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Reggie
22-01-08, 10:47
So I'm already overdue for my coursework and I've yet to form any ideas that I might like to use for writing a short story for my English lang/lit coursework.

If any of you guys can help me in any way I'd appreciate it cause its starting to get a bit desperate. I'm so frustrated at myself for after a good few hours (collectively) of thinking, I still can't even begin.
I'd like to look at either politics, fantasy, something slightly abstract or something that involves character development.

That's all I know but the problem is, I'm not sure how to do this so that its within a 1000 words and doesn't either sound overly complicated, contrived or just too simplified altogether.

Obscure
22-01-08, 10:55
With only one thousand words it's best to stun your audience with a short yet good description of something. Explain the characters views and objects around them, make sure the plot sets into place from the start and then wow them with a big finale ending.

I did one but I can't find it at the moment but I explained how the world is full of cruelty and torture and these evil creatures keep destroying / eating them and killing their brothers and sisters. No one talks in it and it's pure description.
Well the big finale was that it was in the eyes of an animal and humans are the evil creatures using the animals for livestock.

There you go XD

Basic and easy plot in five minutes but if you write in the right context it will surely wow your audience.

McGloomy
22-01-08, 11:00
I did one but I can't find it at the moment but I explained how the world is full of cruelty and torture and these evil creatures keep destroying / eating them and killing their brothers and sisters. No one talks in it and it's pure description.
Well the big finale was that it was in the eyes of an animal and humans are the evil creatures using the animals for livestock.
Wow! Reminds me of a Sci-Fi story where the aliens turned out to the humans and the other way round. :D

Reggie
22-01-08, 11:15
With only one thousand words it's best to stun your audience with a short yet good description of something. Explain the characters views and objects around them, make sure the plot sets into place from the start and then wow them with a big finale ending.

I did one but I can't find it at the moment but I explained how the world is full of cruelty and torture and these evil creatures keep destroying / eating them and killing their brothers and sisters. No one talks in it and it's pure description.
Well the big finale was that it was in the eyes of an animal and humans are the evil creatures using the animals for livestock.

There you go XD

Basic and easy plot in five minutes but if you write in the right context it will surely wow your audience.

Wow that's sounds like a great idea and its right up my street. I wouldn't mind adopting something like that which looks at our own species and questions whether we're so great as we think we are (The arrogance of humans I call it).

I like how you didn't have anyone talk, it kind of remains that personalisation that you might usually get with a story so that you achieve a convincing critical analysis. :D

Conway
22-01-08, 11:34
My best advice would be to limit your subject to a scene that has both a conflict and an immediate resolution. I had a similar experience in my Creative Writing course; we tackled Flash Fiction, a story that's only within 800 words. As much as possible, I tried to avoid putting in too much detail into the passive elements of the story (e.g. environment, setting, circumstance, etc.); rather, I focused the entire exposition on how my characters interact with each other and how this interaction leads to the final resolution. More often than not, when I was thinking about possible subjects that can manage to come off as, in your words, neither "overly complicated, contrived or just too simplified altogether," I ended up writing about about stuff like this:

2 characters observe a specific scene (perhaps a couple fighting) and both characters end up 'changed' by what they saw as a resolution (after some interaction about a related experience)
Character A confronts Character B; your typical man vs. man set-up, only that this doesn't tackle larger-than-life conflicts, immediately given resolution in the end
Man vs. Himself; a third-person or perhaps a first-person reflection of a character that solves his or her dilemma in the end

I think it's important to note that the key to have an effective flash fiction is to have a big impact in the end. Obscure's example is a perfect one, in that while there aren't any real conflict resolved, the impact of the whole exposition telling us about how man see animals as cruel, etc., and in the end countering everything with a snappy change of perspective is tangibly there.

Anyway, I don't claim to know too much about these things, but I hope I could help. Good luck, Tom. :tmb:

Reggie
22-01-08, 11:40
That sounds interesting. I've always wanted to take a creative writing course because I do actually love writing stories its just coming up with ideas for short ones when your creative energy is a bit low in this instance that causes problems.

I'll take note of this flash fiction method sounds like a helpful tool to focus what's being written into something that will have an impact whilst avoiding the pitfalls I outlined in my first post. :)

myrmaad
22-01-08, 11:59
With only one thousand words it's best to stun your audience with a short yet good description of something. Explain the characters views and objects around them, make sure the plot sets into place from the start and then wow them with a big finale ending.

I did one but I can't find it at the moment but I explained how the world is full of cruelty and torture and these evil creatures keep destroying / eating them and killing their brothers and sisters. No one talks in it and it's pure description.
Well the big finale was that it was in the eyes of an animal and humans are the evil creatures using the animals for livestock.

There you go XD

Basic and easy plot in five minutes but if you write in the right context it will surely wow your audience.

Wow! That's Brilliant!

My best advice would be to limit your subject to a scene that has both a conflict and an immediate resolution. I had a similar experience in my Creative Writing course; we tackled Flash Fiction, a story that's only within 800 words. As much as possible, I tried to avoid putting in too much detail into the passive elements of the story (e.g. environment, setting, circumstance, etc.); rather, I focused the entire exposition on how my characters interact with each other and how this interaction leads to the final resolution. More often than not, when I was thinking about possible subjects that can manage to come off as, in your words, neither "overly complicated, contrived or just too simplified altogether," I ended up writing about about stuff like this:
2 characters observe a specific scene (perhaps a couple fighting) and both characters end up 'changed' by what they saw as a resolution (after some interaction about a related experience)
Character A confronts Character B; your typical man vs. man set-up, only that this doesn't tackle larger-than-life conflicts, immediately given resolution in the end
Man vs. Himself; a third-person or perhaps a first-person reflection of a character that solves his or her dilemma in the endI think it's important to note that the key to have an effective flash fiction is to have a big impact in the end. Obscure's example is a perfect one, in that while there aren't any real conflict resolved, the impact of the whole exposition telling us about how man see animals as cruel, etc., and in the end countering everything with a snappy change of perspective is tangibly there.

Anyway, I don't claim to know too much about these things, but I hope I could help. Good luck, Tom. :tmb:


I've never heard of this method, but it sounds quite effective :tmb:

Last semester I did a study of Minimalist, Raymond Carver, a brilliant postmodern era writer, whose aim was to pare pare pare all the nonessentials out, but leave the effective in. He called it delivering "news" with beauty and economy, and "saying exactly what you want to say, and nothing else".

I love him so much because as a poet, I get that, but it's damn hard to do in prose. Something I need to work on.

http://www.whitman.edu/english/carver/stories.html

A Small Good Thing by Ray Carver (http://wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/english/courses/eng201d/asmallgoodthing.html)

Conway
22-01-08, 12:17
I've never heard of this method, but it sounds quite effective :tmb:
Well, as a Bachelor of Secondary Education-Major in English sophomore and a future teacher, I don't really claim to know much about literature. You could say that it's just an off-shoot of the more theoretical stuff taught in English education. :o Suffice it to say that when I write, I do so in the best possible comfort level I can achieve, and more often than not, that means devising my own way to get to the details of writing.

Last semester I did a study of Minimalist, Raymond Carver, a brilliant postmodern era writer, whose aim was to pare pare pare all the nonessentials out, but leave the effective in. He called it delivering "news" with beauty and economy, and "saying exactly what you want to say, and nothing else".

I love him so much because as a poet, I get that, but it's damn hard to do in prose. Something I need to work on.
Hmm. That's interesting. I really like how the minimalist point of view is portrayed as 'news with beauty and economy.' I think I can liken that to Creative Non-Fiction, in that it is mostly what the writer really wants to say in raw as a person, but never leaving out the descriptive details to add life and art to the writing.

Necromanser
22-01-08, 12:19
I'm no expert but the first thing I do before writing a story is draw.I draw all of the stuff that pops in to my head and slowly a plot is formed.

myrmaad
22-01-08, 12:19
Exactly. All his stuff is "short story", Conway, I added a couple links. :tmb:

Conway
22-01-08, 12:31
Exactly. All his stuff is "short story", Conway, I added a couple links. :tmb:
:D Thanks! Another source of inspiration. Nice new avatar, btw! :tmb:

myrmaad
22-01-08, 12:32
:D Thanks! Another source of inspiration. Nice new avatar, btw! :tmb:

I love it!! JUSTIN RAWKS!!

Greenkey2
22-01-08, 13:55
All of the above really helps get the ideas going :) :tmb: You could also try generating random lists of objects, places, the weather, types of people etc, and pick them from a hat until you have seven or eight different things. Then go wherever your inspiration takes you. If nothing else, it's a great exercise in spontaneity :D

Good luck Reggie :hug:

tampi
22-01-08, 14:57
Nice ideas everyone :)
I'm writting a Lara's adventure here http://www.tombraiderforums.com/showthread.php?t=116345 :p. If can it help you :o


But Reggie, I am a bit puzzled. :confused:
With the ideas and posts that you write,.... that you need to get help to write a story....???
You can reproduce any "thread of thoughts" written in this forum :D
You have great arguments :)