I hate pinching syllables.

Welcome to Syllable-Pinching, where I post my fiction writings.

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The Whole Story

This piece is the fourth assignment for the course The Craft of Plot, the fourth course out of five in Wesleyan University’s creative writing course aimed for NaNoWriMo participants on Coursera. The instruction:

Write a story (up to 1,000 words) following the Action, Background, Development, Climax, Ending (ABDCE) structure that includes at least one full scene. Also, your story should have at least TEN sentences of rising action.

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Show, Don’t Tell

This piece is the third assignment for the course The Craft of Plot, the fourth course out of five in Wesleyan University’s creative writing course aimed for NaNoWriMo participants on Coursera. The instruction:

As with the first assignment, you will create another scene where someone wants a concrete physical object more than anything else in the world. This time, instead of focusing on rising action entirely, consider the full story structure.

Write for a few minutes, then give that character a disease where they learn they have only 24 hours to live. This is your first significant rising action.

Write some more, then give that character a choice between that object and an antidote. This is your second significant rising action.

Finish the story with a conclusion. Your final story should not exceed 500 words. If you are considering participating in the capstone and have a larger story in mind, you can consider this an opportunity to write one scene from it, but remember your reader will not have any outside context.

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What’s Up, Doc?

This piece is the second assignment for the course The Craft of Plot, the fourth course out of five in Wesleyan University’s creative writing course aimed for NaNoWriMo participants on Coursera. The instruction:

Write a very short story – not more than 200 words – about a trip to the doctor or dentist using the Action, Background, Development, Climax, Ending (ABDCE) structure. Identify the structural elements in your story. Remember, the action in this story isn’t the actual doctor’s office visit. The action is what LEADS you to the doctor’s office.

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The Escalator

This piece is the first assignment for the course The Craft of Plot, the fourth course out of five in Wesleyan University’s creative writing course aimed for NaNoWriMo participants on Coursera. The instruction:

Write a scene of 250-350 words featuring a character with one concrete want (a table, a moose, a toothbrush, anything physical is fine!) and one weakness. Use these two features to drive the action of the plot. Set up the story where every other sentence is a rising action. To help you come up with rising actions, use one word from the following list of twelve words in each sentence that has a rising action. In other words: Write your first sentence introducing your character. Make the next sentence a rising action using one of the following twelve words. Write your third sentence, which may introduce the weakness, then write your fourth sentence with a rising action that includes one of the remaining eleven words you haven’t used. And so on.

trick, memory, aboard, tiger, pretend, carrot, appliance, cage, rings, crow, filthy, explode

You must use at least 6 of the 12 words, but you are encouraged to challenge yourself to use as many of the words as possible while still meeting the word count.

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Point of View

This piece is the fourth assignment for the course The Craft of Character, the third course out of five in Wesleyan University’s creative writing course aimed for NaNoWriMo participants on Coursera. The instruction:

Write an active scene (a dinner, a romance, an adventure) from the first person POV of no more than 500 words. Now take the exact same scene and write it again from the omniscient POV, entirely from scratch and without looking at the first version. Submit both scenes, and further, please comment on what changes you discover as you shift from one POV (I am telling the story…) to the other (the all-seeing creator tells the story…).

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Location, Location, Location

This piece is the third assignment for the course The Craft of Character, the third course out of five in Wesleyan University’s creative writing course aimed for NaNoWriMo participants on Coursera. The instruction:

Create a scene (700-1000 words) with at least three characters. Two of these characters should have different viewpoints on the world; one should be an “insider” in the world you’re creating, and one should be an outsider. For example, you could set the scene in your country and have one person be native and one be a foreign visitor. The third character should be an eavesdropper on a conversation between the first two. Construct the story using no more than three speech tags (a speech tag is something that identifies a speaker, like “she said” and “Kevin replied”); instead, use the setting, descriptions, and idiosyncrasies to make the speakers identifiable. Be careful, however, to avoid caricature.

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Observation and Implication

This piece is the second assignment for the course The Craft of Character, the third course out of five in Wesleyan University’s creative writing course aimed for NaNoWriMo participants on Coursera. The instruction:

Go to a public place or local spot. Observe other people’s behavior, especially odd or intriguing acts. Create a character and put them in this place. Give them two traits: a behavior you observed and a negative trait about yourself. Now, write 300-600 words describing the character in the context of the place without writing anything directly about the character. In fact, write as if the character is not even present at the place during the time you’re writing it. Try to allow the reader to discover both of the character’s traits indirectly. This assignment is about implication, about leading the reader to see the character without directly describing him/her. For example, you might describe a handbag left behind, the contents of which show your character’s preferences and avoidances, longings and dislikes.

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