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  • When it was his turn to speak, he said, "Here, where you write about 'unrequited love', I thought you meant he was your homosexual lover."

    The woman across the table widened her eyes and said, "Oh, that didn't even occur to me."

    I almost bust out laughing, but nodded and sighed. "Yeah, that crossed my mind, but I thought it would clear itself up soon enough. Obviously not, heh."

    For Experiment #1, I wrote a story within a story. Now, for Experiment #2, I was going to try to nest another story inside, but I don't trust my "Inception" skills. So instead, I'm writing a story about a story. Specifically, this is about "Pivotal Moments".

    Everyone at the critique group was giving me variations of the same feedback: This story is confusing.

    That night, I tore up the story, rearranged all the pieces, rewrote key parts, and added a new guideline to my list.

    As I mentioned in Experiment #1, I'm forcing myself to practice a particular story format. I have a set of rules I must follow, and some guidelines I should follow.

    As a result of the rearranging, I couldn't immediately "open the story with an instigating event or conflict" (Rule #1), but it's still near the beginning so it's ok.

    I had to move the "transformative realization" (Rule #3) to the first paragraph, which seems like a less powerful position, but I couldn't figure out another place where it wouldn't confuse the reader.

    To add more concrete details, I ended up lengthening the story to over 400 words, which violates Guideline #4 ("Aim for 250 words"). On Cowbird, a 300-word story feels long.

    I have more rules and guidelines, but in the spirit of Guideline #3 ("Leave some things unsaid"), I won't document all of them here.

    Now I think the story events are clear. I'm not sure if it's an interesting story, but I'm leaving it alone for now.

    Thank you Jaga! This was a fun exercise.
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