PURPOSE AND INSTRUCTIONS
This assignment challenges you to make up a story. About people. Make it credible with no requirement for suspension of disbelief. Some change must occur in one or more of the characters, either in thinking or feeling.
Present the entire story in two hundred and fifty words. Include in your story these elements: 1) the protagonist’s core desire or want (may be implied or stated) and the characteristic that will relate to the plot. 2) What the major conflict or barier-to-achievement is. 3) The resolution of the conflict.
Agree that stories can be character-based or plot-based. Since you’re writing literary fiction, make your story character-based, that is, make the character’s traits drive the action and the resolution of the plot. Instill human choice. (Genre fiction is plot centric. more fatalistic with characters more like puppets on strings doing the will of the storytelling puppeteer.)
EXAMPLES OF KNOWN STORIES.
Naive Little Red Riding Hood disobeys her mother’s advice (desire–go to grandma’s; flaws–disobedience, naivete) to talk to no one on her journey to Grandma’s house but she talks to a wolf (conflict) in the woods and the wolf (hungry) devours her grandmother and attacks Red (resolution). DOING WRONG DRIVES THE PLOT.
Sisters-and-stepmother-despised Cinderella (wants a husband) meets a prince (wants a girl) at a ball who, recognizing Cinderella’s kind nature, falls in love with her. But Cinderella disappears (conflict) back into her impoverished, in-servitude origins. A shoe is left behind and the prince finds Cinderella (choice, she probably left the shoe) by determining which girl fits the shoe (resolution). LOVE DRIVES THE PLOT.
Note that there are different interpretations that make every writer unique. The key is finding what your characters want and do to fulfill that want and the cause and effect that results.
EXAMPLES OF IMAGINATION GENERATED STORIES.
Seeing or hearing of a character or situation that you think might make an interesting story (or scene) and working through a character-based structured outline for the story. This gives the story action, purpose, drama, and consistency that will serve you well as you write the story.
Challenge. A homeless beggar begging on a median in the middle of a busy highway who’s tattered clothes were once stylish and expensive.
Imagined story outline. John is a single parent father. (want–raise child) His only daughter is killed by a drunk driver while riding her bike. The driver is never charged (conflict–no justice). John sets out to avenge (new desire) the death of his daughter. After repeated attempts he traps the driver and is about to maim him when he realizes the evil of his plan, and lets the man go. (resolution)
Challenge. Pretty girl about twenty sitting on a bus.
Imagined story outline. Cathy loves Bobby who does not love her. (Desire–Bobby to love her.) Bobby is to take a cruise with his fiancée. (Want–to marry fiancée.). Cathy secretly signs up for cruise determined to discredit fiancée (falsely) and convince Bobby to love her, Cathy. (Conflict.) She is successful but suffers guilt for having unfairly hurt and demeaned the innocent fiancée. (resolution)
WHAT TO DO.
-> Make up three stories as directed above. Each one no more than 100 words.
-> Submit stories for comment and ideas.