Based on conversations with students, I have revised these instructions–to clarify the spirit of the assignment. These revisions appear in bold font.
Bring to class, typed, as close to half a draft of your story as possible.
A word about this story assignment:
It is a realistic story of about 1000 words. A story that reveals something about life today in this country. Your story does not need to be ABOUT America, just SET IN this country. Don’t worry about this aspect of the story. I most cases, it will take care of itself. The main reason for my mentioning this element is the possibility that someone reading your story will have a small window into Americans’ experiences and thoughts. Keep in mind what you have said about fiction’s special gifts: emotions, individual experience (vs. general), personal connection, empathy (vs. sympathy).
I recommend you pick a conflict to develop. Conflicts can be external or internal. I also recommend that you limit the number of characters in the story. You only have a thousand words. Also, remember that setting can reinforce or echo some of the story’s conflict.
Finally, decide if you want to use first or some version of third person.