Cinquain Stories

     Fellow blogger and Writers Group member, Suzicate (aka The Water Witch’s Daughter) posted a story about learning cinquains from a favorite grade school teacher.  Now, I’d never learned about cinquains in school; the only short poem we were taught was a fancy Japanese haiku.  So I was interested to learn about this form of poetry which Suzicate describes:  “There are several forms of Cinquain. The easiest and the one I was taught is with 5-lines following one (title), two (explanation of title or two adjectives), three (action or -ing words), four (emotion or a phrase) and one word (relating to the title) pattern.”
     I attempted to use this pattern to tell a short story, including a story arc.  In some cases, I begin and end with a noun referring to the subject of the story.  Elsewhere, I end with an adjective.

quiet, patient
waiting, watching, planning
hidden cameras see all

trusted, beloved
fighting, rescuing, restoring
good intentions gone wrong

afraid, proud
kissing, crying, missing
news from the front

rusty, leaky
drifting, bobbing, sinking
summers on the lake

faithful, worn
bulging, tumbling, splitting
her world spills forth

warm, familiar
welcoming, sheltering, nurturing
handed down through generations

humble, determined
laboring, sacrificing, suffering
life took its toll
It’s your turn.  I’d love to read your cinquain stories in the comments section.


About SAS Fiction Girl

Writer of short fiction because I don't have the attention span to write anything longer.
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16 Responses to Cinquain Stories

  1. joanna says:

    Really, really like. Great job!

  2. nrhatch says:

    Loved these. Especially the first:

    quiet, patient
    waiting, watching, planning
    hidden cameras see all

    Reads great backwards too ~ the thief got caught by hidden cameras, and now the prisoner is monitored by them.

    Cinquins are similar to Diamante Diamonds:

    Solitary, Creative
    Rewarding, Challenging, Frustrating
    Grammar, Syntax, Punctuation, Publication
    Sharing, Caring, Distracting
    Addictive, Supportive

    • Hmmm – that’s an idea – a story that reads forward and backward, but of course the meaning changes.
      I see what you mean by the Diamante Diamond – when your “Writing” poem is centered, it does, indeed form a diamond. Then the challenge is not only to make a point, but to find words of the proper length for each line. I’ll check out your link- thank you! -Jen

  3. pattisj says:

    Those are fun, Jen. Now I just need time to think. :o)

  4. suzicate says:

    Fabulous, Jen. I love all of them! These are just as good as your incredible six word novels. Your talent always amazes me. And BTW, thanks for the shout out! I don’t know if you read Tim or not, but he’s a talented short story writer. He just self published a book of his poems for kindle; it’s only a buck. I got it, but haven’t read it yet.

  5. pattyabr says:

    You are so clever. I am envious.

    • You’re so kind! Try it, though – I’d like to see what my readers come up with.
      It takes some work, though. I came up with a number of cinquains that I didn’t think were good enough to publish.
      This is the one I put on Suzicate’s comment section:

      black, shiny
      stalling, warning, crashing
      you have failed me

      It was the easiest to write because it was born of experience. 😉

  6. jannatwrites says:

    I like what you did with these! My favorite is the suitcase one.

    • What did it make you think of?
      When I wrote it, I was picturing a homeless woman. To me it was a sad story.

      • jannatwrites says:

        I got the lonely feeling from it, but I had in mind a career woman who traveled for business and she was on another business trip, separated from her family. Perhaps this is because I have had to travel for work and it felt like my stuff was with me but my life wasn’t.

        A homeless person is definitely much sadder than my mental image.

      • That’s cool – not the lonely feeling, of course! – but that you formed a different story out of it. I’d love to hear other people’s ideas. Perhaps I should do a post where I give a description like that and the readers tell me the story! 🙂

  7. Evelyn says:

    Wow, Jen! These are excellent! I could read a whole chapbook filled with them! You might consider it. I’d love to see artwork along with some of them . . . maybe black and white photography . . . You should contact Easter Press! 🙂 So do you think the Group would kill me if I made this into a writing exercise? Hmmmm . . . I’d probably have to make it a monthly one instead of a 5-minute one just to preserve my hide . . .

    • Thank you, Evelyn. I’m happy to get a good response on the cinquains, because it turns out writing these little ditties is more difficult than I expected. I “cheated” on the format of some of them, so I could use preferred words.
      A cinquain chapbook is a cute idea, so long as it’s a group effort. 🙂
      I like how you snuck in a plug for Joanna’s publishing biz!
      Cinquain stories would make good homework. Ii’s really Susan’s idea, so I’m sure she’d be all over it.
      Meanwhile, I’m also looking into 30-word stories, which I read about on Paris (Im)perfect’s blog.

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