For your first story, your main character should be the
narrator, as in your third exercise. In other words, this story will be
written in the
first-person, in the manner of stories such as Babel's "My First
Goose," Colette's "Bygone Spring," or Joyce's "Araby." Your
first-person narrator should be different
from you in some significant way (age, gender, or background, for
example). The story should involve an epiphany.
Action should be subtle. You may use your third exercise as your
raw material--a revised, expanded version of it.
Story 2: Using the third-person limited omniscient point of view, as in Gordimer's "Is There Nowhere Else Where We Can Meet?" or Mansfield's "Miss Brill," write an unsentimental love story. Work against the grain of conventional and-they-lived-happily-ever-after love stories. Try to convey something more complicated, more problematical about loving. Remember, you aren't required to solve all your characters' problems--just dramatize them as fully and interestingly as possible. Limit the story's key action to one extended episode taking place during a day or two.
Story 3: Your third story should also be written in third-person limited omniscient point of view. The main character should be, at least at the outset, a fairly recognizable type, a type of person you dislike. Your challenge is to take this character seriously, put yourself in his/her skin. Devise a situation in which this unpleasant character becomes vulnerable, human, as complicated as you and me. Although this is a focused narrative and therefore without authorial commentary or judgment, you can (and probably should) express indirectly what you think about the character through his or her own actions, thoughts, feelings, and words; let readers draw their own conclusions, though. Work throughout the story to convey a context for the key action and at the end to project an implicit sense of what likely lies ahead for this character--can he change, will he change?
Story 4: For this final story, do a substantial revision/expansion of one of your earlier ones. Substantial changes might involve: