Challenge: I enjoy the challenge of
- thinking of something to write
- telling in story or scene in the 99 word total
- applying it in some way to my blog’s focus on education
Variety: I enjoy writing in various forms and genres and the fiction is a pleasant change from the informational writing that I am primarily engaged with at the moment
Practice: The requirement to tell a story in just 99 words means that I need to:
- choose my words carefully to make my meaning explicit
- decide what can be told, what can be implied, and what can be omitted
- think of alternate ways of expressing an idea or describing a situation or character
Community: The Congress of Rough Writers: I have made connections and online friendships with a wonderfully supportive and encouraging group of bloggers, whose numbers are constantly growing.
Feedback: The feedback that I receive in response to my flash fiction pieces and the posts in which I embed them gives meaning and purpose to the writing. I enjoy the in-depth discussions which quite often occur in response to the blog’s content and the additional thinking that I often need to do as a result. While it does distract me somewhat from my longer-term writing goals, the immediacy of the feedback is encouragement to continue and I am always appreciative of it.
There are many other reasons and benefits of participating in the challenges. The above are just a few. If you have not yet considered joining in the fun, now might be the time to do so.
This week Charli Mills wrote about a vivid dream that compelled her from her bed in order to capture it on paper before it escaped. She says that
“Characters sneak into our dreams, our waking moments and tease us. We write to find out who they are.”
Thinking about the character from her dream led her to consider symptoms, and the way that symptoms reveal more of who they are. She challenged the Rough Writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story to reveal a character’s symptoms.
Many of my responses to Charli’s challenges have been written to find out more about Marnie, who reveals snippets of her life, as if in flashbacks or dreams, at various ages. You can read what we already know about Marnie here.
“Symptoms” seemed perfect for revealing a little more about Marnie. A child such as she would display a great variety, an important one of which would be her attempt to hide those symptoms from others.
Here then is the next part of Marnie’s story, which follows on from the bullying episode shared last week.
The children suddenly appeared: one bedraggled and muddied, the other exuding authority.
“Brucie tripped her. On purpose!” declared Jasmine.
“Come on, Marnie. Let’s get you cleaned up,” said Mrs Tomkins. ”Then we’ll see about Brucie. Is your mum home today?”
Marnie looked down and shook her head.
“Will I help you with that jumper?”
“A jumper? It’s too warm . . .” Her thoughts raced.
Marnie turned away. As she pulled up her jumper, her shirt lifted revealing large discolorations on her back.
Over the years Mrs Tomkins had seen too many Marnies; too many Brucies; never enough Jasmines.
Sadly, children like Marnie and Brucie are very real and very familiar to many teachers.
A few weeks ago I shared a post by Julieanne Harmatz on her blog To Read To Write To Be. I always enjoy reading Julieanne’s blog because it helps me walk right back into the classroom, in my mind. The Student Z she described in that post has many “symptoms” in common with other students I have worked with over the years.
This week Julieanne shares ways she provides authentic opportunities for using digital technologies in her classroom. One of the ways is student blogging, and Julieanne linked to a post written by one of her students, Zoe. I was very impressed. I’m sure you will be too.
In the post Zoe shares information about, and links to, her favourite song and singer. She says it is her “favorite song because it teaches you why not to bully.”
The song is a rap version of “True Colours” with additional original anti-bullying content written by 12 year old MattyB to support his younger sister who is excluded and bullied because of her “symptoms”. I have not linked to the song here because I would like you to read Zoe’s blog and listen to the song there.
I was so impressed by Zoe and MattyB, both showing traits of strength and of being an “upstander”, as described by Mrs Varsalona in the comments on Zoe’s post, that I decided to find out a bit more about MattyB.
Here is the story of how MattyB and his family wrote the song to support MattyB’s sister Sarah.
I love to hear positive stories like this, don’t you?
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.