Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Task 4

Firstly - and most importantly - welcome to the blog to our new WORDVOODOO MODERATORS. All of our Danube bloggers should now have TWO moderators, dedicated to commenting specifically on your attempts each fortnight, and giving you suggestions for improvement.

Please feel free to respond to their comments, and enter into a dialogue about your work too if you can: this will be a fantastic way to improve your writing even further.

Now for Task 4. This is the last PROSE task for the time being. Next time we begin the difficult journey towards writing effective, skilled poetry. But, for now, one more exercise in PROSE FICTION.

For this week's task, I would like you to experiment with a cyclical narrative structure (i.e. one which starts precisely the same as it ends.)

Below is a (very) short story I wrote for a G10 class a couple of years ago. As you can see, one of the rules I set myself was that I was going to begin and end with the same few sentences; as for how I tried to achieve this (effectively and originally), well that was the challenge.

Your task is to write a short narrative which does exactly that. It must begin and end in the same (or ALMOST the same) way. And to make it easier, I am going to give you your opening (and therefore your conclusion too). The rest is up to you...
The clouds hovered like evil angels, something malevolent in the red from the rising sun. I'm no sailor, but the adage holds firm: red sky at morning...
And to help you some more, here is the piece I wrote myself:
I’m not waving goodbye to anybody. There isn’t any point. They aren’t interested in me really anyway; they are here for themselves.

Why did she have to go? How could she leave us behind? What did she think I was going to do without her? That’s all that is going through their heads; not a thought for me.

They never really liked me, to tell the truth. Nothing violent, just a cold, simmering antipathy which trickled between us whenever I was around. They never said as much. Oh, no, that would have been too honest. Why tell someone what you feel when you can insinuate as much through a look, a sigh, a casual avoidance? Their bodies said, “Please steer clear of us. There’s something about you that’s not normal. ‘Not normal’ scares us. So leave us alone.”

Of course, when I told anyone about this, they thought I was mad. Paranoia; that’s what my teachers said. “That girl, she thinks the whole world is against her, when no one’s done anything!” “I’m tired of telling her this.” “Why can’t she just get on top of life, rather than almost asking life to get on top of her?” They grew tired of the girl who they heard crying wolf, even though, all the time, the wolf’s teeth were gnawing away at her soul.

Look: there are the girls themselves. One of them is even crying. Real tears chasing down her icy cheeks. I don’t feel sorry for her. I know you’ll think me just as cold, but I don’t. You didn’t see her with her heel on my forehead, or my torn hair in her claws. It wasn’t her crying then, I can assure you.

The pipes were stronger than I thought. I’d studied them for weeks, but still a part of me wasn’t sure. They will snap. The changing rooms will flood. The teachers will come running. And paranoia will be scooped up again. What on earth do you think you were playing at? What were you thinking? You could have killed yourself!

There was no flood, though. Metal proved more reliable than flesh and bone; and stronger too. It was my neck that snapped. A clean break. Quick too. I swear I could hear it, but maybe I’m wrong.

So I’m not waving goodbye to anybody. There isn’t any point. They aren’t interested in me really anyway; they are here for themselves.
Any questions, or if you are unsure in ANY way about how to excel in this task, just email me and I will explain.

In the meantime, I shall EXPECT you all to be demonstrating that you are learning from all the comments being posted on your work. After all, if you continue doing exactly the same things, despite the feedback you are being given, the process becomes pointless. Above all, please take some risks - with language, grammar, syntax (sentence structure) and narrative. Do things differently! Try out new techniques! Write in different ways to how you are used to doing! (And have some fun!)

Good luck!

Your deadline, as promised, is midnight on Tuesday 23rd November.


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