TANDEM WRITING ASSIGNMENT

I can’t take credit for this, but I love–love–love it! One of the funniest writing things I’ve ever seen. See if you agree. It’s called The Tandem Writing Assignment:

Tandem Writing Assignment

The following is a true story received from an English professor.

You know that book “Men are from Mars, Women from Venus”?  Well, here’s a prime  example of that.  This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English  students:  Rebecca (last name deleted) and Gary (last name deleted).

First, the Assignment:

English 44A
SMU
Creative Writing
Prof. Miller

In-Class Assignment for Wednesday:
Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story.  The process is simple.  Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right.  One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story.   The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story.  The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth.

Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story  coherent.  The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.

And now, the Assignment as submitted by Rebecca & Gary:

Rebecca starts:  At first, Laurie couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted.  The camomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked camomile.  But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl.  His possessiveness  was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again.  So camomile was out of the question.

Gary takes up the story: Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in  orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago.  “A.S. Harris to Geostation 17,” he said into his  transgalactic communicator.  “Polar orbit established.  No sign of resistance so far…”.  But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of  nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay.  The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

Rebecca: He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last  pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had  feelings for him.  Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4.  “Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel.”  Laurie read in her newspaper one morning.  The news simultaneously excited her and bored her.  She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth — when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her.  “Why must one lose  one’s innocence to become a woman?”  she pondered wistfully.

Gary: Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live.  Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu’udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles.  The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy  the human race.  Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu’udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated  their diabolical plan.  The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans.  The President slammed  his fist on the conference table.  “We can’t allow this!  I’m going to veto  that treaty!  Let’s blow ’em out of the sky!”

Rebecca: This is absurd.  I refuse to continue this mockery of literature.  My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

Gary: Yeah?  Well, you’re a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.

Rebecca: Asshole.

Gary: Bitch.

 

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