Thursday, April 19, 2007


Members of the Bay Areas Writers group looked around the table at one another...we talked gaily for some time, enjoying one another's company, sharing anecdotes, solving the world's problems, discussing just about everything except writing. I suppose writers need a night to just enjoy one another and set aside the craft? Maybe it helps to clear out the brain.

So, that being said, let me kick the writers' in the butt and hand out an assignment to get us all going again. Jon, Phyllis...and crotchety John, this is for you. Of course, like all of my assignments, this is for anyone else who would like to participate. Whether it's one or thirty of you.

In case someone is reading this who hasn't participated, here's how it's done. We all do the writing assignment (usually an activity designed to work on one aspect of writing), then post it on our individual blogs. You send the addresses of where the assignment is being posted to me, and on April 25th, I will post all the addresses. Then, we travel from blog to blog, noshing here, relishing there, and offer up comment and critiques.

That being said, here is the assignment:

Character development and plot is based on conflict. Write about 700-2000 word short story where the tension between the two characters runs beneath the surface. You know the type...body language, looks, more of what isn't said than what is being said, perhaps the way it is said...the tension should shimmer. It should never reach critical mass, but it ride along like quicksilver, or perhaps a dynamite fuse.

And the title of your work will be: DANGEROUS LINES.


SQT said...

I'm surprised no one has commented on this one yet. This is my kind of assignment. I like it when there is a subtle undercurrent going on between characters. I love the tension and unspoken anger.

I'm mulling over ideas already.

Kate S said...

Hmm... unlike Sqt, this is a tough one for me... will noodle on it a bit. Does the tension have to be anger?

Stewart Sternberg said...

I'm not surprised SQT. I'm not unsurprised either. Someone asked me once: "What if no one were to do one of the assignments". I told him: I'll keep posting them. If anything, they get me writing. And then there's the Bay Area Writers group.

Kate, no the tension can be any kind of tension. Sexual tension, for instance. But it must crackle. The reader must sense the conflict. The reader needs to feel and be compelled to keep reading.

Jon said...

I'm in. Hell, I'm all about tension.

Turnbaby said...

Oooo I am on vacation--will give it a go

Christina said...

HAAHAAA! Yes we do. That's what my group is going to do today. We are getting together to shoot the breeze, watch movies, talk about writing and a bunch of other random stuff. I'm so happy I joined this group.

Lucas Pederson said...

Sounds Dangerous...but I'll try to work something in here. I ususally always do. It's a very interesting topic, tension under the surface of faces, under the wors spoken. I'll see what I can come up with. Sweetalicious!!

Travis said...

I would love to try this one, but with the move I won't have time.

This is something I struggle with and would have been perfect for me to work on.

Bond said...

OK, my first assignment from The House Of Sternberg.

If I had gotten here sooner, maybe my MONDAY MATINEE ON THE COUCH would have been different...

This week's does not fit the subject of tension.

OK, Wednesday's post will fulfill the subject while also giving the results of this week's American Idol (which is a weekly theme and hard to brake). What a contradiction in subjects! Or maybe not!

DonkeyBlog said...

Awr Maaan! I know this one'd be a toughie 'cause when I first read it, I didn't immediately have the answer pop into my head, so I'd have to work on it.

The bugger is that I'm on holiday and probably can't be arsed - I'll see how I go but may hand my assignment in a few days late - hope that's OK, Boss!

Glad to see you back from sabatical.