Except one. "Thirty Minutes" is 1668 words, has a recognizable plot, a main character with a weakness to overcome, rising action, and a fun twist at the end. I'd need to cut out all of the references to the Blue Rain storyline and fudge in other character history, but I bet I can force it into the parameters of the assignment. Yay, I have a plan!
The other assignment, for the setting and description class, is to write the beginning of a story set in your "primal landscape", meaning the place where you grew up. This is singularly uninteresting to me. I really have no interest in trying to re-create my hometown in prose. It's not that I don't love my hometown. I do. I just don't have any interest in writing about it.
I thought I would share the results of the first three assignments from each class here. Today, I'm posting the ones from the plot class. I'll introduce each one with a little explanation of the assignment or what we were supposed to learn. A couple of these are DW-based, but for the most part, I wrote original fiction.
Plot: Assignment 1
Assignment: We had to write around 300 words of a scene with a character with one concrete want and one weakness. Every other sentence had to be a rising action and had to use one of a list of twelve provided words. We had to use at least six of the words, which made us write at least twelve sentences. One of the words was "memory", which took my mind in a very predictable direction.
Every murder is essentially the same: they are committed because somebody wants something. As in every other instance when snippets like this popped out of her fragmented memory, Donna fought the urge to run and lock herself in her room to trace the rapidly fading trail in her mind. They were so few and far between, she grabbed at every hint of what happened during those two years.
"Don't know about you, but I could murder a cuppa," she said to her mother as she jumped up and strode to the counter where she could think about the memory under the pretense of making the tea. A fleeting image of a blond woman in a deep blue dress, intricately embroidered in gold, and draped with glass beads flashed in front of her eyes as she filled the kettle, but it made no sense. Her style - clothes, hair, manners, as well as the room around her - was definitely 1920s, pre-Depression, and to Donna, it had to be a trick, perhaps some recent film of The Great Gatsby blended with her broken remembrance of this woman. Staring at the stream of water disappearing into the blackness of kettle spout, Donna couldn't shake the impression that she had been at a cocktail party in 1926. She'd been aboard a ship.... no... in a box... no... hints of grass, lemonade, and mint... all of that, and more... and yet it was all beyond her grasp.
She liked to say that her memories of those years were like smoke, intangible, dissolving away as her hand swirled through them, but she knew she was wrong. Her memories were there, solid and real, but gathered together and locked away in a cage; if she tried hard enough, crushing the tea bags in her grip, she could catch glimpses of them between the bars. What she saw there, though it was nothing firm, nothing definite, nothing she could even put into words, made her glow with joy, and she had no idea why. She did know, though, she needed to stop thinking about it, for every time she tried this, tried to remember her past, tried to remember him (and who was he, anyway?), her head began to pulse and burn, and she thought she might explode. She didn't want that now, because oh, would Mum start a row if she knew I was trying to remember again, but one day, she'd do it, she'd force herself to remember, because she knew it was the most important thing, even if it killed her. For now, though, she switched off the heating appliance and brought the water over to fill the cups on the table in front of Mum, and smiled like nothing had happened.
Plot: Assignment 2
Assignment: We had to write 200 words of a story using the ABDCE story structure: a sentence of Action to hook the reader, some amount of Background of how the situation started, Development using rising actions, a Climax, and an Ending. The story had to be about the events that caused a trip to a doctor or a dentist - it could not be a story about the visit to the medical practitioner itself.
Smothering a giggle in the puffy sleeve of his winter coat, Jason squeezed the snowball in his mitten as he edged around the shed, his keen eye fixed on his target. That kid that lived in the corner house - a baby, really, three years younger than himself - was always trying to get in on the big, important things he and his mates were doing. At least he was easy to make cry: one good icy whack would do it. Crouching to keep hidden behind the low wall, Jason crept along, the crunch of his boots masked by the boy's merry chatter to himself as he played. He peered over the wall to judge the right moment to throw, when the boy would least expect it.
"That's my cousin, jerkface."
Jason whirled around just in time to see the girl upend the bucket over his head. Frigid water splashed down, soaking through his scarf under his coat, icy fingers creeping down his chest and back. Bawling, he stumbled home, the girl's mockery floating after him. He never got revenge, as his violent cold the next day earned him a trip to the doctor and he was sick for a full week.
Plot: Assignment 3
Assignment: This assignment was difficult for me. We had to write a story no longer than 500 words that had a character who wanted a concrete physical object more than anything in the world, then give that character a disease from which they would die within 24 hours. Then, the character needed to choose between getting their want and dying and getting the antidote but never getting their heart's desire.
I really had no idea how to set this up to make it believable - having the choice actually be difficult - and doing it within 500 words. I fudged a little by not making it a disease killing the character, but I'm pretty happy how it came out. As I think about it, maybe I should take the scene and work it into a bigger story; I think the Doctor migt have something to say about all of it.
One error in judgment. One hesitation. Five seconds and her ship had been set drifting, its reactor smashed and its engine silent. Through the chaos, Killikr't had kept her cool, launching from the wreck with only a minor crack in her thoracic carapace. She'd demonstrated to all observers her ability in the midst of catastrophe, and the chitin sealant hadn't yet set when the accident report was posted, detailing the errors committed by the pilot of the other craft and absolving her of all fault. The cadet nightmare come true, a collision during a training flight, had concluded with no casualties and had not prevented her graduation this night.
The moment she'd emerged from her larval shell and turned her bulbous eyes to the night sky, she'd wanted to soar among those distant pinpricks of sparkling light. Not just pick her way through the treetops and dangle from silken cords like everyone else, but actually fly, free from the constraints of gravity and atmosphere. Entry into the Space Corps was restricted to all but the very brightest students, the top 0.1%, and she'd spent her childhood with her mandibles buried in books. That work was rewarded with three years of hard labor as a cadet, but tonight, everything she ever wanted would be hers: a commission, a post as junior pilot on a star destroyer first thing in the morning, and shiny silver wings pinned to her sash.
Peering at the mirror, she checked her uniform once more and prodded the sealant with a claw to make sure it was hardened, then scurried up her compartment tube where, as she expected, Lifit'kit was waiting for her.
"Ready?" he chittered as he tapped his upper left arm joint in greeting.
"All my life."
"What's that?" His eyes were on the crack in her thorax.
"Just a split. Sealant fixed it up."
Going down on all eights, Lifit'kit leaned in close to inspect the spot. "Kill. This isn't good."
"It's nothing," she mumbled, trying to quell the fluttering that rose in her abdomen.
"It's not nothing. There're hairline fractures all across your shell." At she stomped away, he called, "I'm a doctor, Kill. I can see them."
She whirled back. "You can't tell them, Lif."
"I have to. It's my duty to the corps." He stood back up, his gleaming eyes fixed on her. "And to you."
"No! They'll ground me permanently!"
"Because you'll die. The moment that shuttle to your ship takes off tomorrow, you'll explode."
"Can't you fix it?" she begged, her panic evident in the high screech of her voice.
"You know I can't, not enough to get the flight restrictions lifted."
Killikr't hugged four arms around herself. "Lif. Please let me choose my own future."
"Please," she whispered. "This is all I've ever wanted. I don't know if I want to go on, stuck on the ground forever."
Turning away, she dragged herself toward the auditorium. With dark eyes, Lifit'kit watched her depart. "Goodbye, my love."