Today’s prompt is all about limits, but don’t worry, you don’t have to know anything about poetry and you don’t have to make this rhyme!
Write A Story In 14 Sentences
(Sometimes limits can be surprisingly freeing so if you hate this idea, try it anyway!!)
Today’s prompt continues the month’s theme of looking at different short story forms you can try out.
This one’s a challenge, but really fun.
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Write a story in 14 sentences
- You can simply write 14 sentences.
- You could use the Petrarchan form of sonnet where the first 8 lines/sentences propose an argument or an idea and the second 8 answer or refute it.
- You could use the Shakespearean form, with three groups of 4 linked sentences, followed by two lines/sentences that provide illumination, a revelation, a twist or an explanation.
- You could write a sonnet series, with each group of 14 lines fulfilling a different function in your story.
- Writing this way is hard but it frees you. Instead of worrying about writing well, you’re concentrating on the form. Sometimes that tricks your brain into writing really well; sometimes it’s just a triumph to have written at all.
Leave a comment telling us how it went!
Today’s prompt sticks with this week’s theme of pushing the form of the short story away from the idea of it as a ‘mini novel’.
Short stories are incredibly versatile and short story readers are willing to work for their thrills. Let’s get to it:
Write a prose sonnet: a story 14 sentences long
- Of course, our prose sonnets aren’t going to rhyme or be in any particular rhythm (although you can shoot for that if you like).
- You can draw inspiration from traditional sonnet forms. For example, it could follow the structure of a Petrarchan sonnet which presents an argument or observation in the first 8 lines (sentences, in this case), then a turn in the next line. Then you can spend the rest of the story ‘answering’ the question/observation/argument of the start.
- You could model your story on a Shakespearean sonnet: three groups of four related sentences, and a final two-sentence ending that perhaps turns the story upside down OR reinforces its message.
- You could go from the specific to the general and end with a universal truth, or set the story up the other way around.
- One powerful image might be all you need in a story this length: a grandparent with their grandchild, feeding the ducks, for example. Placed at either end of your story (or in the middle), this image might allow you to illustrate a theme on relatable, specific and still universal levels.
- You could also write a sonnet ‘sequence’, if your story demands more room. That would mean you write groups of ‘scenes’ in 14 sentences each until your story is finished.
- For more on the form, read this.