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Mona Lisa's Sister

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I let her choose her seat first and I kept my personal space by sitting across the room. The sunshine of the window peeked into the icey inclosure. The sound of my teeth imprinting the mint gum in my mouth filled the silent room. Her eyes darted the room nervously, as if she was afraid.

"Nice place you have here," she said.

I lightly brushed my ebony hair behind my left ear.

"It's nice," I agreed, "I'm hoping to paint the walls a brighter color. The white makes the room kind of empty." I could hear the couple in the apartment above me angrily arguing , it was which brand of soap to buy today, through the styrofoam ceiling. I awkwardly grabbed the decoration pillow on the love seat I was sitting at and hugged the lacy detail against my chest. The fake diamond necklace resting around my neck caught on the tread of the pillow.

Her facial expressions mimicked the Mona Lisa as she watched her foot bounce.

"Well, um . . .," I muttered. She repositioned her seat on the couch; I watched her. "Why did you come here? Did you want to talk with me about something?" The hands of the clock ticked in a steady beat, feeding the silence.

"I just can't believe you!" she accused, causing her eyebrows to brush up like she glued a squirrel to her face as part of her daily beauty routine. I could feel my toes dancing an Irish dance inside of my ballet flats as I tried to make sense of her accusation.

"I quit," she whispered, " I just quit."

Author's Note: This short story is only 20 sentences. I recently attended a writing workshop with a Creative Writing professor teaching. She had us do this 20 sentence writing exercise. I challenge you to try it and submit your result. I am excited to see what you come up with!

Here are the guidelines:

Characters: Only two characters, one of the characters is the enemy of the other. The character may not know that s/he is the enemy or they may know.

Setting: Characters must be in the same room/space throughout the whole short story.

Plot: The only restriction is that there has to be some conflict between the two characters. That conflict can be anything.

Only a first or third person-any type of third allowed. No second person.

Each sentence must have the guideline. Example: 1) Must have the color red. My sentence: Sally wore a red shirt. And you are only allowed 20 sentences. Semi colons, hyphens, exedra are allowed.

Remember, this is a short story so by the end, it should feel somewhat complete.


1) Must have a reference to a space. The space can be actually there or metaphorical.
2) Some type of light. (Lightbulb, sun, flashlight, etc.)
3) A description of a sound.
4) A description of an emotion.
5) Only a five word dialogue. The tag line, if used, does not count as the five words.
6) Must have the word light in it. Light may be the root word.
7) The dialogue must be more then 10 words and a response to the previous dialogue. Again, tag line does is not part of the word count.
8) Another sound, but a different sound from the first.
9) A description of a touching something and some type of furniture must be mentioned.
10) A type of jewelry mentioned.
11) A reference to a current event. If that does not work, do a reference to art or music.
12) A filler word as a dialogue from a character. Filler words are words such as, 'Well', 'Um', and 'Uh'.
13) A character must be touching a decoration or sitting on some type of furniture.
14) A dialogue as a question.
15) Another dialogue question.
16) The word hand or hand as the root word must be used.
17) A dialogue with an exclamation point.
18) A reference to an animal.
19) Must have the word dance. Again, dance can be the root word.
20) The word whisper or the root word whisper must be used. Dialogue is allowed.

Happy writing!


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