Sunday, January 29, 2006

(ssf) zuzanna tries a life coach

(Yes, I recognize that Short Short Fiction seems to have taken over this weblog.) The assignment this week is to write a story that was 26 sentences long with each beginning with a successive letter of the alphabet. So sentence #1 is supposed to start with some word beginning with "A" and sentence #26 with "Z." I think the idea is that we are supposd to write a story in which it's incidental that the sentences are in alphabetical order, but no way I'm writing a story in which the sentences were in alphabetical order without that fact being part of the story somehow.

Anyway, after struggling awhile, I wrote a story. Then I realized the instructor would almost certainly begin the class by having everyone go around and say what their X word was, and I didn't want to explain. So I wrote another story with a more straightforward X. I think the second story is probably more appealing anyway. Which won't stop me from inflicting the first story on Those Who Dare To Click Here (a JFW exclusive!). The story's called "Zuzanna Tries a Life Coach" and currently clocks in at 429 words, 3 of which I hope to God mean what I think they do in Japanese. Non-self-esteem-immolating comments and suggestions welcome.

I'll post the other story either tomorrow or Tuesday.

Also: I dithered between Zuzanna and Zoey before choosing the former, so let me know if you have a preference.

Update, 9pm: Revised slightly to unsubtlefy something.

20 comments:

lago said...

If you mean "mizu no kokoro" it is a term from martial arts colloquially meaning "mind like water." The literal translation is "mind of water" but that's so boring.

jeremy said...

lago: Thanks.

Anonymous said...

A good 50 minute hour indeed.

Anonymous said...

Did you just swipe half of the story from Getting Things Done?

jeremy said...

I thought about looking back at Getting Things Done for (crazy, I know) research, especially to see if he has any cute phrases for working in circles, but I haven't.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

"Kokoro" literally means "heart," but the mind/heart distinction might not be a big deal in the context of the idiom. I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Since nothing creepy was being said, there must have been some creepy action creeping in? X-rated?

jeremy said...

Yeah, a real problem with the alphabet constraint is that it makes it harder to figure out edits. The Q sentence is supposed to be funny-creepy, but I don't think it works but can't come up with a good revision.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy just overuses the word "creepy."

Anonymous said...

Well, since we're apparently in a shrink's office, she/he would be used to such talk. But if the patient is 'acting out' inappropriately , then shrink would logically point out that it's getting creepy.
This would work as a scene in a play.

It's a very readable story and you work the alphabet in smoothly.

jeremy said...

I haven't used creepy in a short short story yet, so my affection for the word hasn't been overused in this context. Plus the original title of this was "--- tries a life coach," where --- is someone far more fond of the word creepy than me.

Anonymous said...

I meant that you misuse the word "creepy" in a more general sense.

jeremy said...

Overuses and misuses are two different things. Anyway, if you care to elaborate, I'd be interested in hearing more.

Anonymous said...

It's me, Jeremy, I'm just posting anonymously. And, no, you don't overuse or misuse "creepy". I didn't even mean to type "misuse" at all. It was always meant to be overuse.

Anonymous said...

What's 'creepy' is that there are a couple of anons commenting on the word. Confusing.
I think when the word comes into the story, it adds a dimension and interest — something to build on. Otherwise, it's just a dialogue (good one!).

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something, or does this story not contain an X or Z?

jeremy said...

It doesn't contain an X or Z. It's supposed to be a story about not finishing things, although I don't think that comes across as well as I'd aspired.

carly said...

Ohhh...my husband and I puzzled over this for a while and came to the conclusion that the speakers had realized that they were talking in alphabetics and zuzanna rebels against the order of the whole thing....

Anyway, I like the new one better, though 'Shortbread' is best

jeremy said...

Yeah, I think if I revise "Zuzanna", I'm going to have to make the life coach a little more creepy. My original thought for it was that Zuzanna would be way more neurotic and have more elaborate lines, and maybe I should have done it that way.

Anonymous said...

Why not do both?