Writing Assignment #1: East Hollywood Luuuv Stories

This week you’re writing a first draft of a personal narrative (a story about yourself that is true, or at least “truthy”) about one of your experiences falling in or out of luuuv. In two weeks, we’ll prepare these stories for filmed interviews and tell them on-camera for the school’s Documentary and Editing classes to play with. Don’t forget that what you write will have a real-world audience made up of your peers, parents, teachers, and anyone who logs on to YouTube. They all want to laugh (at or with you) and cry and care about what’s happening on-screen, so let’s make this good! The main way to make it good is to be honest–brutally honest. Don’t worry–it’s not like you have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets. You just have to be yourself and try to help the audience understand how you really felt.


Earlier this week, we started brainstorming some ideas for writing, and we also collected quotes from Romeo and Juliet to tie into our stories and make ourselves sound intelligent and all. As you sit down to write, you should have both of those items handy and use them as you’re getting started.

Discovery Draft

The draft you’re writing today is a Discovery Draft–you don’t know exactly what you want to say yet, or why. Hopefully, you have a couple of interesting ideas on your brainstorm or quotes sheets to start with. Start broad, but as soon as you find a story or a detail that interests you, make your writing more specific and focused.


The main thing to pay attention to is your storytelling. Get your audience interested from the beginning with interesting and unique details and unexpected events and observations. Reveal the facts of the situation gradually as the story moves along so they keep asking questions. Make sure your story has some sort of main conflict–all stories are about “trouble,” really. Make the conflict rise to a climax, where there’s a crucial decision or event that determines the outcome. In your climax, be funny, or tragic, or both.

Keep it short and simple, but give the audience enough detail to really care about the people in the story, i.e., YOU.


The assignment requires you to include a quote from Romeo and Juliet somewhere in your story. You could work the quote in as a description of a situation or character. You could also use the quote to comment on what happened, to introduce your story, or as a conclusion. Here’s an example of how I might use it in the beginning of my story:

What good is love, really? Shakespeare, who knew some things about love, said that love is nothing more than “a smoke raised with the fume of sighs…a madness most discreet” (1.1). He knew what he was talking about. Love has never brought me anything but a nervous tic in my right eyebrow and a severe pain in my butt…

Notice the reference (that 1.1 in parentheses). That’s the act and scene number. Since we’re all writing about Romeo and Juliet, that’s all you need for a reference.

Assignment Details

  • Tell an interesting story about an experience you’ve had with love, including getting a crush, first physical contact (hand-holding, a pat on the head, getting accidentally clobbered by your true love’s backpack, etc.), lovers squabbles, a painful (-ly funny) break up, or even the proverbial “rebound.” (After all, Juliet is probably the most famous “rebound” in history!) Choose any phase of “love” you have something to say about.
  • Include a quote from Romeo and Juliet and the proper citation (act#.scene#)
  • Write 1-2 pages, double spaced, following the standard MLA format we used all last semester on our response papers. (Check out this sample document to see exactly how it should be formatted.)

That’s all I’ve got for you. Get writing. Your rough draft is due Monday. No credit for late drafts!



9 responses to “Writing Assignment #1: East Hollywood Luuuv Stories

  1. hey, I’m writing about my book, but can’t summarize it in one small paragraph. You see, my book is about three very different people with three very different stories. So my summary is three paragraphs long.

    Is that okay? I hope it is, because that’s the best way possible for me. Asking for one small paragraph from me is impossible.

  2. oh duh. i just figured it out……….. wow. please excuse my blondness. one paragraph. check.

  3. So this is your book review, right? It looks like you figured it out, but for the benefit of others, I can explain a bit.

    If you have three major characters and plots, your first summary might be something like this: “In this book, person A has problem X. At the same time, person B has problem Y. All of this is contrasted with problem Z that person C is having! That’s a heckuva lot of trouble!” etc. Then, if you want to write more about the plot or characters, you can do that in one or more of your analysis paragraphs. Most analysis paragraphs require a little more summarizing anyway.


  4. DAMMIT.
    i thought (since I’m gone always) it could be about anything embarrassing or terrifying or something that makes me feel vulnerable.

  5. ohhh wait. came up with an idea.
    fooled you good Matt! -slaps knee-

  6. As you can see from my lack of engagement here, I have remained cool and collected throughout your crisis. Yeah, me. (And bully for you, too.)

  7. hey matt,
    i’m sorry i’m behind a little on some stuff, i have most of the stuff that i need to turn in and i’m planning to turn them in tomorrow. is that ok?
    well i g2g.

  8. well, turn in what you’ve got, and pray! you can get full credit for the reading list, at least, and I’ll see what I can work out for the rest.


  9. the king of english, brighton metz

    no i’m not.
    that’s creepy. [and now i’ll kill you at your senior prom, Matt Thomas. oh, yesss.]

    do you approve?

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