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Writing 101, Day Twelve: (Virtual) Dark Clouds on the Horizon

Today, write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.

Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction. Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

– Ernest Hemingway

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

At its most basic, foreshadowing gives readers a roadmap to what will happen later in your post — a subtle detail planted in the back of a reader’s mind, like a telling piece of dialogue or a strategic mention of an object that hints at what’s to come. When an author tells us there are dark clouds on the horizon, we know something negative will happen soon.

This doesn’t mean your post has to have a Shocking! Twist! à la The Usual Suspects or Shirley Jackson’s classic short story, “The Lottery.” It just means you’ll give readers some clues as you go — a sense of what will happen next, information that might be important later, or a detail that you’ll explain in your conclusion.

We’re ready to go wherever you want to lead us.

Ready to share? Give us a clue that draws us to your post on The Commons.

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  1. I don’t write much but seem to be drawn to reading your suggestions and tips whenever they are posted. Somehow they make me think more about my photography, look at my set-up differently. Thank you!

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    1. Why would you say this? Please don’t think I’m being nasty. I’m just trying to understand. You sign up for a course on writing challenges and then write that it’s garbage. Why not just exit the course? Because from where I’m sitting, and probably every other member of this course, all that statement says is “I can’t do this.” Why be negative toward those taking the time out to help others in need of the challenges? Did you think that leaving that comment would get YOU a following? A group of nay sayers who aren’t up for the challenge? Well, whatever the reason, you are entitled to your opinion… as we all know what they say about opinions. However, I think (and I believe other’s will agree) that it would have looked better for you had you simply skipped the challenge, asked for assistance or dropped the course altogether. IMHO of course. Good luck with your future writing, and negative attitude…

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    2. WHAT is garbage? And why so angry? You’re using an ambiguous pronoun reference. It could mean that someone’s response is garbage, or that the suggested challenge for today is garbage, or that what you’ve tried to write so far is garbage.

      No need to reply to this, really, especially if you’re going to be unpleasant. You’re the first clinker I’ve seen here. If you don’t like it, then leave it.

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  2. I am getting ready to follow Marcella Hazan’s detailed instructions about boning a whole chicken…I sense some foreboding in her words ‘…you’ll be faced with what looks like a hopelessly confused and floppy mass that in no way resembles a chicken. Don’t panic.’

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    1. I LOVE this!! Often, my father and I talk about the latest new magic pills, made to cure something as simple as the common cold, BUT, take them at your own risk because the side effects include but are not limited to the following: (long list of severe possible side effects). Brilliant!!!

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  3. I dipped my toe into blogging with no idea of it’s magnitude. The reason? I needed to get back into the habit of writing. Between Writing 101, daily prompts and daily posts, in addition to my gratitude, I’m back in the habit. Thank you for your help in getting me back on track, but by doing all these challenges, I’ve neglected the book I’m in the process of writing. So, please keep the challenges coming… they truly are helpful, to those sincerely looking for help. I must bow out for now and refocus on my writing, but rest assured I’ll be back. Thank you very much!!

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      1. Thank you. Good luck to you as well!! I’ll still be doing my own gratitude blog and maybe an occasional prompt… I just get so consumed with the challenges (because with each new day they DO get more difficult) that I’ve completely neglected my book. I can’t have that. I’ve got a book in my head. I HAVE to get it out.

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    1. I don’t quite understand today’s challenge, but I think that’s because my heart just isn’t in it. I want refocus my writing with pen and paper. I think your response to todays challenge is awesome. Maybe it’s because I suffer from severe anxiety and panic attacks and can totally relate, but you did a good job!! I don’t believe there’s a right and wrong. It works or it doesn’t… for YOU. Keep up the good work!!

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    1. Beautiful story. Marriage has always been some what of a serious issue with me; not something to take lightly. I wish my ex husband felt the same. My current boyfriend (also divorced) says marriage is nothing but a piece of paper. But it’s NOT!! You are vowing to love your partner for the rest of your life; making a promise bigger than almost any other. Maybe it’s my own insecurities, and I’m looking for the kind of love you find in romance novels; maybe it’s because my opinion of marriage is so vastly different than any man I’ve ever met. Either way, it was a beautiful read. Thanks for sharing!!

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      1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I agree marriage is a huge decision, not to be taken lightly. I hope you get your happy ending!

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    2. I think I already have it. I’ve learned to let go of expectations and have been pleasantly surprised. I’m a single mom to an amazing 11 year old son; his father recently sent me an e mail telling me to move out of state, he’s done with our son (believe it or not, this was a HUGE blessing); if my current boyfriend thinks of it as nothing more than a piece of paper, if he ever does propose, I don’t know that I’ll say yes. I want someone to value marriage the same way I do. If he were to cave, I know he’d only be doing it to appease me. So, maybe marriage just isn’t for me. I’m content with all that I have. I’m grateful for all that I have. All that I have is enough for me I guess. It’s just nice to know that there are still real love stories out there … I’m happy for you.

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  4. Challenging, will have to think this through, foreboding or not?

    Wondering Michelle if you have any suggestions re: search engines and/or why I seem to get less traffic this course than Blogging 101? Seems to me we used some tag that got all our posts in front of more people? Or did I imagine that?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

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    1. Hi Sandra,

      I found your font a little difficult to read. I’m short-sighted, so I thought this may be due to me not wearing my glasses. However when I put on my glasses I still felt the same.

      I hope this helps!

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    1. FYI, this was based on a real conversation I had about four years ago with someone I’d just met, who turned out to be one of the defining characters in my life. It’s so perfect for today because I remember looking back on that conversation and thinking it was foreshadowing fit for fiction.

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