Sunday, March 11, 2007

Prefab Story

I have a new project this week, The Four Page Traditional Story exercise, as presented by Rick Hillis, in Now Write. Here's the "rules" for creating this story, which Hillis says he generally assigns to creative writing students very early in their semester, allowing them no more than three days to write it (don't know whether that's viable for me with my schedule, but it's the deadline I'm setting now at least).

  • The story is to be between three and five pages in length;
  • The action happens over a long weekend;
  • The story opens with a line of exposition as the protagonist watches the antagonist arrive;
  • The antagonist has something the protagonist wants or thinks he or she deserves;
  • Over the course of the weekend, the protagonist is presented with the opportunity of taking this object of desire...or not;
  • Important, this "thing" should have metaphorical suggestiveness. It should be the controlling metaphor and the title of the story;
  • As important, nothing is explained; we are told nothing or almost nothing. Everything - meaning, feeling, thought-unfolds through action, detail, description.

The object of desire...the protagonists friend arrives for a long weekend at her friend's cottage on the lake, unexpectedly bringing her grandchild (a toddler) with her. The protagonist, who is yearning for a grandchild of her own, becomes secretly angry with her friend for the way she feels she does not love or appreciate the child enough, and begins plotting ways to abscond to Canada with the child.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments--and it is so good to know that someone else does the same things I do--I love reading books about writing--I'm always on the search for new ones, and I have more than the local library! I followed your comment to your profile and found out that you have two other blogs! I had no idea. So now I'm looking forward to some happy reading on these blogs. I know I'll enjoy reading your responses to prompts, because that is what we do in our journal group--and I think we've used some of the same prompts, because I have the book "now Write!" Have you seen The Write-Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer? It's a very visual writing book that has some good prompts in it. The only thing is--the author wants you to actually write IN THE BOOK! And I have such a hard time with that--I think I'd do okay if I had two copies--one to write in and one to keep in good condition!

It is so exciting to converse with you--I think that is what makes blogging so wonderful--besides all the great reading, people make real connections with each other. thanks again!