Weekend Workout (ReRun): Defining Moments

(Danika’s blog is (mostly) in syndication for the summer. This is a repost from August 2010) Author Anne Fleming has a brilliant short story called The Defining Moments of My Life, which I use in the classroom to inspire students for one of my favourite writing exercises. Fleming’s short story is told as a series of moments that defined the character/narrator during her youth. The brilliance of her piece is that it is in two parts, the first part being “The Defining Moments of My Life as Envisioned by My Mother when Pregnant with Me.” This shorter section includes things like: 4. I am an easy baby, gurgling happily in my crib. Each stage described in the baby books I enter into promptly and exactly. At X days, my eyes focus past ten inches...

Weekend Writing Workout – Defining Moments Part II – Character Development

I gave an exercise last weekend called “The 10 Defining Moments of my Life” inspired from a short story by Canadian Author Anne Fleming called “The Defining Moments of my Life.” It’s a fabulous story first told from the perspective of protagonists’ mother before she is born. What her mother fantasizes her daughter’s perfect life will be like. It is then told again from the protagonists’ perspective. Well, we all know, life is messy and doesn’t happen the way we, or our parents, always fantasize it does. The story is told in list form, each “defining moment” numbered. As the protagonist’s life journeys on, the numbers get a little wonky. As does her life. Last week I asked you to do this for...