Start Writing Fiction: Exercise One

I’ve signed up for a ‘Start Writing Fiction’ course with FutureLearn and the Open University. I’m going to be posting my exercises here for posterity.

This is my effort for the first exercise.

Write a paragraph (50 to 100 words) containing one fact and three fictitious elements.

You can write about yourself, about your interests, about history – about anything you like. Then try the reverse – write a paragraph containing three facts and one fictitious element.

One of these paragraphs fulfils each of these requirements, but I leave it to the reader to guess which is which, and which elements are truthful or fictitious.

When I was a small boy, I wanted to be a palaeontologist. I couldn’t even spell the word, but I knew that it was what I wanted to be. I briefly considered a career as a ventriloquist; I think my apparent preference for careers that are difficult to spell is a coincidence but I won’t swear to it. Now I’m an insurance broker and I wonder what my younger self would think about my lack of ambition. I like to think he’d be satisfied that I’m happy, most of the time.

Sometimes the most harmful lies are the ones we tell ourselves. “I’ll do it tomorrow”, “One more won’t hurt”–I’m sure these are familiar to you. The lie in which I catch myself most often is “Nobody cares about you”. That’s the depression talking, making me lie to myself, but it’s hard to make myself realise that, sometimes. I often wonder what life is like for a narcissist; are they always happy because they never doubt themselves?

2 thoughts on “Start Writing Fiction: Exercise One

  1. I think the first paragraph has 3 facts and one fictitious element, but I can’t say I know you enough to really discern truths and lies on the second paragraph. Either way, I care about you. =]

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