A Writing Exercise: 100 Word Story

As many of you know, this past semester I took a creative writing course. My professor would often give us journal assignments to complete for class. They would include different kinds of exercises and such that were meant to get us thinking and our creative juices flowing. Though I’ve focused mainly on poetry so far on my blog, this post is all about creative prose.

My professor challenged us to write a story in 100 words; no more, no less. I didn’t realize how difficult this would be until I actually started doing it. I ended up adapting a very very short story that I had written in the tenth grade to fit this 100 word limit (I’d say the original was probably about 300 words or so). Editing down the words in this story was very difficult. It helped me understand the concept of not writing more than is necessary. This is always something I’ve struggled with (I’ve often been called a wordy writer). Removing so much of the detail from the story pained me because I was afraid that the story would lose something without those bits of detail. I needed to find the perfect balance between getting the entire story across in an eloquent and informative matter and keeping the 100 word limit. Though I struggled doing this, I really think the challenge helped me to understand writing better. Sometimes you don’t need all the extra fluff. I handed my story in the next time we had class thinking nothing of it (I thought I did a good job but I didn’t think it was a masterpiece). The next class my professor ended up reading my 100 word story to the class, she really liked it and felt like it was a solid example of the whole concept of the exercise (sometimes I even surprise myself). So here it is, my 100 word story:

Flat Tire
Julie Miranto

The rain was pouring down in sheets making it impossible for Evan to see what he was doing. He fumbled with the tire iron as it slipped and slid in his hands. The wet bolts made it entirely impossible to take them off of the frame. He glanced up into the car where Shannon sat. She’d taken off her veil but the white of her dress could be seen puffing up around her waist. She opened the car door and knelt down beside him.

“At least we’ll have a good story to tell” And she kissed him on the forehead.

That’s it! Short and sweet. I challenge all the other writers out there (or anyone looking for something to do) to attempt the 100 word story exercise. It really was eye-opening!

From me for you,

Julie

Thinking and Feeling

It hit hard. Like a train crashing full force into her stomach before landing solidly in her gut, and that’s exactly where it sat, as if it was a heavy pain that pulled all her organs down to her toes in one quick shiver.

I wrote this line a while back in response to an event that had happened to me at the time. I’m not going to go into the details of what happened because that’s not the point of this post and also because it’s gone and past and there’s no harbored feelings toward it anymore (just this line to remember it by). The main reason why I posted this was to talk about the idea of writing when it comes to feeling. One of the first things I learned as a writer was how important it is to make the reader feel what you want them to feel. I thought this line was a good example of that.

In the moment when I wrote this line this was exactly how I was feeling. The moment that inspired this line had made me feel all kinds of ways and in order to make sense of this (as I so often do) I decided to write about it. The best way I knew how to do this was by describing the feeling from a point of view that wasn’t directly my own. In the end, I wrote this line and then stopped because there was nothing more to say. I had described exactly how I felt in 43 words and I couldn’t think of anything more to explain my thoughts. When I thought about relating to my reader I figured that any person could project their own experiences onto this quote. It’s general, and could be applied to many situations even though in my case it was attached to one specific event.

I had forgotten that I had even written this, and only recently found it on my computer after starting this blog and looking through my writing archives (yes, I had a whole word document dedicated to this one line). When I read it again I was instantly hit with the same emotions that I felt when I actually experienced the moment the first time. In that moment I think I really understood the idea of getting your reader to feel how you want them to feel (because if I could feel these emotions again simply by reading them, hopefully my reader could too). I guess my goal was to not only remind myself of this feeling but to also be able to project this feeling onto whoever else read this quote.

I don’t really know what the point of this post was except to discuss an aspect of creative writing, and also to highlight this line because it will probably never have anything more in front of it or behind it, but at the same time I find it really beautiful and figured it needed its time in the spotlight.

From me for you,

Julie