Outline for a Short Story I’m Not Writing

Not right now, at least. But this one came from a student in my graduate fiction workshop, the first such class I’ve taught, which is ending tonight. The exercise or prompt involved taking an object?each of us wrote the name of an object on an index card, then these got distro’d at random?and … I think we had to either sketch the outline for a story or write a scene in which that object and got used, mentioned, or looked at in different ways.

Use The Object To Progress The Work was the gist of the exercise.

I didn’t bring any paper to class, so I had to use the index card itself. The object I got was “notebook”:

  • Slam notebook seen as object passing hands near lockers between two rivals of narrator.
  • Narrator in next class; passing mention of its designated notebook, places for notes taken, homework, etc.
  • Daydream/reverie of what narrator’s page in slam book might look like. Dark and mean. Reveals a sense of narrator’s self-regard and martyr fantasies.
  • Nicholas Sparks reference in dialogue at lunch.
  • Oh, and there’s a new car that narrator has driven to school that day that narrator is sad people aren’t noticing, the newness. Also, there’s a threat of its removal from Dad if bad driving record.
  • Narrator gets hands on slam notebook and finds the relevant page. Under name it says just “who?” or “Nobody.”
  • Scene of confrontation/violence or humiliation in class; public exposure for perhaps the first time.
  • Student drives home and misses a stop sign. Gets pulled over. Evocative use of cop’s notepad to issue an official ticket for narrator to then be codified criminally.

Do kids know what slam books are?

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