Assignment 3: A Picture is Worth 300 Words

Two pieces, no more than 300 words each

Bring copies for me and the rest of your peer review group on Tuesday, 9/25

In this piece, you'll try to capture the essence of two places.  That's the whole job.  "Place" here can be defined by you:  it can be a landscape, a house, a building, a neighborhood, a room.  It would probably best if the place evokes some visceral or emotional response in you.


But there are rules:

  • You must write two separate pieces about two separate places;
  • You may not exceed 300 words in either piece.

That's it.  But 300 words is not many words, so this is going to be an exercise in economy, in choosing.  You'll probably end up writing a 600 word draft, and then you'll have to cut it in half.  But that's the point:  you're trying to boil this piece down to its bones.  When it's done, it should be as hard and as clear as ice.

Pieces like this are usually referred to as "vignettes," which, translated, more or less means "snapshot."  Think of the piece that way, as a photograph:  some photographs are out of focus, or overexplosed; but the best photographs imply something deep about their subjects by catching them, in just the right moment, in just the right light, in just the right composition of details.  That's what you're after here:  a good, sharp, interesting photograph.

Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012, 6:43 AM