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DeMarinis: single interesting paragraph exercise

June 24, 2015

(From a writing exercise from author Rick DeMarinis): Convince yourself that your aim is not to compose a short story. Instead write nothing more than a single interesting paragraph with no long-range goal in mind. Requirements of this paragraph are twofold: it must contain an action of some kind, and it must suggest a mystery. (By “mystery” I mean that the action itself is not understandable from what we have been given in the paragraph). My response:

A young woman in a thick black winter coat pulled an orange out of the grocery bag she was carrying and set it on the ledge of a concrete wall in front of the building that once housed the orphanage. A man inside the building passing a window on the second floor noticed what she was doing and was certain she was the one responsible for leaving various food items on the ledge recently. He decided to go outside and tell her that what she was doing wasn’t legal and she would need to stop, but halfway down the staircase he remembered something he’d long ago forgotten, and instead of admonishing the young woman he dialed a phone number written on a paper tucked inside his wallet.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2015 3:52 pm

    Have to say, I LOVED your submission for round 10 on writer unblocked. If I weren’t hoping for votes myself, I’d vote for yours. In fact, I probably will anyways. Cheers!

  2. October 9, 2015 6:42 pm

    Thank you very much. I appreciate your kind words. The voting seems to be pretty relaxed and the judges’ discretion weighs in. I remember several months ago, one participant had something like forty votes — higher than anyone else, but she didn’t win. So, do your best writing and don’t worry so much about getting votes.It’s nice when they come (and again I appreciate yours) but a lack of any votes means little. If you believe you’ve done your best, that’s what counts. Good luck!

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