To Build a Fire.
To Build a Fire & other stories
Advice: write a short story

In the story The Newcomer failed to listen to the advice of the Old Timer and it cost him his life. Has there ever been a time in your life when you did not listen to the advice or a warning from an older person and had a problem? What did they warn you about or what advice did they give you? What happened to you to make you realize that they were right?

Try to remember the words that were actually used and try to recreate the conflict, using conflict ideas from the In-story exercises.

Imaginary dialogs

Instinctive knowledge is not a character or conflict feature that is easy to write about in relation to human experience. It is interesting to note though, that top animation feature producers, like Disney, use animal characterization and conflict very effectively indeed. They portray the emotions of animals very well, in relation to how the animal is likely to feel, based on human knowledge of animal behavior.

In order to build up conflict details, it is necessary to concentrate on the characters involved in the conflict.

  • Imagine that the dog in the story can talk.
  • What advice would the dog give the man?
  • Would the man listen to the advice?
  • How would the man respond to the dog?

Retell the story as a dialog between the man and the dog. Here are the key incidents in the story to guide you.

  • The dog is cold and would like a fire.
  • The man makes the dog test the ice and the dog falls through the ice.
  • The man leaves the first fire, but the dog doesn't want to go.
  • The man falls through the ice.
  • The man builds a second fire.
  • Snow falls on the second fire.
  • The man tries to build a third fire, but fails.
  • The man tries to kill the dog.
  • The dog watches the man die.

Try to recreate some of the stronger parts of the dialog in a short story.

••• contents ••• Title Page ••• synopsis ••• pre-story ••• in-story ••• exercises ••• follow-up •••