As I’ve done the last few days (see this page for a group of links), I’m sharing a writing exercise today. For a course in Plot from Wesleyan University via coursera.org, I was asked to write a few paragraphs of a story about a character with a clear desire. There should be escalating tension – every few sentences requires a step upward. Here’s what I came up with:
Bensworth arose early, same as every day, and began his hunt, same as every day. Humans were filthy creatures, true, but as Bensworth began to follow a human trail of refuse, he thought to himself that it was a fine thing that they were so messy. There was one hitch with Bensworth’s plan, and this rub was the same as it was every other day: he was a bear, and humans did not want to befriend a bear, no matter how friendly a particular bear might be. He closed the gap between himself and the human leaving the mess behind as he left the scraped trail and made a bee line through underbrush to cut the distance as though he were a grounded crow. “It’s probably no use, and this one will run just as the others have run, and I’ll be forced to eat dinner alone again,” he thought to himself.
As he spotted the human ambling mindlessly down the path in front of him, he salivated, and a distinct memory of a dream he’d had the night before crept into his mind. In that dream, he sat peaceably beside a man – a friend, at last – who was fishing at dusk. As the human had pulled in a fish, a sense of all-consuming urgency caused something inside him to explode, and Bensworth turned on him, devouring the poor soul in 37 seconds flat. Bensworth now closed the distance further on the new potential human friend, and he worried that he wouldn’t succeed in convincing this one of his amicable intentions. Bensworth decided to play a trick on the human, and he circled closer and closer to the hiker. Self-doubt again crept into the bear’s mind, and he wondered what he’d say and exactly what type of trick he’d pull.