75-worder part 2

October 10, 2012

Rocket Scientist

John Hoggard ex-Rocket Scientist

This is the third seventy-five word paragraph I wrote for Paragraph Planet (they published my second entry, which came as a shock, but set the bar very high – a 50% success rate!). It was inspired, in part, by my eldest daughter who is very dyslexic, but takes after her parents and has developed a love of science and got a school report which certainly indicated she was doing very well in this particular area.

It’s certainly interesting to see how she copes with her dyslexia, memorising stuff seems to be her weapon of choice at the moment. When she was very young and we thought she was reading just fine, it was because she had memorised all the books we had read to her and she just regurgitated as she turned the pages. It fooled us, it fooled some of her teachers too.

Now she’s keen on drama and theatre and is finding learning lines is hard work, but if they’re read to her, she remembers them, so she may yet crack that particular nut and wanting to read (anything) when you’re dyslexic seems to be half the battle won.

So, here it is, my daughter inspired 3rd 75-worder:

‘“Just as well lungs work autonomously Pike, because I doubt you’d have the brain power to breath otherwise,” noted my Comprehensive school Physics Teacher Mr. Jenkins. Fortunately it turned out I was dyslexic not stupid, but my rage against this man here,’ he said gesturing to the old man sat in the front row, ‘focused me to this! A Nobel Prize for Physics! Thank-you Mr. Jenkins!’ From the back of the auditorium somebody started to clap.

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Telling Stories in just 75 words

October 5, 2012

Rocket Scientist

John Hoggard ex-Rocket Scientist

A few months ago I discovered via Twitter a wonderful Website, with a wonderfully simple premise: tell a story in exactly 75 words. The name of this website is Paragraph Planet and it can be found here.

I use this site to practice the art of editing because it’s a serious head scratching moment when you’ve written a story only to find it’s not 75 words long but, for example, 83. Trying to edit ten percent of the content out of a story that short is challenging to say the least and makes every word earn its keep. I am hoping that this honing of my editorial skills will come in useful when I return, in anger, to editing Endless Possibilities.

To date, I have submitted 12 seventy-five word paragraphs to the site and have been lucky enough to have three paragraphs accepted. They’re on display for a single day before they’re replaced by another snippet of story-telling concentrate.

I’m going to keep submitting stories to Paragraph Planet, but I’ve decided I like those little nuggets that Paragraph Planet have passed over and I’m going to share them here – one at a time.

So here’s the first:

He whimpered like a kicked puppy, the gag in his mouth prevented him from actually speaking, to whisper his soft lies. He tugged against the cuffs that he had used on her only a few hours earlier. She looked along the barrel of his gun. It was sticky with her blood. Her cheek smashed open while she had been handcuffed. Her fingers reached up and touched the gash. Never again. She pulled the trigger and relaxed.

Not sure where this story came from, but the imagery was so strong in my mind as I typed it up that it took less than a minute to create and another minute to tweak to 75 words.

If you’re on Facebook you can find Paragraph Planet here and if you’re on Twitter you can follow them here.

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