Writing Exercise

by | January 6, 2014 | Writing Exercise | 7 comments

By Ashley Lister

Happy New Year. In a bid to keep things lively around here, I’ve decided to alternate each month of 2014 with a writing exercise one month and a poetry exercise the next month. This month we’re looking at one of my favourite writing exercises: the swiftie.

Tom Swift was the central character in a series of books produced between 1910 and 1933, the majority of which were attributed to author Victor Appleton.  One of the characteristic (and much parodied) features of the narrative in these stories was the speech attribution. These attributions, usually adverbial, have become the source of an entertaining parlour game where the attributive adverb has to be humourlessly linked to the content of the sentence, usually with a pun.

“We must hurry,” said Tom swiftly.
“I’m working as a security officer,” she said guardedly.
“I have a cold,” he said icily.
“Do you want to see my pussy?” she purred.
“But I asked for a cabernet sauvignon,” Tom whined.
“I was just looking at pictures of my mother,” Oedipus ejaculated.

Take a shot at producing a small handful of your own swifties in the comments box below. It goes without saying that these swifties are entertaining as a writing exercise, and a great way for warming up your pen hand and getting words on the page, but they should not enter into serious attempts at fiction unless you’re determined to stop your readers from enjoying your work.

Ashley Lister

Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his second title published under his own name: Swingers: Female Confidential by Ashley Lister (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753513439) Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.


  1. kathleenbradean@yahoo.com

    "I planned to go as Captain Hook this Halloween," he said offhandedly.

  2. Ashley R Lister

    Kathleen – that is so clever.

  3. Lisabet Sarai

    "Grease me up," he pleaded lubriciously.

  4. Lisabet Sarai

    "Ah, yes! Your bottom is starting to glow a nice bright pink," she commented rosily.

  5. Lisabet Sarai

    "This is such a delicious way to waste time," she added lazily.

  6. Ashley R Lister

    Lubriciously and rosily? Lisabet – I'm in awe!


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