7
   

"She Closed The Book..." NPR's 3 minute fiction contest.

 
 
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:08 pm
NPR today launched its 8th (?) creative writing contest. I have participated in 3 of them. The idea is to write a 3-minute story (600 words maximum) based on some kind of theme that is proposed. My writing tends to be languorous. I am a southerner. Tough for me.
The first sentence must read: "She closed the book, placed it on the table and decided to walk through the door."
I have an outline, but I wonder where you, yes you, might start?
Thank you.
Johnboy
 
Ragman
 
  3  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:11 pm
@realjohnboy,
"... and decided to walk through the door." She thought to herself perhaps I should have opened it first?!
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:13 pm
@Ragman,
That could be a plot, Ragman. I will have to check to see if I got the opening line right.

Edit: That is the actual wording per NPR. I, too, thought the phasing odd.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:27 pm
@realjohnboy,
This sounds like a good distraction, I may play with it. <see ya later, if so>
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:38 pm
I will give it a shot.
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:48 pm
@edgarblythe,
CORRECTION: I swear that I think NPR changed the opening line. Here are the 17 words that need to start the story:
"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door."
The commas perplex me.
Sorry for any confusion.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:51 pm
@realjohnboy,
I went directly to the source and got it right. Thanks for the heads up.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 06:54 pm
@edgarblythe,
you gonna let us read it, ed...?

please.
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 07:29 pm
@edgarblythe,
I sure did screw up the set up for this thread. Sorry. I think we are now all on the same page.
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 07:33 pm
@realjohnboy,
Yeah,,, finally.

Joe (the book is a metaphor)Nation
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 07:41 pm
@realjohnboy,
The commas are out of place given my learnin' on them, and given that one chooses to use all of them.

If I do this, I'll comma my own way. Or the highway.

Which brings up a story - years ago, I entered a design contest the head of our department asked me to participate in, and my faculty advisor advised me incorrectly. It was for a certain re-do of a plaza in Los Angeles. I spent at least 200 hours on it, while also working full time and going to school, designing for a program that had been changed. In other words, not much sleep for weeks. Lesson one - check the latest specifications! Lesson two, double check the latest specs. (This was pre-internet).
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 08:14 pm
@Rockhead,
Only if it is good enough. More than half of my efforts emit something of a stench.
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 08:16 pm
@Joe Nation,
As is the table and certainly the door, Can "finally" also be one?
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 08:34 pm
@edgarblythe,
Maybe that stench is coming from a long-forgotten ham sammich under the computer desk? Mr. Green
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Sat 10 Mar, 2012 08:40 pm
@Ragman,
Nothing edible gets forgotten around here. It's a contest between myself and Punky to get the most.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2012 03:27 am
@realjohnboy,
realjohnboy wrote:

"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door."


Do we gotta keep the incorrect punctuation? I'm not keen on that. I might participate. Ruminating.

Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2012 07:17 am
@Roberta,
Commas are always interesting to me.
"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door."
"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door."
They mean two different things or, at least, create a different mood.
Both would be read aloud or recited differently by a actor.

"....finally (beat, beat) , decided to.... "
Seems to me to indicate that the decision to go through the door had been thought about, self-debated and reached with some difficulty.
"...finally decided..... "
Seems to me to be just the third in a series of actions with no greater import than the others.

The other thing is they seem to have used the British system of using commas in a list. I was taught a list of things NEVER had a comma before the "and"
( The cows, horses and goats... . Not, the cows, horses, and goats... . ) .

My girlfriend, C, who went to the same school as I did, says I'm nuts. That the comma before the 'and' is required.
I ask "Why?". What's that comma indicating? A hesitation to add 'goats' to the list??

This is fun.

What is the appropriate use of commas in the "She closed... ." sentence?

Roberta?

Joe( Inquiring minds need to inquire)Nation
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2012 07:38 am
@realjohnboy,
realjohnboy wrote:

"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door."


The comma before the and is perfectly fine. I prefer the series comma. I think it adds clarity to the statement. However, that's not the issue.

It would be correct to say:

"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door."

Joe, if you want the pause for dramatic purposes, you could say:

"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and, finally, decided to walk through the door."

As written, the subject is separated from the verb by a comma:

"She finally, decided to walk through the door."

This is a no-no. When you take the other stuff out of the sentence, you can see how noey it is.

Ro (hope this helped)berta

Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2012 09:03 am
@Roberta,
Quote:
"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and, finally, decided to walk through the door."


Holy cow, thats, a lot of commas!

Joe(Thnks)Nation
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Mar, 2012 09:15 am
@Joe Nation,
Joe, bubbele, You can't have a comma after the finally without having one before it. You can't separate the subject from the verb. Honest. I'd take out the comma before the finally and let it go at that.

A pause doesn't mean you should add a comma--unless you're planning on having this published, and I'm gonna be the editor. I've had a career of deleting pausey commas. They make me snarl.

And we're way off the topic. But I brung it up. Apologies to realjohnboy.
 

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