Creative Writing Prompt for August 3

Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017

Our Creative Writing Group meets the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. (Starting in September we'll meet the 1st and 3rd Monday) We are working through the exercises in Brian Kiteley's The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction. The assignment for August 3rd is Teamwork - 161.

Write a couple of scenes about a group of workers and a boss who are working on an intellectual project (rather than physical labor)--advertising, engineering, architectural planning, laboratory work. Give these scenes to us from one anonymous perspective (one of the workers or the manager). Try to work out some of the essential problems and hidden conflicts of this sort of camaraderie--false or true. You decide whether you believe in the situation--whether you think it is possible for a group to work together for goals other than the individual's goals. 800 words

The sociologist Richard Sennett, in "The Corrosion of Character; The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism", describes a relatively recent phenomenon in the workplace--the misleading idea of teamwork:

Groups tend to hold together through keeping to the surface of things; shared superficiality keeps people together by avoiding difficult, divisive personal questions. Teamwork might seem to be just another example, therefore, of the bonds of group conformity. But the ethos of communication and information sharing gives conformity a particular twist: the emphasis on being flexible and open to change made members of the team susceptible to the slightest twitches of rumor or suggestion from others on the party-office-lunch-club network.

Even the boss is a member of the team in this conception of teamwork, and honest communication among teammates is encouraged, although not between underlings and the boss or manager.

Come with six copies of your completed assignment to share. We'll discuss and provide feedback. First time? Feel free to come and observe before jumping in.

NOTE: After August 17 this group will move to the 1st and 3rd Monday. Information can be found at