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Enrolment Day

by Cornelia 

Posted: 30 November 2010
Word Count: 233
Summary: I once went on a writing class where some members hardly wrote anything. I began to speculate about motives for joining classes...

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‘I would have enrolled by post if I’d known the queue would be so long. This college must be highly thought of. By the way, I couldn’t help noticing you’ve put yourself down for 'dance' on your form. You must be fit. Sorry, my name’s Barbara.

‘I'm Janet. Fit? Don’t make me laugh. I‘ve got two left feet. In any case it would only aggravate my asthma.’

‘Oh. I thought as you’d chosen ‘Professional Level’ … you must be experienced. Couldn’t you go for ‘Beginners’?’

‘Oh, no. My friend’s enrolling in that advanced dance class, so I thought I’d join her. What about yourself? Ooh – ‘Music for Concert Performers’. You must have studied for years!’

‘No, I’m tone deaf, but my son’s about to apply for one of these ‘specialist’ secondary schools that goes in for music; I thought knowing some of the jargon might help.

'I say, Barbara, that girl sitting next to you seems to be struggling to fill the form in. I wonder what she’s applying for.

‘Just a minute, I’ll take a crafty peek. She’s been here for ages and she’d only managed to write her name when I last looked – probably dyslexic, or maybe it's a physical problem. She’s holding the pen a bit funny. Just a minute - she’s just filled in the subject line… I can’t believe it! ‘

‘What is it?’

‘Advanced Fiction!’

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Comments by other Members

Desormais at 14:23 on 30 November 2010  Report this post
Very good Sheila! And very ironic. The only problem I could see was just the word 'janet' on its own. I tripped over on that, until I realised she was saying her own name. Maybe just 'I'm Janet.'

Good short flash.


Katerina at 14:34 on 30 November 2010  Report this post
Lol, great little flash piece Sheila

Yes I too got a bit stuck with 'Janet', but that's easily rectified as Sandra suggested.

Loved this!

Kat x


Sorry, the only other thing was the mention of a motor problem. For obvious reasons this made me think of a car, but you meant as in motor neuron, so maybe that could be made a bit clearer?

Cornelia at 14:46 on 30 November 2010  Report this post
Thanks for such a quick response. I've fixed the odd bits. I only added the motor comment this morning. I wasn't thinking motor neurone disease but the kind of physical awkwardness that makes some people's handwriting go all over the place.


Account Closed at 15:03 on 30 November 2010  Report this post
Sheila, this was hilarious, very tongue-in-cheek! YOu ought to sub it to Twisted Tongue!


Cornelia at 15:10 on 30 November 2010  Report this post
Thanks, Petal. I just wondered if it would be appreciated out of context, and it is rather cruel, isn't it?


Account Closed at 15:50 on 30 November 2010  Report this post
I don't think it's the slightest bit cruel, if i'm honest - i just think it observes how we all want to (unrealistically sometimes) better ourselves or keep up with the Joneses. I do it sometimes, buy shopping for something really trendy or some new groovy make-up which i can never carry off.


Cornelia at 22:57 on 30 November 2010  Report this post
Thanks, Kat. I have a lot of stories that will fit nowhere, just written for my own amusement. Now I've found some old ones, though, I might think of adapting them for a possible market.


fluffyduffy at 19:59 on 01 December 2010  Report this post
I know I'm late at reading this Sheila but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed this. I thought it was funny and realistic - not at all cruel.

I'm afraid I know nothing about Twisted Tongue but I think it will be worth trying them with this story as it's good very good


Cornelia at 23:23 on 01 December 2010  Report this post
Thanks, Fluffy. I didn't think of submitting, as it was inspired by a situation that seemed bizarre at the time. I couldn't understand why people would pay, what, maybe £400 for a course and then not bother to write and get feedback.I think we had to do a portfolio. I've since learned, from doing a part-time language course at another college, that undergraduate students could choose an extra course without paying.

I'll have a look at Twisted Tongue.


Bunbry at 16:54 on 03 December 2010  Report this post
Hi Sheila, just a couple of quick suggestions that might help to tighten up the dialogue a bit. First I'd forget about giving them both names - it doesn't add to the story.

Next, I'd trim it a little to make it sharper ie I'd say you could easily cut the following.

This college must be highly thought of. By the way,

Sorry, my name’s Barbara
I'm Janet. Fit?
you must be experienced
'I say, Barbara,
etc etc

I know the way you have written it is more like 'real life' but fiction isn't the same as real life and snappier dialogue is what everyone seems to want these days!

Fianally, I'd put in a little action, even if it is only them shuffling along, just to break up all that speech.

See what you think - I hope some of this helps.


Cornelia at 22:48 on 03 December 2010  Report this post
It really does, Nick. Sometimes it's hard to identify for oneself exactly what's needed.

The names - I wanted the women to introduce themselves because as a northerner I've found striking up conversations is one thing Londoners hate. In the north you just talk to people in a queue or wahtever and no formal intro is needed. This piece is based on a particular situation I rememeber - waiting to enrol at a London college - so I thought some formality was called for. Maybe I can change it so they don't actually say their names.

Great suggestion about the action. I've written several pieces that are just dialogue, because that's where I feel most comfortable, but it's always improved with some action.


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