Thursday, June 24, 2010

Creative Writing Class Assignment

Subject: FW: Creative Writing assignment

A Creative Writing professor told his class one day: "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting next to his or her desk.

As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back-and-forth.

Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students:

Rebecca (PINK)

Bill (BLUE).


(first paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(second paragraph by Bill )

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. " Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.


He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her.

"Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

( Bill )

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live.

Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through the Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam , felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized even poor, stupid Laurie.


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

( Bill )

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. " Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F--KING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I'm such an air headed bimbo. I guess I've read too many Danielle Steele novels!"



( Bill )




( Bill )

In your dreams, Ho. Go drink some tea.


A+ - I really liked this one.


R/T said...

Well, here is an off-the-wall response to the notion of paired authors:

Richard Prosch said...

Wait! I was in that class!

Todd Mason said...

My own incomplete (extracirricular) high-school short story collaboration, with now Prof. Maria Pak, while abandoned quickly did go a bit smoother than this Mars/Venus jest. (Heinlein/Heyer?)

Rob Kitchin said...

yeah, definitely A+

pattinase (abbott) said...

Heinlein-Heyer nails it.
Yes, I think we can all agree that they nailed their dismount.
Richard-We used to do this routine as a family years ago. It wasn't all that different with my son adding in sports figures and my daughter throwing in gangsters and Hollywood glamor girls.

Todd Mason said...

I remain puzzled as to why jokes are funnier for some folks if someone insists they are factual.

Though the fact of your kids' tendencies in such exercises is Very funny.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Just like some people scorn reading fiction-they're too busy to read made-up stories. Or they only watch sports and news on TV. Like sports is better than watching a drama or sit-com.

Chuck said...

Sounds like one person played all three roles - Rebecca, Bill and the Teacher. But too funny and I agree with the A+.

Frank Loose said...

Sports is better than watching a drama or sitcom. (smile)

Charles Gramlich said...

the dialogue at the end is especially good! I kind of like the SF piece, though. I'd like to read more.

David Barber said...

That was great! Enough said. :-)

Todd Mason said...

I think most of us have read enough sf and contemporary mimetic fiction like both the posited joke stories...or maybe I'm just living right...

Dana King said...

I've seen this before, and I always laugh. Thanks for reminding me.

I was doing some teacher in-service years ago when the facilitator thought it would be a good idea to break us into groups or four and invent a tandem flash fictin, each contributing a sentence. Ours went like this:

Female teacher: John started across the ice, unsure of its thickness.

Second Female Teacher: He heard it start to crack and tried to run back, but he was too late and fell into the lake.

Me: Instantly his testicles retracted until they were kissing the inside of his navel.

Male teacher (after a brief pause): You're an asshole.

The facilitator didn't let me answer any more questions the rest of the day.