In my tutorial on commas, I used examples with blond and blonde in them and then explained that one of the changes in the writing world was the usage of blond and blonde. Most dictionaries and writing guides now show that blond refers to a man and blonde refers to a woman.
I went on to add this.
Here’s an interesting thought for you. In creative writing we occasionally want to mislead our readers a bit to add some question to whatever we’re doing. Think about writing a mystery and your antagonist is a man; you might put in the statement, “The criminal had blonde hair.” That might lead your reader to think the antagonist was a woman. Is that honest? No, probably not, but it’s a good tool for us.
This week I’m going to ask you to be dishonest with your reader.
I want you to write a short story about something that we’ll accept as being true. Then write the same story with different details showing why the first story was actually wrong.
Why? If you ever decide to write a mystery, you have to be able to introduce some question about what the truth actually is.
This Week’s Challenge:
Using prose or poetry, write two short stories. The first must seem to be true. The second must show why or how the first one was actually false.
You once failed a test in school. Write a story that explains you failed because the girl next to you kept leaning over, trying to copy from your paper. Then, write the same story explaining that you failed the test because you didn’t study.
In your first story, the new robot you designed went berserk and destroyed millions of dollars of scientific equipment because you failed to ensure the proper safeguards were in place. In the second one, you prove the safeguards were in place but were removed by a jealous coworker.
As the owner of the company, you make all the decisions but you rely heavily on your administrative assistant. You just lost out on a major contract because your competitor underbid you. In the first story, you find that your assistant told his girlfriend about the deal and she shared that information with your competitor. In the second story, you find out that your boyfriend was the one who leaked the bid information.
Super easy for most of us. First story, you’re a writer, submit a novel to a publisher, and are turned down because (insert any one of fifty publisher excuses). Second story, you submit your novel to a publisher and are... your choice here!
Watch Out For:
Make sure your first story appears to be true. Use the second story to show us how you lied... uh, I mean how you misled the reader in the first one.
Hmm, a little skimpy in quantity this week, but still rich in quality. I’ll remind you that these authors worked hard to respond to this challenge and it would be courteous of you to check out each of the following.
satwe matching dialogue sept 15 by karen vaughan
Make them Match (Saturday Writing Essential) by Pam Brittain
Make Them Match (Saturday Writing Essential) by Len Maxwell
Weekly reminder: Don't forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida's article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!). Also, try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.
- Put this challenge statement at the beginning or end of your submission so readers will know what you’re supposed to do.
Challenge: Using prose or poetry, write two short stories. The first must seem to be true. The second must show why or how the first one was actually false.
- There is a limit of three submissions from each member per day. If you’re extremely prolific, spread out your work and post only three submissions per day.
- Post to Gather Writing Essential.
- Tag your submission with SatWE.
- Include (Saturday Writing Essential) as part of your title.
- I ask that you make your submission(s) by next Friday afternoon.