Attentive Resistance

ENGL210 Introduction to Creative Writing

First fiction assignment (due Sunday at 6pm)

This short story is attributed to Hemingway:

   For sale: baby shoes, never worn. 

1). Consider the following questions about this tiny text (you don’t need to respond on the blog, but think about it!):

What does a story need in order to be a story?

What questions does this story leave you with?

What do you think is happening beneath the surface of these six words?

Is the amount of what’s left unsaid unsettling? Interesting? Annoying?

2). Write your own super short fiction and post here by Sunday at 6pm. 

a). Your piece should be no longer than 100 words. The topic or inspiration can be anything you like.

b). In addition, read all your classmates’ pieces and write a short response to ONE of them (2-4 sentences). Your response can address the above questions that you considered when reading Hemingway’s super short story. For example, what makes this a story? What questions are you left with? What is happening beneath the surface? Etc.

****Respond to a post that has not yet been replied to (so that everyone gets feedback).****

Happy writing!

22 thoughts on “First fiction assignment (due Sunday at 6pm)

  1. 1)A story needs to have an idea and a portion to back it up. No matter what it just needs to have a basis and things to go off of said basis. I wouldn’t classify this necessarily as a story, but a basis to lead up to one. This though is classified as a story and I think this is because it is a broad idea to allow one to think of what is to come. This story leaves me with the question of, “Why ?”. ” Why are these shoes never worn ?” , “Where’s the baby ?” “Why are we selling the baby’s shoes ?” Behind the surface, honestly this story is really sad. It could honestly just be that the speaker is just selling new baby shoes, but at the same time, the way they word it makes it sound like they are selling a deceased baby’s shoes. It makes you feel unsettled and left wanting to know what the speaker means. Especially if your first impression is something as dark as what I thought, you wish it wasn’t true.

    2)This is story of Pedro the penguin. He’s an accountant. Every morning Pedro get’s up with a cup of juice and brushes his beak. At around 9 he hops into is car with his top hat and briefcase and drives his Toyota Corolla to Peter Panda’s Pristine Pompous Accounting Service. Yeah.. we hate the name too. Pedro finds a spot, parks his car and hobbles inside. He finds
    his cubicle and proceeds to type on his laptop,but something was wrong today. Something about Pedro was…..different today. He didn’t feel like doing work. He didn’t feel like being Peter’s WINGman today. So instead, he want to the printer and stuck his whole face on the scanner, and proceeded to print. Then he got up and walked out smile on his face.

    1. What makes this short fiction a story is that it has a person (Pedro the Penguin) and a place (home and Pristine Pompous Accounting Service). The story is told in a third person narrative, encourages the reader to become engaged with the character and form some empathy for Pedro seemed down. But what made him happy was by doing something that would get an ordinary worker in trouble, which is scanning his face on the photo copier. Reading this story created a lot of imagery for me, was able to picture where he worked and driving to work in his car not having the best of days.

    2. This story of Pedro the Penguin leaves you with questions about why Pedro does not feel like being Peter’s wingman today, and who Peter is. Parts of the story that are left unsaid leave the reader feeling not unsettled or annoyed, but interested. It also leaves the reader with just enough information to jump to their own conclusions about what is going on in the story, and allows readers to engage in the story and make their own predictions.

  2. Samantha Aversano
    A little girl was going to visit her grandmother.
    She skipped along the sidewalk.
    She had flowers in one hand and her mothers hand in the other.
    Her grandmother was just through a monumental black gate.
    When they finally got to where her grandmother was, the little girl realized she wouldn’t be getting cookies at this visit.
    She placed the flowers down “I miss you, grandma.”

    1. This short story has (like all stories need) characters, and a rising and falling action that serves as guidelines for the direction of how the story is taking shape. ie : The little girl going to visit her grandmother as the rising action, and her realization that her grandmother has passed away as the falling action.

  3. 2) One morning a young boy named Henry woke up, startled by a loud *BOOM* that came from outside. He got dressed and alerted his brother and parents of what he heard but they all rolled over and assumed he woke up from a nightmare. So Henry decided to go outside into the backyard and find out what caused the loud noise. As he approached the back part of the backyard ( was a car port now turned into a garden) he saw something glowing. As he slowly approached the glowing object he discovered that it was a large shinny golden egg.

    1. What I noticed was that it has the following elements of a fiction story: characters- Henry and his family members
      Setting- Henry’s home and the backyard.
      background- golden egg – reminds me of jack and the bean stalk “golden egg laying goose in the sky”
      Plot- Henry heard a sound went to alert his family then went to look at what it was himself.

      This makes me curious as to where did that egg come from? and what’s inside it if anything? what’s going to happen next? Love where it was left off but I do wish there was some dialogue. Also a question…. is the basis for this story another fictious story or is it based on a personal experience?

  4. She hears the roar, of the crowd, of her teammates, of her enemies, the thumping beat of the music. Her fingers don’t shake as she holds her shiny, new gun, ready to obliterate her opponents. she takes a breath, a grin plastered on her face that the others can’t see behind her mask. And then all hell breaks loose, color everywhere, noises deafening, her heartbeat thudding in her ears, but she doesn’t dare breathe, for fear of losing it all.The fields are red, the color of her victory, the decimation of her enemies. She can’t help but let out a victory cry, “Booyah!”

  5. The power of a toy is always undersized in a child’s life. Something a little girl must grow attached to, only to someday grow out off. But for this little girl her doll serves as a memorial to a Mother not so forgotten. A doll with long brown hair and blue eyes, that wears nothing but rags so she can afford to take care of her only child. Even though they are poor, and her doll husband is always at work, they stay home and have imaginary tea parties and dream of a life in riches and gold. So is this doll just a toy or an escape to the life she could have lived?
    ~Alisha Matthews

  6. Hopeless Romantic
    Kattrin swept her hair into a ponytail, and pulled the macarons from the oven. Success, she thought. Light, and perfect, and fluffy. Just how he loved them. She broke one in half slowly, and ate a piece, letting it melt on her tongue. Sighing, she looked out the window. Maybe one day, he would come back for another one.

  7. I remember a few years ago the government commissioned some scientists to make “self sustaining war machines” that could “use organic matter as fuel”. We all knew they wanted to say “biomatter” but “organic” sounded less bloody, less deadly, more forgiving. The scientists sure did make the machines, but forgot about the war part and released them into the wild, to prove a point. And here I stand, in front of a herd grazing on plastic waste, not much unlike “real” animals in fields that used to exist. Purple light from their optic lenses reflect off their metal chassis and diffuse into the polluted air, in this fairytale, with these metal creatures of a myth yet to be told. For a brief moment my organic lenses made by evolutionary coincidence look into the bright ones made by someone’s genius, chewing an old children’s toy in it’s mandibles. And I wonder, how long have machines been alive.

  8. One Night Out
    The night life is only for three kinds of people: the ones who want to scape from daylight reality, the wolf-men, and vampires. All of them have a characteristic in common: they all hate something or someone. During a night out, you see them all reunited in the darkest places, where music is extremely loud so the screams can not be heard when they are persecuting their victims. You go to the sacred place where you find these seductive creatures painting their lips with a vivid red to hide the traces of blood on their mouths. Staring at the mirror unable to find their reflections nor their shades. Wolves are perturbing around the colorful flashy lights looking for the minimal opportunities to show their animal instincts in barbaric destructiveness. Nights full of lust, confusion, sadness, rebellion and ecstasy.

    1. Your writing is so alluring, your word choice really paints a picture of these creatures. Im interested in the ‘You’ character, is that the reader? Are we supposed to be one of these creatures too or are we about to be devoured as well? The amount that is left unsaid is very interesting, I definitely wanted more, who doesn’t love a good story about vampires and werewolves?

  9. Dickory Frumpth hates early afternoons. He hates many things like the sound of his neighbor’s dog barking, the broken sprinklers, ads for auto shop repairs, advice columns, smooth jazz CD one-oh-one-point-nine, The Garcia Family, water beds, his mother, adolescents, his shower head, checking emails, and Greg Peterson’s voice greeting him with “Good day, Dick!” every morning.

    Dickory does enjoy one thing: his beautiful wife hidden in the attic.

    1. The framing of this piece as a list of hated items gives us significant insight into the character. The list items all share a kind of benign mundanity in common. These are bland, boring, slightly dissatisfying aspects every-day suburban life, but they are HATED by Frumpth. In order to enjoy life, Frumpth needs a secret — but, not just some common thing he can hide from the world like a white lie about enjoying his job or cheating on his partner. He needs a secret that transgresses the rules of society. Is his wife dead? Is she his prisoner? Either way, it is a secret a secret that contains an element of horror.

  10. Ben and I argued over whether or not it was still appropriate to listen to artist. He suggested that I should feel pain in solidarity with the victims and became angry at me, so that the matter was not simply between enjoying pop music and my conscience anymore, but between a simple pleasure and friendship. I had a choice to make. I chose to flatter him, and it worked. Soothing his ego displaced the conflict. I didn’t even have to come up with some insincerely rational excuse. I’m a liar and I love my friend.

    1. I enjoy this piece because it involves a current event without going into the specifics. Because of this, I focus more on the narrator’s relationship with Ben. The use of first person narrative reminds me of a journal entry, which makes this piece a bit more intimate. I enjoy the last sentence: “I’m a liar and I love my friend.” Again, this evokes a personal feel to the piece, and the combination of a character being a liar and a good friend is an interesting take on the narrator’s characteristic. I think one of the first things I unknowingly search for upon reading a first person narrative is if the narrator is trustworthy, and this piece does a good job at leaving it open-ended.

  11. A midday in jungle, an unusual egg was found by an owl so he called a meeting. “Not mine, and I have a calf already” exclaimed elephant. “Doesn’t belong to me, I barely survive.” the tiger rejected. “This egg doesn’t seem normal to me , let’s break it” the lion roared. All agreed and approached the egg, took a swing and caused a crack, the crack grew large and broke the shell, out came a creature larger than any elephant, eyes fiercer than a tiger’s, voice louder than all lions, and grew up to be wiser than owl.

  12. You are out at night watching the stars at night shoot across the sky, like dancing glitter. The plushy grass that you lay on smells like warm summer rain. You wonder what life has for you in the cards of fate, that has yet to be dealt. Praying that the Almighty one eventually answers your prayers. The ride home whisks you back home, like a thief that disappeared in the night. The trophies of ballerinas and piano trophies sit on the vanity. Certificates and awards align the hot pink bedroom. You wonder was this all worth it? Yes, it was and will be.

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