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Robert Altman Week


« In Which We Vow To Stop This Immediately »

You can find an archive of our Saturday fiction series here.

Red Portrait no. 2, Adam Neate

Things I Will Never Do In My Writing Again


Finish in the place that I started.

Have a protagonist reassure another, even in jest.

Create a victim of any accident, unless it is the breaking of a fingernail or burning of a house.

Ring a doorbell.

Reveal a detailed background on how anything received its name except a boat.

Use water as a metaphor for rebirth; e.g. feeling better after a hot shower.

Force one character to respond to another by saying, "Yes."

Imply a married woman is tormented by an abusive or compelling relationship from her past.

Someone is a moment too late flipping off the safety of a gun.

End with a man opening or closing his arms.


Unveil sex that concludes when someone leaves without saying a word.

Suggest stairs that only last for one flight.

Let my people imagine they cannot leave the world in which they live.

Have anything hinge on the gesture of someone giving away their money, whether it be a nickel or a billion dollars.

Pretend e-mail and cell phones never existed.

Speak to the dead.

Give a personal history of a character that includes the sentence, "After graduating from Columbia..."

Detail the appearance of the ocean or the power of the weather.

Describe disgust as if it were not also a kind of pleasure.

Play with the ring on her finger.

Divine any political point more complicated than hinting that poverty is degrading.

Give a blessing.

Sing a song.

Make any reference, no matter how oblique, to him.

Lois Ehrenreich is a writer living in New York.

Paintings by Adam Neate.

"Hunting For You" - Robbie Williams (mp3)

"Different" - Robbie Williams (mp3)

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