Topic:Creative story writing


Volume: 5 pages

Type: Essay

Format: MLA


For this second major project, your task will be to creatively respond to one of the texts from the course. I’ve given you a few options below, but you are free to choose an entry point of your own. Any and all of the texts we’ve read are up for grabs, and how you choose to creatively tackle those texts is up to you. These are merely here to help you get started.

The options below give you the short story as the genre to work in, but if you want to you’re free to work in any mode you choose. You can write a series of poems or a short play. No matter the form you choose, you must 1) show a creative response and engagement with one of the course texts, and 2) create an object of your own making.

This project offers you the opportunity to play with our major texts in a different way. Your project can be gravely serious, but it can also be silly, or lighthearted, or humorous if you wish. Keep in mind, though, that this is just as challenging (if not more so) than an analytical paper. I ask you to illustrate a clear understanding of the source texts and what they are doing, so much so that you are able to replicate and manipulate those techniques yourself. You should consider the matters of content (subject, allegory, theme), style (diction, syntax, voice), and structure of your original source text when planning how you’ll approach your own story.

Remember, a story must have setting, a narrator, characters, actions and events, conflict. And in all of the stories we have read so far, even though they have all been very strange, each author uses specific physical descriptions and detail to ground the story and make it come alive for the reader.

Because you have a variety of forms available to you, your requirements are variant as well. If you write a story, it should be a minimum of 5 full pages, double spaced, 12 point font.

Option 1

Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red retells the myth of Herakles’ 10th labor—stealing Geryon’s red cattle—by recasting the characters in a modern setting and making it a romance between young men. Aimee Bender’s “The Devouring” retells the fairy tale “Molly Whuppie” by focusing on one minor character, the ogre’s wife, and telling a story about grief through her point of view. Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch” retells the urban legend “The Velvet Ribbon” from a feminist perspective.

Choose a myth, fairy tale, or urban legend and retell it, putting your own take or twist on the story.

You can focus on a minor character and expand the scope of the story to show their perspective like “The Devouring.” You can dramatically change the narrative and have the story serve more as a metaphor, like Autobiography of Red. You can use the story as an occasion to address a social issue, such as consent and bodily autonomy, like “The Husband Stitch.”

Option 2
In “The Merm Prob,” the story of the mermaids washing up on shore and affecting the life of this suburban town is told through the collective perspective of the women living in this town, after the fact.

Write a story with a first-person plural point-of-view about a group of people looking back at a strange/magical/supernatural event and how they reacted to it.

Option 3
In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” Lesley Nneka Arimah creates a world where women procreate by making their babies out of physical material, bringing those babies to life through a ritual, and where men seem to not exist (and if they do, they are not mentioned).

Write a story about a world where only men exist, imagining the way in which they would procreate and what pressure that might put on a character.

Option 4
Jeff Vandermeer’s “The Situation,” the situation in question is told through Savante’s point-of-view as the one being isolated, but as we talked in class, other characters seem to be dealing with their own forms of isolation.

Write a version of “The Situation” through another character’s perspective—whether it is the Manager, Scarskirt, Leer, or Mord. Consider how the character you choose might remember and view the events of the story and how might their own isolation and personality influence their behavior and their retrospective narration.

Option 5
In “Meet the President!”, Zadie Smith imagines a not too distant future and uses the technology of this future to illustrate the issues of class, capitalism, globalism, and more.

Write futuristic story where the characters’ use of advanced technology comments on prevalent issues in our present world.

Option 6
In “Bloodchild,” Octavia Butler imagines a future where humans have escaped earth and settled on a new planet where they have formed a strange, mutualistic and parasitic relationship with the intelligent species of that planet.

Write a story where you imagine a different planet that humans have escaped to and the relationship and history humans would have with the alien species that lives on that planet.

Of course, if you have an idea for a story that responds to any of the text we’ve read in class in a different way, feel free to pursue that idea. You are not limited to these prompts.

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