Thursday, January 19, 2006

adventures in short short fiction, episode one

Tuesday was the first short short fiction class. As it was the first day, and none of the seven brave enrollees had brought any ssf of their own to workshop then and there, we got out early. We did do this exercise where the instructor--a twentysomething woman about whom the jeremy-jury is still out--wrote five sentences on the board and gave us like 10 or so minutes to fill in the blanks. They were:

1. She was the kind of person who ______

2. He always said ______

3. You could spot ______ from a mile away because ______

4. Someday he would ______

5. She always said ______

Try it if you think it is so easy. Don't worry, I'll wait. Come on, no pressure. Tap, tap, tap.


A+ said...

I always haaaated exercises like that. They rewarded being clever, which is valuable in writing, I guess, but not exactly the skills one needs to put together something worthwhile. Or maybe it's because I sucked.

Anonymous said...

1) ...hummed off-tune.
2) ...he loved beautiful singing
3) ...him...he wore a stove-pipe hat
4) ...would get a fedora, he swore
5) ...I'll marry the man who loves singing and isn't afraid to stand out in a crowd


Anonymous said...
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nina said...

Okay. I’ll give it one minute per question, no more (no time, should be working):
1.(She was the kind of person who) stared at the zit on your forehead during an entire conversation
2.(He always said) he liked to keep his women tall and his emails short
3.(You could spot) the new teacher (from a mile away) because of the sweat stains under her armpits
4.(Someday he would) tell her to go piss in someone else’s yard
5.(She always said) “keep your head to your own pillow, boy” whenever he tried to get closer.

jeremy said...

Anon 2:33: Nice bon mots, but a little sprawling for comment text of unknown provenance.

Kieran said...

Easy -- it answers itself in the form of a single sentence, viz,

(1) (2) (3) --- (4), (5).

jeremy said...

Now that's clever.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see the point. How does your ability to complete a sentence on the board relate to your ability to write short fiction? I mean, presumably, short short fiction is longer than one sentence, right?

1. She was the kind of person who is so well-rehearsed that you are left wondering if she is being genuine or, instead, is genuinely endeavoring to appear authentic.
2. He always said that I'd come looking for those blue shoes.
3. You could spot her from a mile a way because, despite her less-than-average height, she walked with a self-assured bounce in her step. She danced the jitterbug.
4. Someday he would appreciate these misadventures.
5. She always said that there are some things beyond even the most prodiguous imagination and this was one of them.

Anonymous said...

This [tap tap tap?!] doesn't have to be Nobel-laureate worthy, man.
Lighten up. Those adult center courses are quickies (except for those open studios without instructors).
Enjoy loosening up. Won't be much time for anything else.

Anonymous said...

"She was the kind of person who," he always said, before being interrupted.
You could spot this pattern from a mile away because it always followed the exclamation, "I can't believe she did that!". "Someday he would finish the sentence and move on," she always said.

jeremy said...

Anon 10:36: It's not really a short short fiction exercise per se, I think "She was the kind of person who..." is a general writing class exercise. It was featured in _Blue Angel_ and/or _Straight Man_, novels about creative writing teachers, if I recall.