Thursday, May 10, 2012

Academic Desk (AcademicDesk.org)



New name, same website.

MsSiegel.com will continue to redirect to Academic Desk.

Soon I'll be making some cosmetic changes to the site template.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writing Assignment: Writing a Backwards Flash Fiction Story



I had a strange dream last night: I had written a flash fiction story--

Backwards.

In other words, I had taken an existing story and arranged it so that the last paragraph became my first paragraph, second to last paragraph, my second paragraph, and so on. Then I submitted it to The New Yorker, where it was accepted (only in the dream, though--that part of the dream was simply wishful thinking, I'm afraid. This was the same dream where I was peeling a long double-skinned potato. Go figure.).

But I found the idea intriguing enough that I thought I would try it with one of my own flash fiction pieces:

______________________

Nymph**Time

by Jennifer Semple Siegel


Splash.

Goddess, swim the seven sisters, navigate your vessel, all time, whirling, all time...

Split of split seconds:

It’s time; it’s about time.


~^~c~^~h~^~i~^~m~^~e~^~r~^~a~^~

-- Us.

We signal acceptance of time bent slightly forward and stretched eons backwards. Unknown Strangers gently guide Nymphet through future red giants -- or is it past present blue dwarfs? -- bodies reeling through galaxies, chrysalis birthing--

“What is this wonder, these flowing ripples kissing All?”

-- like a ballerina’s...


~^~future~^~present~^~past~^~past~^~present~^~future~^~

~^~f~u~t~u~r~e~^~p~r~e~s~e~n~t~^~p~a~s~t~^~p~a~s~t~^~p~r~e~s~e~n~t~^~f~u~t~u~r~e~^~

~^f~^p~^p~^p~^p~^f~^u~^r~^a~^a~^r~^u~^t~^s~^s~^s~^e~^t~^u~^e~^t~^t~^s~^u~^i~^n~^e~^i~^

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


One day -- future perfect? -- time tricksters suspend An Other over swirling currents, toes poised for time/space continua --

Laser time, razor-honed present imperfect.

They remember, once afraid of passing time and time not yet, time pluperfect.

Sapphire years.

They are one time traveler. She breathes in ecstasy of the future yet passed, glimmers of past once future. Seconds once ephemeral, millennia now prisms. Day Halos. Nymphets sparkle like --

Liberation.

I am nymph**time, buoyant and light. We do front flips, back flips, spin side to side like a shooting top, do head and handstands. Anything is possible in time which is not now: ballet, grace, en pointe --

Superior Being.

I slice through past and future, no longer wavering; the fear rendering One discombobulated in present time empowers in other time.

TIMELESSNESS.
______________________

This product of an already very strange story is, indeed, very unusual, but I do think that writers can learn much about their writing, fiction, and characters from this exercise.

By the way, the original is posted here.

I made a few minor tweaks.

I don't recommend this exercise for long fiction, though, but if you can pull it off, kudos to you.

I would love to see how your existing stories translate into Backwards Stories.

Submit your piece (about 500-1,000 words), along with your original story. Feel free to do minor tweaks.

I will post the best ones on this site.

Writing Assignments



From time to time, I'll be posting some interesting writing assignments, for both teachers and students.

Most of these will be creative writing exercises because that is my area of expertise, but if a good idea from another area comes to mind, I'll post it here.

Meanwhile, if you have an interesting and original writing assignment, feel free to submit it here, and I will consider posting it on this site.

Links to Various Readings, Notes, Exercises, Handouts, Prompts, etc.

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