Writing Assignment #2

prompt: Famous first sentences OR Immediate action.

For your second writing assignment, I want a 1-5 page story (word processed, double spaced, blah blah blah. Do NOT go over 5 pages or else something really bad will happen).  Think about traditional narrative, think about character, setting, scene.  Give your characters a motivation, an obstacle to overcome.  Make them richer for the experience, or not. Try to entertain your audience.  Use crisp, economic language.  Do your best.

On Monday, we will be pairing off and sharing our initial drafts in class.  Bring something legible and fit for consumption by at least one of your peers.  Typed would probably be preferred.  If what you have on Monday is not complete, be sure to come with questions/ideas for where to take the story next.  I want you to get used to sharing your work with others and receiving feedback.

You’ll be turning in a draft to me on Wednesday, February 9th.

First sentence prompts from class:

  • A screaming comes across the sky.
  • This is the saddest story I’ve ever heard.
  • All this happened, more or less.
  • It was the day my grandmother exploded.
  • Elmer Ganty was drunk.
  • It was a pleasure to burn.
  • It was love at first sight.
  • Joey felt his romance with Daisy might ruin his life, but that didn’t stop him.
  • Miss Brook had the kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.
  • The first thing I remember is being under something.

If you have any first sentence prompts of your own, please to share them in the comments.  Here’s a link to some more.

Weekend reading / Listening

“A & P” by John Updike

A nice, innocent, heroic story.  Think about language when reading this piece.

“Two Men” by Denis Johnson

This is an audio link to a story about a man of questionable moral character.  I want you to challenge yourself by attempting to, if not relate to the character, at least try to understand his motivations for doing things.

Leave a comment by Monday. Discuss your emotional reaction to both pieces, briefly, succinctly and beautifully.

Sorry, no, this is next week. Apparently there’s a football game on tonight…. ?
Finally: Second Wind Reading, This Sunday @6:30 at The Top Hat. My friend and great writer Becky Margolis is reading fiction, and then there’s some poet who I don’t remember.  I’m going to keep asking you to come to these things, whether it turns out fruitful or not.