Coursera: The Craft of Plot A1

As someone who mainly writes poetry, I find developing a plot the most difficult part of writing a shorty story. I love setting up a world and developing characters, but struggle putting them through their paces or developing layers of events between them and the end goal. I can manage one layer most days, but that is not a good story. So I’m trying to improve my skills through Coursera.

I’m doing as much of the free Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot course as I can. I will be posting the finished assignment here as I without paying the fee I can’t submit it there.

In summary, the assignment is to write a short scene with a character who has a concrete want, and one weakness. Every other sentence should be a rising action (after the first sentence intro, and third sentence weakness). Then we’re provided a list of words to incorporate into those rising action sentences.

Because I was uninspired by the “concrete want” bit of this assignment, I wrote about my cat. Because obvs.

Tio the cat lived alone with her owner in a small house with a little yard. Frank, a big fat crow, would sit in the only tree in the yard and mock her from outside. Tio was an indoor cat, scared to go outside and Frank teased her incessantly for it – she hated him. Frank was cawing at her again today, calling her a “Tiny toothless tiger, just a furball with no fight”. “I’ll show him my teeth,” she muttered, “Stupid bird doesn’t know what’s coming. Today will be the day, I just have to trick Owner into letting me outside.” Tio turned her back on Frank, and took a catnap to refresh her brain. Her dream triggered a memory – a scary one with the worst kind of doctor, but it gave her an idea. The last time Owner took her to the vet was when Tio put herself on a diet. So Tio decided to pretend she was on another one, and didn’t eat a thing all day. When Owner returned and saw Tio’s bowl still full of Kibble, she immediately called the Vet.  Tio was pathetic aboard her arms, limp and sad looking. Her eyes were wide and black, with thin yellow rings of iris just barely noticeable. Owner wrapped her in a blanket for the not-to-happen carried. The house door finally opened, and Tio was ready to explode out of the blanket! That is, until she saw the concrete – it didn’t look very soft like the carpet she was used to. And the yard looked filthy, bugs and dirt and grass, but she could hear Frank cackling from the tree. She leapt anyway, stumbling on the unfamiliar terrain until her cat instincts kicked in and she was up the tree. But Frank had already flown away.

So, did I pass?


About definitelynotapoet

View my work in Skirt Quarterly, Untethered, Vagabond Citylit, the Quilliad and Tracer Publishing.
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