Fiction on the Map

The 21 Steps is told by following the story as it unfolds across a map of the world. Follow the trail by clicking on the link at the bottom of each bubble.

Fiction a la Google Maps… Hope everyone is having a faaabulous spring break.//Now back to writing about goats. Hrmph.

(From We Tell Stories: Digital Fiction from Penguin. “Six Authors. Six Stories. Six Weeks.”)

Fiction Exercise #1: 200-Word Sudden Fiction

Write a sudden fiction in exactly 200 words following these rules:

1.  A one-scene story that takes place on a dock.

2.  Characters:  a pilot and a runner, strangers to one another

3.  A second-person narrator

4.  Circumstance:  They’ve both lost something

Creating a link to a Blogpost entry

As you write your hyptertext reflections, you’ll want to create links right to specific entries as you discuss them.  To do that:

1.  Highlight the word in your text (in your reflection) you want to serve as the link to the entry. Say, you have written the following sentence, ” I am thrilled to be leaving nonfiction and going on to fiction; already I have explored the links on For Fiction Writers.”  You want to create a link of the words “For Fiction Writers” that will send your reader to that post.   You’d highlight those three words in your text.

2.  Open a new Firefox tab or window.  Find the appropriate blog, and click on the title of the post to which you want to link, i.e. “For Fiction Writers”  in the post below this one.  Once you’ve clicked on the title, up in the URL address line, you find the URL for that entry.

2.  Copy the URL, return to the other window, click on the icon of the chain link in the Editor line above the text box, and paste the URL in the window it opens there. (Make sure you have the relevamt words still highlighted in your text.)  Save.


For Fiction Writers

I have created a new menu item on the lefthand sidebar: “For Fiction Writers” with links to some helpful sites. Please add via comments! What are your favorite online fiction sites?

Also, I have listed all of your presentation dates up on the presentation tab.

100 word exercise (clothing)

Sorry this took so long to put up…i had some technical difficulties. But I can now edit the motherblog and all is well. Ok, so here goes.

Pick one article of clothing–your favorite shirt, shoe, earring, sock, tie…whatever. Write a 100 word short about your relationship with this piece of clothing.

 A pair of green-and-red-striped socks. Warning: to be worn on Christmas Eve ONLY. These socks shall not be slid onto smelly feet on any other day during the year. Do not wash in washing machine, as their integrity, both physically and metaphysically, may be at risk. Hand wash cold in mild detergent, hang dry. Should holes begin to form, try to limit your mobility, as they should not be sewn or mended with foreign thread. If you find that your feet no longer fit in the socks, assume it is because they always fit that way, you merely forgot since last year.

Updates–Fiction Syllabus Online

You can now find UNIT THREE  in the menu above, including examples from your tutors terrific. Please make sure you read through the page and let me know if you have any questions.

Also, I have steadily been adding to our Places Readers Go list on the upper left sidebar. Please add more sites in comments to this post. How about trying out six-word memoirs?

A fun exercise about place

>We are supposed to _want_ to see the great places of the world. But what if, in fact, we would much, much rather get home and for once get on top and _stay_ on top of the dandelion situation in the lawn?… Describe some place where great or infamous history was made that means very, very little to you
–Carol Bly, “Beyond the Writer’s Workshop: New Ways to Write Creative Nonfiction”, p284

Dialogue Exercise

-construct a piece using only dialogue
-make it creative non-fiction

“I think I should put you in bed, Sophie.”

“But Simone! You can’t go to sleep in the middle of a tea party, you just can’t. And also I think you forgot, but my name isn’t Sophie it’s Prince Fred and besides, you can’t leave the castle unless I let down the gate over the moat and the moat has water-dragons in it so I don’t think you should swim across it. You should probably just wait until I let down the gate—this is the moat here, all the way to the end of this hallway (I can stand in it because I feed the water-dragons so they know that if they eat me they won’t get any more food even if they get to eat me because they’ll get even more food if they don’t eat me) and this room is the castle and I’ll pretend I’m letting down the gate when I go like this.”

“Okay Soph—Prince Fred. I shan’t cross your moat lest I be eaten, but could you please let down your gate. It is two hours past your bedtime and I fear the king and queen may be back at any minute.”

“The king and queen, the king and queen! A ring and a bean, the king and the queen!”

“Prince Fred. Do you want to be in trouble with the king and queen?”

“I’m never in trouble because my mom and my dad like me too much so they are always taking my side.”

“Oh really.”

“Yes. Sometimes I even just pretend to be asleep when they come check on me and then when they leave I make a fort with my blankets and think about a lot of things.”

“You make a fort with your blankets?”

“Yes, I do, and sometimes I take my little flashlight that’s on my keychain and read and sometimes I just make shadow puppets but that’s sort of hard because I have to hold the keychain like this with one hand and then I can’t make eagles because I need both hands to make eagles and eagles are my favorite because you can pretend they’re flying when you go like this. See?”

“I see. So maybe we can go to your room and set up a fort so that you can make shadow puppets and I can hold the flashlight for you.”

“What a great idea! And then I can show you all my special blankets and the quilt that me and my mom are making and I get to pick out the squares of fabric and she sews them on. It’s really neat.”

“That does sound neat. Okay, you go brush your teeth while I put these teacups away, alright? Can you brush your teeth on your own?”

“Yes but maybe you should help me put the toothpaste on because sometimes I put too much and then my mouth gets really foamy and my dad tells me I look like a mad dog.”

“Okay. You get everything ready and change into your pajamas and I’ll be right there, sound good?”

(This is unfinished but I’m going to stop here…sorry I got a bit carried away. Please don’t feel obligated to write a piece this long. Good luck and have fun!)

100 Words or more: Smoke

During my last months in Helena, the smoke from the distantly burning forest fires covered the streets and the mountains in a gray veil, obscuring the valley and the hills. On some days, it blurred even the trees across the street, and you could feel it grating on your throat each time you breathed in; on worse days, it covered the sky, the only color in the vast grayness the blood red of the polluted sun, reduced to an ichorous sore hanging dead in the air. Sometimes, though, the sunlight was beautiful, when it split into crimsons and scarlets as it drifted towards the horizon. I can remember seeing our living room once coated in red at dusk, the couch and the coffee table and the piano pulsing in the warm and sinister light.

Revision Exercises

Hey guys: this came up in a couple of meetings with my group this week, and I thought it might be helpful for the group as a whole. If you’re looking for a fun way to start digging into your nonfiction — stranger studies, nonfiction shorts from last week, whatever you’ve got down on paper for the longer essays — some revision exercises are a great way to start looking at what you’ve written from a radically different perspective. Even if you don’t, in the end, end up going to the extremes that some of these exercises advocate, it came be a great way to break open a piece that’s feeling static. They’ll be helpful, I hope, as the semester continues too. Hope this helps, guys!

1. Cut one piece in half.
2. Put one  piece of prose into line breaks.
3. Put one poem with line breaks into prose.
4. Take the ending of the piece, and make it the beginning — write it backwards.
5. Change the point of view.
6. Change the verb tense.
7. Cut off the beginning and the ending.
8. Change the form or structure of one piece. 
9. Take scissors and physically cut up the parts of a piece, then rearrange. 
10. Stitch two pieces together, finding the link or common thread.