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The Story of an Hour -- Writer's Poke #83

For Writers:

Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is only 1009 words long, but it's one of the most powerful stories I've ever read. Its power is in its compactness, as well as its "real-time"construction -- much like an episode in the 24 television series.

What is "the joy that kills?" For the answer to that, you'll need to read the story; suffice it to say, the "joy" that Mrs. Mallard experiences and the "joy" the doctor refers to at the end of the story are polar opposites.

Most hours in our daily lives do not contain such life and death epiphanies. In fact, perhaps we can count such impactful hours in our lives on one hand, which might be a good thing, for we certainly wouldn't want to confront each hourly chime of the clock.

Today, take notes on how you spend one hour of your time. How can you turn those notes into your own "Story of an Hour"?

"The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked." -- Tillie Olson

"Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent." -- Ambrose Bierce


  1. Hi Bret,

    Great exercise - terrific post all around! Do you mind if I link to this from my writing website?

    I loved the Bierce quote, too, although I'll have to disagree with him on his own behalf. He certainly did not "misspend" the hours he spent writing "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and "The Willows."

  2. Sounds good, Dave. Glad you liked it. By the way, if you haven't had a chance to read it, Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary" is great. For those that don't know, it's actually structured as a dictionary. :)



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