Writing Exercises – Imperative

The second of the writing exercises I’m working on today is “Imperative.’ The goal is to write a story fragment that is 500 words long, but that only uses imperative commands. I though this exercise to be an act of punishment by some far off person who claims that this will bring me some kind of unexpected result.

It kinda did.

The exercise forces me into a particular structure of narrative. It forces things to move along, sentence by sentence, which as the author of the book I’m using notes all writing should do – one sentence takes you to the next in a progression that’s always moving forward.

It belabors the point a bit, but I can see what he’s getting at.

So here’s the snippet I wrote. It’s a part of some of my upcoming surprises.


Please step forward. Please remain still while our diagnostics take count of your various biometric data. Please inhale deeply, then exhale. Now, provide one sample for each of the labeled samples in the seven containers in front of you. Take as much time as needed to complete this task.

Please remain seated for the next several minutes and confirm all information on the touch screen in front of you. Be sure to sign off on all documentation with your approved fingerprint as use of any non authorized fingerprints could result in the activation of the countermeasures agreed upon in your employment contract.

Stand and go to the decontamination shower unit adjacent to the intake center area. Wash everywhere thoroughly, rinse, then repeat on more time. Do not wash and rinse a third time as this may scrub off trace elements that we will need to continue monitoring your wellbeing within the facility.

Please walk through the exit and into the dressing room area. Change into your approved clothing as seen in the bin at your feet. Be sure that all sleeves and pants tuck neatly into your gloves and boots. Fasten your headset firmly to your crown, placing the earpiece in your right ear. Adjust the microphone to a space approximately two inches from your mouth. Test the microphone by saying: Hello, my name is ___________ my employee ID is _________. Do not take this instruction too literally. Say your full name in the first blank and your ID number in full in the second, as leaving the blanks empty may also activate the countermeasures outlined in your employee contract.

When you hear the beep in your left ear as a low noise, raise your right hand. When the noise becomes unbearable, put it down. Repeat this again upon waking if you have gone unconscious as a result of high sonic resonance Lower your right hand before it reaches the previous threshold if unconsciousness has occured in prior hearing calibrations.

Remove your headset now, and do not wear it anywhere else but in the listening facility at the end of the hall. Proceed to your Medical Overseer. Provide him or her with any information he or she may request.

Please provide one secret to your Medical Overseer that no one else knows. Write this down in your provided spiral notebook with your approved number two pencil. Do not include the names of family pets, spouses, prior addresses, or the name of your god unless they are one hundred percent uncompromised and secret. Once your secret has been extracted, proceed to your Floor Manager.

Please read today’s instructions extremely carefully. Do not skip any text, no matter how boring it looks. Especially be sure to review the countermeasures of your contract as they may be deployed at any time for failure to comply with facility bylaws and regulations.

Proceed to your listening station. Make sure that it is kept orderly and tidy. Please place your listening gear back onto your head, plugging the jack into the port provided on your desk. Ensure that your spiral bound notebook contains no traces of your secret. Rub your number two lead pencil over the top page until you are sure there are no secret traces remaining.

Make sure you are comfortable.

Please begin listening to your assigned transmissions and allow the Harcourt Group to welcome you to your new home at the Transmissions of Interest Program.

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