Writers' Workshop #6 - Pivots/Turning Points

Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2003 08:04 am
I am not a writing teacher, and this is not school. The idea here is that we can all teach each other to be better writers. Constructive criticism (e. g. always welcomed. Destructive criticism (e. g. you stink!) is never welcomed. Vague criticisms and/or praise (e. g. that was amazing!) is lovely but it's a lot more helpful if there are some specifics.

Everyone is welcome to write, and everyone is welcome to critique. Anyone wishing to suggest a workshop topic should send me a Private Message. Workshop topics will be opened pretty much whenever I have topics.

Here's today's challenge:

Most pieces have some sort of a pivotal scene or line. There's just a place wherein the story ceases moving in a straight line and veers off in another direction. Whether this is a red herring planted in a mystery, or a religious character's epiphany or the maturation of a character in a coming-of-age story, it's all the same. Essentially, there's a dividing point between part 1 and part 2, even if the parts aren't identified, per se.

I'm going to provide you with a number of potentially pivotal sentences. Use whichever one you want and frame a story around it. The sentences are going to be somewhat generic so as to admit of a lot of possible story lines. Here are the sentences (you might want to italicize the sentence in your piece so that it can be readily found):

(1) They taunted him until he cried out an embarrassing name for his mother.
(2) She turned to her date and said, "I don't think this is working out."
(3) The contents of the room shifted, and he was pinned under the wreckage.
(4) Her father passed her by and did not acknowledge her presence.
(5) A loud noise was heard overhead.
(6) The crash happened in an instant.

If you don't like any of these sentences, that's fine, use one of your own, but please identify it as the turning point in your story.

Thank You!

I'll post a sample below. Feel free to critique or add samples on this thread. If you're critiquing someone, please use the quote function and quote the first line or so of their piece so that we can keep everything straight. Pieces should be less than about 500 words long. Thanks!

Here's a link to the last Workshop: http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9602
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2003 08:17 am
The aliens were insect-like and hissed as they sniffed and baited Aldrich. They snapped their mandibles at him as they bound him to a large rocket. The bindings were nothing that Aldrich had ever seen before. It was rope but not rope, fire but not fire, light but not quite light. It was something else, and Aldrich knew that the chances for him were not good, but he decided to hold out as long as he could, even though Earth was light-years away and he wouldn't be around to see the evidence of his own betrayal of his kind.

The snapping jaws and binding ceased in an instant and an alien who was apparently the group's leader spoke with Aldrich. "Your place. It isssss at one arm of the galaxy?" The s sounds were all hissed and attenuated, as if the alien leader was part flat tire.

"Yeah, maybe. What's it to ya?"

The alien leader seemed to smile, as if it were possible for insects to smile. "Are you playing with me? Perhaps I can persuade you." There was a huge release of steam and gases from under the ground, and from an opened seam a large contingent of smaller alien insects emerged. They whirled and buzzed around Aldrich's head and snapped their jaws close in his ear and threatened his eyes.

"These represent all of the insects on your planet that you crushed, burned, stepped on, mutilated, tore, poisoned or starved." The alien leader hissed in Aldrich's ear. "What's the matter? Surely you didn't think we'd forget such things."

They taunted him until he cried out an embarrassing name for his mother. "Ahmmy!" It sounded like Mommy, but with no initial m. He hadn't said that word since he'd been three years old.

The alien leader called off the tiny torturers. "Now we're getting somewhere. Your planet," he showed Aldrich a map on an unseen, disembodied screen, "this is it, am I right?"

Trembling, Aldrich nodded at the general solar system. "It's the fifth planet." he said softly, at that moment deciding to, for just this once, retain a fraction of his dignity. He swore to himself that if he made it back to Earth, he'd purchase an enormous can of Raid the first chance he got.
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Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 09:41 pm
Euuu I have a question. I love to write. I do it all the time. The only problem is that English is not my first language, and I am not confident writing litterature with it. Is there anybody who understands french (My first language) so that we could start a sort of parallel workshop of this type?
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Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 06:55 am
Sure, why not start a topic, either in Original Writing or Other Languages?
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Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 07:15 am
I for one would love to see some literature in French....I need to brush up.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 08:04 pm
Who was it that said, "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for others"?
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