Prepared by: Florence Cardinal
Posted on: May 18, 2003
Reposted on: September 5, 2004
Reposted on: September 11, 2005
Have you ever read the classified ads in
the newspaper and wondered
story behind some of them? For example:
FOR SALE: Wedding gown, Size 8. Never
worn. PH: XXX XXXX. Why
didn't the lady
wear her wedding gown?
TO GIVE AWAY: Five year old male cocker
spaniel. Great with kids.
Looking for a good home. Why are these folks giving away the family
For this week's assignment, find a
classified ad that looks like it
a story behind it. If at all possible, use a newspaper. Maybe you have
delivered daily, read it at the office or the library, or you could go
buy one, just to do this exercise. The smell of printer's ink, to me,
always personified journalism and writing. However, if no newspaper is
available, many can be found online. Check this site for newspapers
The exercise: Think about the ad. Ask
yourself why the person is
item, or perhaps it's an ad for something lost -- or found. Or try the
personals. They're always interesting. Then, in 400 words or less, tell
story, or, considering the word limit, part of the story, that might
why the ad is in the paper. Be sure to post the ad and credit the
stick to the information given. Don't change the family dog to a
substitute a pair of glass slippers for the wedding gown.
Florence Cardinal's wrap-up
Posted on: May 26, 2003
What a great variety of ads, not at all
what I was expecting. I
thought everyone would head over to the personal column. I was
gratified to see you proved me wrong.
The stories and partial stories show your
imaginations were working
well, and I saw an improvement in the critiques. Some still said
nothing but - Hey! I like this! but the majority gave reasons why
something did or didn't work for them and some even suggested ways the
stories might have worked better.
What was the purpose of this exercise? I
wanted everyone to realize
that story material lies everywhere. In fact, once you get your mind
working, it's impossible to get away from story ideas. They pop out at
you from the most surprising places.
This was a fun exercise I think. Keep up
the great work.
Pam Hauck's wrap-up
Posted on: Sat, 11 Sep 2004
Wrap-up for "This is Classified"
Prepared by Florence Cardinal
Thanks to everyone who participated in the
rerun of this week's This
Classified exercise developed by Florence Cardinal.
We've seen a broad variety of newspaper
ads that sparked writer's
imaginations from all over the world. Several ads came from online
some from local papers. One ad was placed in the paper by the writer of
submission. Another ad was from a paper dated 1949. Some of the ads
as foreshadowing, while others didn't.
Overall, this week's stories, or partial
stories, used more levity
usual. We had stories from ads about a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse
oak coffin, a black midget named Standello who makes a house call with
lover Othello, and a six-feet tall life-like Elvis statue.
Other submissions were created from ads
that mentioned a Albino
python female snake, a young grey tiger striped female cat, a pure
dove also known as Peace Dove, and handcrafted bed headboards with
One writer mentioned in a critique:
"Seeing which parts spark the
imagination and which parts are left alone is part of the fun for me in
In reviewing this week's work I noticed
Florence had stated, "Then,
words or less, tell the story, or, considering the word limit, part of
story, that might explain why the ad is in the paper." All of our
didn't explain why the ad was in the paper, mine included. That's
we can aim for next time.
Florence also said: "What was the purpose
of this exercise? I wanted
everyone to realize that story material lies everywhere. In fact, once
get your mind working, it's impossible to get away from story ideas.
pop out at you from the most surprising places."
I appreciate everyone's response and wish
you all the best with your
Web site created by
Rhéal Nadeau and
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Modified by Gayle Surrette.