100 Words

Early in the term, I asked my creative writing students to write 100 words exactly on either “lemon,” “asparagus,” or “bread.” We were working on descriptions, and I thought it would be an interesting exercise in writing something precise and focussed (one of the things many students have trouble with is getting to the point right away and keeping focus). Some of the results were amazing; it was a good exercise, and one that I’ll use again. I’ve given them a few more words to try for their blogging challenge, and I hope that some of them will.

It’s also surprisingly difficult. Here’s mine, on “asparagus.”

I tried growing asparagus once. It’s my favourite vegetable; I love its indescribable, slightly musty, flavour, the strange combination of textures in my mouth – crisp stem and rough, bitty tops. There’s an art to cooking it. If undercooked, it’s bitter; if overcooked, it’s soggy and tasteless. Nothing is better than eating your own asparagus fresh from the garden. Phallic, it pokes up through the soil, the early shoots surprisingly thick, sometimes twice as fat as anything you normally see in the store. At the end of its season, the shoots become wiry and fragile, tips finally bursting into feathery fronds.

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5 Responses

  1. I host a weekly 100 word writing prompt over at my blog if you ever want to join or send your students over. 🙂

    I discovered this exercise a few years ago, and it is remarkably hard, but very good practice for not economy of words.

  2. I didn’t even notice 🙂 I do that kind of thing all the time.

    • Whew. I’m delighted to find you, by the way. I found you on Twitter through your use of the #NaBloPoMo hashtag. I’m having fun going through your links.

      I will be redesigning my blog by the new year, with plans to make it more writing focused, along with a couple of other ideas I’m considering.

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