Session 13 Discussion Board Notes: Story Starters


I’m enjoying reading the story starters discussion board. To recap the plot exercise started during our last session on developing plot, you had two options: to kick off two paragraphs of a new story using one of four in-class prompts OR to plot out the beginning, middle, and end of longer story.

Last week we also discussed how fiction often deals with dilemmas and concerns that are very much true to life. Many of the story starters below reflect what is going on in our difficult and unique world and in New York City right now or not too long ago.

If you have not gone, there is still time. Please note that whatever you start here can be developed as we move forward in the class. To get inspired, here is a summary of what is there so far on the Session 13 Discussion Board: Story Starters

Ester uses the in-class prompt to start a story about lockdown and chaos in grocery stores when the pandemic began. This will sound familiar to many of us who were in NYC when the pandemic began. Nice details, Ester!

Xiang Lin writes of ethics and adventure during wartime in his story beginning of a  kingdom where knights are caught between time: some from the middle ages fight with swords while others fight with guns.

Cesar’s beginning draws from our in-class writing prompt and goes back to the early days of the pandemic when the idea of it all seemed unreal.

Xinhong’s story also explores ethics and dilemmas encountered during wartime, in particular the difficulty faced by refugees who have to start their lives over.

Sakif’s story takes a different perspective on the story prompt from class and tells of a lockdown where people forced together learn secrets that were kept even from family members. Notice how Sakif successfully builds suspense at the end. I hope you keep working on this Sakif!

Dominic offers the complex beginning, middle, and end of a story about a place named Malus that is shifting between different types of rule while dealing with an attack from another country called Vitis. The royal family is divided and then brought back together in a plot with twists and complications and ethical concerns. Maybe we’ll get to see this story fleshed out before our fiction module ends, Dominic!

Janet also used the lockdown prompt to discuss the panic experienced within a city uncertain of what will come in less than 24 hours. The cool and calm protagonist waits to avoid the rush at the store but arrives to find nothing left. The focus throughout this beginning is noticing how time passes.

Adrian’s story begins with a philosophical tone to take the reader into a dark world were death is constant and everyone is forced to do physical labor. This story too has an ominous ending and an illustration (see his link). This almost reads like a prose “ekphrasis,’ Adrian. I hope you continue this story.

Shahat’s story starts with a very good first line drawn from one of the in-class prompts and explores the dilemma of a group of friends trying to handle a difficult ethical situation. Accountability quickly takes an interesting and high-stakes turn in these opening paragraphs. Shahat, I hope we learn what happens these young people and what they decide to do.

Alice’s strong first sentence also starts with an in-class prompt. Her paragraph gives a summary of a whole story with a beginning middle and end. If you want to turn this into a more complete story, Alice, you could eventually add more details about where this town is show a bit more of the scene when the people abruptly force Andy into the car.

Write on, everyone and contribute on the discussion board if you not done so. Here is the link to the board again:

Session 13 Discussion Board: Story Starters





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