Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not as Good as He Thought

Last night was the last night of my class 1000 Words or Less.  I enjoyed the class very much.  It prompted me to limit my word choice and dramatically excise unnecessary passages, to try to narrow my storytelling down to the essential ideas.  Some stories are just too large to be limited to that size, but it was good practice anyway.

Last night we read our challenge exercises: a week before, we created writing exercises for each of us students.  One student was the focus and the rest of us brainstormed as to what kind of difficult assignment we could create for them.  I knew one woman hated the flawed narrator device, so her story had to use a narrator who was lying about something significant.  Another student was tasked to write a non-ironic, non-sarcastic children's book with strong Conservative moral underpinnings.

My assignment was difficult but completely impersonal: I had to write a "missed connection" Personals ad using only two-syllable words and never using the letter S, written by someone suffering from phantom limb syndrome but who had all of his arms and legs.  Difficult, but I did come away with a 374-word ad.  I just don't think the challenge spoke to my traits as an author.

I don't know how to take this.  Is my style so vague or my writing voice so weak that people can't identify any traits in me?

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