by Keith Hoerner
coffee, no cream
He told the class to never begin stories with a character waking to the sound of an alarm clock. “Editors of literary journals have seen this an unending amount of times; they even instruct writers of this colorless plot device in their submission guidelines—and not to do it. So, if you want to waste a chance for publication, don’t listen to experience, beep away...” The student who had just done so looks at him deflated; however, this wasn’t the instructor’s intent. It was simply a good example for a teachable moment. Then, the wall clock buzzed, and class ended.