Sunday, September 16, 2012

A One-Syllable Story

In a Writing for the Web course that I teach for the American Management Association, participants learn a lot about writing by drafting a one-syllable story. The rules are simple. Write on any topic you like as long as each word, excluding proper nouns, is only one syllable. What they appreciate about the exercise is its reminder to keep things simple and clear. If you can't express it in a plain language, you can't express it. 

Below is an example of a single-syllable 400-word story. Have fun reading it, and write one of your own  just for the joy of it.

Two Dropped Dates
What a drag. Stuck in The Bronx with no date. I just woke up to find out that Jane won't be here as planned. I cleaned the house spic and span and cooked a great meal, hot dogs, pork and beans, and French fries, and I had a fine red wine good to go. I was so beat from all this prep time that I dozed off as soon as I sat on the couch. Then the phone rings and wakes me up. It was Jane. She says she hit a snag on her way up to my place, some tale of woe, her car broke down and she was stuck with it at the Czar Pop Car Shop and don't ask to pick her up since she needs the car as soon as she leaves, so how sad to say she won't make it. So she kills me four times: first with that shock out of my sleep, then with her no show, then that song and dance about the car, and to boot that lie about how sad she was.
Please. I don't buy her yarn for a beat. Give me a break. If she had her heart on me, she would have found a way to get here. But I'm not one to beg or twist your arm when you want to do your own thing. Go. See if I care. As if I don't know that she's got her eyes on Jim. I know when he moved back from Maine that's all that was on her mind. You go for that long hair, that bling in his ear and stud in his tongue, that tall, slim type. Who cares if he ain't got a job? What's it to you if he gets rough with his hands? So what if he'll slip out of your life the first time you're down on your luck?
Well, that's fine by me. Cause you know what, Jane? I know the boss at the Czar Pop Car Shop and he owes me one. So his tow truck guy found Jane's car in front of her house and tried to jack it all the way back to Maine, but oops, the car fell off the hook and slid down the Bronx Creek. Too bad. No way they'll hook up. I guess that's three of us with no date on this spring night.