Monday, February 21, 2011

Fill in the Blank

Day 1 of Character-Building Week:

Things characterize. Possessions, accessories, and burdens.

Try this: fill in the blanks below. The passage is from the beginning of a short story. (Bonus points to anyone who can identify the story and/or its writer.)

While the plane was pulling up to the gate on a summer evening in 1974, Karin reached down and got something out of her backpack. A --- which she ---, and a --- which she --- and a ---- which she ----. The ---- and ---- had been filched from ----, and the ---- was something she had bought for herself.

PS. I got this exercise from an Alan Michael Parker workshop I attended some years ago. Alan, btw, has a new novel, Whale Man.

6 comments:

Valerie Nieman said...

Great exercise - I'll steal it as well for my intro class!

cathykidman.com said...

While the plane was pulling up to the gate on a summer evening in 1974, Karin reached down and got something out of her backpack. A can of mace which she half-regreted and a wilted rose, which she did not, and a note which she agonized over the night before. The weapon and the flower had been filched from yet another another anonymous bar, and the notepaper was something she had bought herself.

OH!!! This was FUN! Send more!

cathykidman.com said...

she did regret "regreted". :) where's my spellcheck?

sherylmonks said...

Great exercise!

Susan Woodring said...

Cathy! I LOVE it!!

Susan Woodring said...

the reveal: These are the opening sentences from Alice Munro's story, "Rich as Stink."

While the plane was pulling up to the gate on a summer evening in 1974, Karin reached down and got some things out of her backpack. A black beret which she pulled on so it slanted over one eye, a red lipstick which she was able to apply to her mouth by using the window as a mirror—it was dark in Toronto—and a long black cigarette holder which she held ready to clamp between her teeth at the right moment. The beret and the cigarette holder had been filched from the Irma la Douce outfit her stepmother had worn to a costume party, and the lipstick was something she had bought for herself.