Saturday, January 17, 2015

Steering The Craft: Exercise 4, Parts 1-3

Exercise Four, Part One: Verbal Repetition

Assignment: write a paragraph of narrative (150 words) that includes at least three repetitions of a noun, verb, or adjective (a noticeable word, not an invisible one like “was,” “said,” “did”.

Part One, First Draft:

A wicked mother would have her daughter tracked by secret agents with the assignment to take her into custody the moment she overstepped particular boundaries her mother lay down. But when her daughter was set on leading a double life that would endanger security, what choice did she have? A well-meaning mother who ignored the mistakes of their child and allowed them to either stagnate or explode into utter disaster would be an idiot. I am a good mother, she assured herself, not only to my children, but to my kingdom, to my empire, I am the ruler of it all fending off the threats that would tear it apart. Without her hand, that hand that felt like that of a cruel mother, the death of her husband would have easily been the impetus for widespread death and disaster. The chaos storms raging over her lands and beyond would have been the least of their worries. She remained a good mother, strong and caring, keeping control by maintaining her husband’s life despite his unending coma and the prying questions of political types, the hoping-for-a-news-item reporters, and the annoying we-care-we-really-do relatives and friends. The nursing mother would bring this empire back to full health and keep it there.

Exercise Four, Part Two: Syntactic Repetition

Assignment: write a paragraph to a page of narrative (200-400 words) in which you deliberately repeat the syntactical construction, or the exact rhythm, of a phrase or sentence (or more than one)  several times.

Part Two, First Draft:

Ms. Heuwit sighed, she closed the letter, and she tossed it to the paper mountain on her desk. Enough with bills, enough with demands, it was time to put everything into her calling. Moon-lit ship, the ocean landscape, hung on the wall innocent and patient and calming. She walked to it, grasped the painting’s frame, and tilted it clockwise until it was upside down. How typical, this obfuscation, she muttered though she never changed her security. A click sounded, she left the ship there, and she went to the opposite wall to the stacked drawers. Without a pause, she pulled one open, and she reached in number 133 up to her shoulder. She fished around, yanked on a handle, and the drawers unfolded like a large hardbound opened. Her arm slid out, and she studied the new rows and columns of marked drawers.

Exercise Four, Part Three: Structural Repetition

Assignment: write a short narrative (350-1000 words) in which something is said or done, and then something is said or done that echoes or repeats it, perhaps in a different context, or by different people, or on a different scale. This can be a complete story, if you like, or a fragment of narrative.

Part Three, First Draft:

[Please read this Saturday, January 24th post for the first draft of Exercise 4, Part 3.]

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