Ms. Gokturk



Excerpt Emulating Patricia Highsmith’s Animal-Lover’s

Book of Beastly Murders (25 points)


You may work alone or with a partner for this assignment. Imagine you are writing (or re-writing an existing story) with the intention to reveal the moral complexities of characters, the impact of abuse/oppression/cruelty, how isolation or solitude can damage spirit, and so forth.  You do not need to write the ENTIRE story; rather, free yourself of that obligation and tear a page out of the story.  You will write one page single spaced (or more) to a longer piece).  The goal of your excerpt is to reveal character, conflict, setting, and theme.  There need not be resolution.  You may write the beginning, middle or end of a bigger piece in your imagination.


YOUR TASK: :  Please write a one page excerpt (you can write more if you wish), single spaced narrative from the 1st person point of view from an animal (like “Chorus Girl”) or third person omniscient revealing an animal’s perspective (like “Bravest Rat” or “Djemal’s Revenge”).  Incorporate the same themes Highsmith has revealed:  isolation, cruelty vs. compassion, revenge, moral ambiguity/complexity, etc. and try to emulate her voice.  Pay close attention to the complexities of the characters you create/develop.


Reveal a dark side of human nature and a good side. Your narrative should establish a narrator and reveal a conflict. You don't necessarily need to resolve the conflict, though -- consider this an excerpt from a longer work


1.      POV. A) Choose an animal we already met and re-write the ending of the existing story or another part of the story: Chorus Girl, Rat, or Djemal


B) create a new animal character in a difficult situation. For example, one of Marius’ giraffe friends at the Copenhagen Zoo, the abused pitbull we discussed, a horse pulling a carriage around Central Park, a lion in a cage, a pet anaconda, etc.

  1. Clearly illustrate the setting of your animal’s world.  Use sensory imagery (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste) to make it come to life.
  2. Know your purpose.  What theme/s do you want your excerpt to reveal.  Every choice you make will be to develop your theme.
  3. Conflict. Create/develop an opposing character  or  force to your animal. What does he/she/it want and how does this create a challenge/obstacle for your protagonist?  Remember, write with purpose to reveal your theme/s.
  4. Show, don’t tell.  Use dialogue, imagery, symbolism, metaphor, juxtaposition, foreshadowing, tone, mood, etc.  to paint your purpose.

6.      Please print in "book form" -- go to FILE --> page setup --> select landscape. Go to FORMAT --> select two columns.