game only requires two players. Each player writes down a request for the definition of something, such as "What is love?" or "What does the future hold for me?". The question is folded over and the paper is passed on. Each player then writes out the definition of something, such as "A small domesticated animal" or "Hydrogen and oxygen". The papers are then passed once more and read out. This leads to constructs such as, "Q: What is love? A: a small domesticated animal". A little care is needed when playing this game. Think of requesting a definition, rather than asking a question. "Which actor won an Oscar for True Grit" is no good. "What is an actor?" is fine.
Submit one word at a time for the catagory you select. If you are submitting a verb-phrase, such as "went to", or adjective-phrase, such as "bright blue", you should submit both the words at once.
Duplicated words will be rejected, and you will be told whether your word has been accepted or not.
An example Exquisite Corpse would be: "The purple (adjective) clown (noun) finally (adverb) ate (verb) the careful (adjective) watch (noun)".
I don't know how to describe tenses, but if you stick to the tense used in the above example you can't go wrong.
Avoid verbs like "walked", unless you append "around" to it, or something similiar. The verbs need to be actions performed on or towards another party, rather than being entirely personal. So "thought about" rather than "thought".
Submitted adjectives and nouns may turn up in either the first or second occurence. There is no need (and nor is it possible) to submit them twice.
Do not submit the definate articles ("the") - these are added by the program.
Words that describe things.
Examples: yellow, dimly lit, dirty, jealous, talkative, defeated, murdered.
Words that are things.
Examples: dog, storm, lamp-post, god, flood, stampede, mob, idea.
Words that describe the way you do something.
Examples: gently, greedily, solemnly, noisely, adversely.
Words that describe doing something to something else.
Examples: cleaned, went to, murdered, loved, thought of, forgave, chased.