Look at what your colleagues are doing on their vignettes – FABULOUS AND COMPLEX SIMPLICITY. Share your own gem-worthy sentence/image/excerpt and why you think it’s gem-worthy in the comments section.
I use my anger to get open, Tiana passes me the ball and I begin to dribble down the court, a defender on me, I fake right but crossover left and go hard, another defender picks me up and I dish it to Sanoe, we score! — “Before the Swish”
Why it works: the incident is a basketball game, action-packed and chaotic, so the author chooses to use long run-on sentences in present tense to speed up the play and put the reader in the stands watching as it unfolds.
Mommy. . .who wears a cape, with her black hair flowing behind her, who has super speed, who has night vision, who can fly, who can do anything, who can be anything, who is my super hero. . .–“Mommy, Who Tries So Hard”
Why it works – this piece takes a characteristic, rather than an incident, but the author spends time on that characteristic not only to create a sense of rhythm, but to create a clearer snapshot and to “show” the attitude towards this person rather than to just “tell.” This is stronger than if the author just said “My mom is my hero.”
But I might not be free. I might end up like one of those butterflies, captured by my older brother with my wings clipped together by a clothespin. Beautiful but not free. So I keep eating until I know for sure there are no more clothespins. — “Clothespins”
Why it works: The title is unique and it only comes into play on the last three sentences of the vignette. What this is about is our metaphoric need to transform into butterflies and how in life we need to keep striving in the same way that caterpillars keep eating until they are able to cocoon themselves and become butterflies. The title mirrors the theme creatively without being so obvious, and it doesn’t slam us over the head with the message, but lets us, as the readers, come to the message on our own.
Summer 2009. I’m in Kaua’i with my basketball team for a tournament called the Merv Lopes Classic. Ali’i versus Kalepa in the champtionship game with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Ali’i down 48-40.– “Losing Winners”
Why it works: There’s nothing hard about this lead. There’s nothing even poetic, except that it creates a rhythm, short and long sentences, run-ons and fragments that hint at the pace of the vignette to follow. It’s like a basketball game with bursts of speed and then the short stop to dribble and reflect.