Power Tips for Writing
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Say It Quick!
Creative Learning Director of
The Flirefly Group.
© 2014 Brian Remer
Updated Jan. 2015
Try Your Hand!
Anyone can write a 99-Word Story. Let yourself be inspired by the humor, irony, and emotion in your life. Get in touch with your central message and start writing. Put it on paper then edit. Carve away the excess to reveal the essential story.
When you hit the magic 99, to me. I'll publish it here for the world to enjoy. And who knows, maybe it will also appear in the next volume of Say It Quick!
Here are a few stories written by people like you.
"I have one or two [English as a second language] students who can write fairly well, so I had them try to write their own 99-word story (Just as part 3 of the book, Say It Quick! suggests.) One Korean woman, a grad student in the IU Law School, responded with the following tale."
I can't understand many of the expressions my American classmates use, especially out of the classroom. A few weeks ago, I heard a man say, "Professor Farnsworth doesn't know jack shit about football." I asked another student about that, and she said jack shit was the same as "anything." She said the man thought the professor didn't know anything about football.
Later, I was visiting a friend, and she asked me what I wanted to drink. Eager to use my new expression, I said, "Jack shit is okay."
Next time, I'll test new expressions with my tutor first.
Less is More
In 1845, Henry David Thoreau entered Walden Woods to begin a two-year experiment in living simply. Thoreau was a Harvard graduate working in a family pencil factory, but he struggled to write while leading a traditional life.
He decided to build a cabin in the woods and live deliberately, with nothing but necessities - "Simplify, simplify". It seemed crazy that Thoreau would turn his back on the relationships and conveniences that civilization had come to expect.
Little money, little contact, little distraction: for Thoreau - and for us - produced a legacy.
Could we all live more simply?
-- Glenn Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Default setting buttons are blue." The technician's expression was stern. "Green activates the beam."
"Maybe I'm color blind?" Gib panicked at the thought. Sharon disintegrated from a color error!
The technician just blinked.
"Wasn't my fault." Gib whimpered.
"Never point a weapon at anyone!" The technician yelled.
Gib yelped. "It's not in the instructions, like I said."
"Did they send you up there as a punishment?"
"How did you know?" Gib's tears floated in Sharon's dust.
--Michael W. Clark (Michael is a biologist, business person, and writer living in Santa Monica, CA)
Ask For (very) Little and Ye Shall Receive
Our Kodak printer died after 15 months. The display indicated “paper jam” and no tinkering and troubleshooting from technical support personnel could convince the printer otherwise.
Kodak declared our printer a dud and offered 25% off the purchase of our next Kodak printer! How kind of them! I then e-mailed Kodak with a simple request: please pay the return shipping charges so that their defective printer does not end up in a landfill.
Kodak has now declared me a “preferred customer” and has just shipped a free replacement printer. Go figure!
--David Mitchell, Montreal, Canada
I've just returned from a week building mud huts in Honduras. Hola Karina! The happy bell-like greeting echoes in my mind. My new Honduran friends live in conditions I would only tolerate when back woods camping. Yet they are happy and greet me as a family member with hugs and smiles. So open and warm, unencumbered with the trappings of my stressful, gadget filled world.
If I shed all my material stuff, would I obtain that level of happiness? Or must I shed different, less materially oriented, stuff?
I wonder. What stuff makes happiness?
-- Karen (Karina) Smith, Tempe, Arizona
The definition of "Winning"
"Are you winning?"
The man next to me on the plane is playing a Scrabble game against his iPad. He looks surprised at my interruption but then laughs and responds, "Most of the time It wins, but I'm learning new words." "Well then all is not lost," I quip. He smiles as he goes back to his game.
As I think about our exchange, I realize that we place a lot of importance on winning but maybe we have mis-defined the word. Maybe my seatmate really is winning after all.
How should you define winning?
-- Karen Smith, Tempe, Arizona
My box seemed nearly as big as I was. Wobbling up the walk at the very first home, the door opened and a large St. Bernard, every bit as enthusiastic as I was, bounded up the walk and onto me…spilling me and bursting nearly my entire load! The concerned owner bought my entire box, hooray!
Even a day that 's gone to the dogs can lighten your load!
--Kevin Hall, M.D., CapitolMed
While driving my daughter home from work, I realize I only have 12 minutes of her attention. When we get home she'll go straight to the internet to connect with her friends. Once connections are made, she'll be out the door only to return after I am in bed. 12 minutes.
"How was work?"
"Hey, I wanted to tell you I talked to someone about your car and… are you listening to me?"
She has already received and sent innumerable texts on her phone and is annoyed that I am interrupting her. We argue. 2 minutes left.
--Dianna Remer, Sioux City, Iowa
(c) 2011 The Firefly Group