Today, we discussed how the beginnings, middles, and ends of stories are interconnected, and how narrative and character arcs work.
Your homework for 4 May 2011 is the following:
Read “The Ghost Child” and “A Confucian Coincidence” by Minsoo Kang (from Of Tales and Enigmas), and be ready to discuss the narrative and character arcs in each of these stories, as well as how you think the beginning, middle, and end of each story works.
Write me (no length specified) a version of the scene we discussed, regarding the young woman living abroad and struggling with the question of her identity in a new place and culture. The woman can be of any nationality, and can be in any place. (She does not need to be Korean, nor does she need to be in Britain; however, the exercise will probably be easier if the woman has the same cultural background as you, and if she is in a place where you have been.) Write the scene as an opening scene, which should:
introduce the story’s major characters
suggest or hint at the central “story problem” faced by the character (think of a fractal zooming in or out)
suggest a few possibilities about how the character might deal with the problems she is facing
grab the reader’s interest/attention
use description to reveal something about the narrator or the viewpoint character (Example: “She had hair the color of freshly-mown hay,” vs. “She had blond hair.”)
This scene is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, 4 April.
Remember, the midterm draft of your writing project is due on Friday, 29 April. I probably won’t be in my office on Friday afternoon, so please hand in your work at the Department Office (IH341), where I have a mailbox for student homework. DO NOT put it under my door unless you want your work covered in footprints.
See you next week!
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"For the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting..."—Plutarch, "On Listening," Moralia
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