Today is officially the first day of spring, and here in Austin it seems more like summer. However, I will put my sass away and be thankful for all the lovely flowers in bloom (and bees.) Write a two page short story or one page poem starting with this line :
It was the first day of spring, I stepped out to the garden and …
It could be positive and ‘spring like’ or it could be completely pessimistic and strange. Follow the first line and let spring bring something fresh into your writing.
I have many fiction friends who are incredible writers and incredible readers. I keep them up on poetry, they keep me up on fiction. A friend of mine recently demanded I read Susan Minot’s short story ‘Lust.’ It blew me away. The form felt so effortless, but I know how skilled Minot must be to have accomplished such incredible style and prose. I am currently writing a non fiction essay, reading Minot’s story inspired me to model it after ‘Lust.’ I have not been able to find a body for my essay and believe it may find it through the exercise of vignettes The story inspired me in many ways and I hope it will inspire you for this weeks exercise.
First read ‘Lust’ and pay attention to the form, to the seamless shifts in story and tone. She does all the changes without introduction or explanation. Once you have sunk into the short story, try to write a story modeled after this form. Pick a word of inspiration, like Demise or Infatuation, and tell as many vignettes connecting to the title as possible. This week may not produce a work you stick with it, but it should remind you that we have to be as good (if not better) of a reader as we are a writer.
Good dialogue is unmistakable. It can electrify a piece of writing and bring an otherwise listless story to life. It can create tension from nothing, advance a stalling plot, reveal hidden motives, and add depth through subtext. Yet many writers—even those with years of experience—struggle with it. Why? Because crafting realistic dialogue is not the same as crafting compelling dialogue.
This week, to highlight the upcoming WLT workshop “He Said, She Said: The Art of Dialogue in Fiction,” write two pages of dialogue. Find your characters from a prior daily interaction you witnessed; an elderly couple in the market, two strangers at the bank, a cashier and teenager at the gas station. Try to focus on the dialogue, versus painting the scene. Allow two new voices to guide the writing, the freedom may take you to a place you would not have arrived out with out them!