Saturday, October 2, 2010

Writing Exercise

Write one of the quotes below into a short piece of fiction. You can either have your character think it or repeat it as dialogue.
"A paradox is what adults tell. When a kid does it, it's called a big lie." -- Art Linkletter
"Mockery is often the result of a poverty of wit." -- La Bruyere
"Unhappiness does make people look stupid." -- Anatole France
Happy writing!

Susan Wells Bennett


  1. “Yeah, you’re special all right. Special ed.”

    Olivia was trying to ignore the taunts, but it was hard. What made it worse was that David was there witness to the cruel words of her classmates. She could easily pretend that she wasn’t bothered by their mimicry, but when she saw David she lost her composure. She wriggled in embarrassment as he squeegeed the tears from her face with his thumbs.

    “They’re gutless and witless,” he said. “Mockery is often the result of a poverty of wit,” he recited in a lofty voice.

    “Are you saying poemry?”

    “Poemry? “ He laughed a little.

    “Now you’re laughing at me too. I can’t stand it. I hate being so stupid.” She blundered away from David and ran into the park. She just wanted to dissolve and disappear. It was bad enough when the other kids made fun of her, but she worshipped David. She felt sliced to the core.

    “Olivia, I’m not laughing at you. I would never do that. C’mon, don’t make me run the whole way. I’m old and I might fall and break a hip.”

    She stopped. “You’re doing it again.” A part of her was happy that David had followed her. There was no way she could be mad at David not even for a minute. It wasn’t in her DNA.

    “I’m making fun of me not you. And for the record, you are not stupid.”

    “Yes I am.” She wasn’t feeling sorry for herself. Even with a tutor and special classes, the dyslexia had her falling behind the other kids. Reading was the hardest for her. It was like stuttering inside her head. Math was a foreign language with the nines that sometimes danced into sixes and sometimes even letters.

  2. Shelly,

    This is an excellent passage. Two suggestions:

    1. Add a comma after "there" in the second sentence -- or reverse "witness to" to "to witness."

    2. Add a comma or dash between "David" and "not even for a minute" in the third-to-last paragraph.

    Otherwise, I love it. And this is a great line: "It was like stuttering inside her head."

    Great work.

  3. Slipping back into the house late at night was becoming more of a problem with each passing year. The more children around, the more likely it was that one of them would wake up and see their mama and papa carrying an unconscious woman into the house.

    “I want you to start working on that hidden door we’ve talked about,” Una whispered back to Rex as they tiptoed down the hallway. “Next time, we might not be so lucky.”

    “You’re right.” He watched his broad-backed bride push the sickroom door open gingerly, supporting one end of the stretcher with her thigh as she did so. Her strength was the sexiest thing on the planet to him. He immediately wanted to take her upstairs, but he knew they had an hour’s worth of work left to do.

    They laid the stretcher down on the bed. Una slipped her hands under the unconscious woman’s shoulders and held her tight as Rex pulled the stretcher out from under her. Together, they began stripping her body. Everything she was wearing went into a trash bag that Rex would burn in the morning.

    Flipping through her handbag, Una said, “This could be a problem. She’s got a membership card here for MENSA.”

    “Got to be a fake. She don’t seem that smart.”

    “What did you do? Perform an IQ test on her before you drugged her? Unhappiness does make people look stupid,” Una sighed.


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