The Laboratory #3

Posted on June 1, 2015 by

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This month’s Laboratory started off with a sad trombone, as Stephen went off in the sticks with his version of the exercise, and I completely dropped the ball, finishing a paragraph and two sentences. But that, of course, didn’t stop us from having a great conversation and saddling ourselves with another exercise. We ended up talking about Gerard Genette, Scientology, Ray Bradbury, John Updike, Milan Kundera, The Lord of the Flies, a TED talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the concept of Flow – something I really needed to watch.

You can see our finished, and our unfinished, exercises here: http://jquinnmalott.com/page7/index.html

Stephen McClurg teaches and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. After winning the National Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Contest, he spent a week writing haiku for the Washington Post‘s blog. In the past he has published articles, essays, reviews, short stories, poems, and comics in newspapers, journals online and otherwise, and appeared in the anthologies You Ain’t No Dancer and Voices from a Safe Harbor. He has written and composed music for award-winning short films, art installations, and dance.

Exercise 3:
One page. According to Henry James, a writer wrote a novel from a glimpse of a seminary students’ dinner party. Write a scene of a story from a glimpse you have had of a group of people–in a cafe, zoo, train, or elsewhere. Sketch the characters in their setting and let them interact. Do you find that you know too little? Can you make up enough–or import from other experiences–to fill the canvas?

Objective: To find out if you can make much out of little. If you can, great. If you can’t now, don’t worry, you might later, or you’ll have to get your stories from other materials.

Check: Can you visualize these people further? Can you begin to hear at least one person speak? If not, go back and find a way of talking that might fit one of the people in the group, and carry on from there.

The Outrider Podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher. You can also listen at my website (http://jquinnmalott.com/index.html).

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