Friday Writing Exercise 7 Comments

Time to get your pens out and write something over the weekend! Thanks so much to the guys who tried last week’s exercise and posted it on the blog.

Don’t forget, these exercises are designed to challenge and push you, to inspire you and to get something started. If you find a spark or even just a sentence or a phrase you like – take it and run with it! Shape it into something and then submit to the magazine.

In this week’s exercise you need to choose two characters and a setting. Try and think of something specific, but not too specific. You want to challenge yourself but leave yourself open to something unexpected too! Once you’ve chosen your characters and setting, follow this list of sentences to write – you must mention the thing or write the sentence the way the list tells you.

1. A book.

2. The weather.

3. A sound.

4. A piece of dialogue with more than 10 words.

5. An animal.

6. A current event.

7. A piece of dialogue that is a question.

8. A texture.

9. The ceiling or the floor or the ground.

10. A piece of dialogue with less than 6 words.

So you should end up with a paragraph that is 10 sentences long, and the first sentence will mention or have something to do with a book and the second will mention or have something to do with the weather and so on. Make sense? Yes? Then go forth and write!

  • Maddie

    Mel woke slowly and to the sight of the books piled on his bedside table. Outside the rain fell heavy and noisy. Joe groaned and turned over, kissed her shoulder, left a wet mark.

    ‘I wonder if we should go and have breakfast at that place around the corner?’ He said, pulling her closer to him.

    ‘I have to walk the dog.’ said Mel, getting up and pulling on clothes.

    ‘It’s fucking raining Mel, haven’t you heard that we’re expecting big fuck-off floods if it keeps going like this?’ He spread his arms and legs out on the bed and yawned.

    ‘Are you going to see your mother today?’ she asked. Joe just closed his eyes, so she wrapped a thick soft scarf around her neck and closed the door. She stood outside the bedroom for a second and looked up at the ceiling, wondering how long until it gave in and started to leak.

    When Mel walked into the living room the dog jumped off the couch, looking guilty but she just sighed and said ‘We all feel like that sometimes don’t we?’

  • Constance Cuddleberry

    As Johnno turned the footy on, Elise thought of that Groucho Marx quote: “I find television to be very educating: every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.” But she didn’t ark up; it was bucketing down outside, and he had spent the entire morning fixing up the crib they’d found in hard rubbish.

    She settled into her reading chair in the furthest room, propped her book on her belly, and heard him turn the volume up a couple of notches. That same bloody commentator, every bloody Saturday, like clockwork: ‘-kicks it deep and the ball spills off the pack and Higgins roves and snaps, and snaps truly for a magnificent team goal!’ What a bloody turkey. All this talk about overpopulation: if they culled a few more like him there’d be no worries.

    ‘Hey babe, wanna go the pub tonight?’ Johnno barked through the thin walls. The whole house was thin, threadbare, like a scruffy old shirt.

    She looked up at the ceiling at the huge brown water mark and felt the old worry, again. He’d run her a bath one night and then went to pick up dinner; soon such carelessness might cost more than a ruined roof.

    ‘Lise, are you there? Lise?’

  • Maddie

    I love that both these pieces use rain as the weather. Nice!

  • Maddie

    And also both pieces use the ceiling reference to worry about leaky roofs.

  • Riana

    Instead of finishing my book I had been watching the black and white heron bobbing about in the creek, it seemed to stay under for ages. Now the sunlight had disappeared as well. There was a thump on the track behind followed by Timothy’s loud announcers voice “ We have to get going. It looks like rain. ”
    I waited until he got closer and then waved so he would come down to the rock. He had his spaniel on the lead at least.

    “ You always signal your presence by clomping about like a Neanderthal ! ”

    “ Here’s the map, we’d better start back. ” he said without looking at me as he handed it over with one hand and clicked Wogger free with the other.

    Wogger sprang after the bird but his back end slipped out sideways on the ledge and he slid into the pool.
    Watching him splash about trying to get a foothold I remembered wild packs of canines were terrorising the local wildlife. It had been in the paper.

    “Why did you have to bring the dog?” I said under my breath as I shook the leaves from my jacket.

    The bird’s silhouette seemed to glower from the top of the waterfall like a polished ebony totem pole, admonishing wing tips outstretched. Then a curtain of rain dollops thumped to the ground breaking up the the water and everything was suddenly white.

    “QUICK ! ”
    ” WOGGER ! HERE BOY ! “

  • Duncan

    The flames spread faster than he’d expected and soon every book on the shelf was ablaze. Outside the broad library windows the air was dark and damp and swirled with a deep chilling wind, but as he surveyed the growing fire he felt warm enough to remove his beanie and unbutton his jacket. Amidst the rising black haze, the comforting orange glow and the rich erratic crackle of heavy shelves burning, he thought he could hear a noise nearby, a voice speaking in shuddering gasps.

    “This is not happening and I am just having a nightmare because people don’t just set fire to books in empty libraries and I just have to wake up and pack up my stuff and leave.”

    He follows the source of the voice and sees her sitting there, curled up and quivering, like a frightened rodent stuck under the stairs. She stares into the fire through the gaps between the steps, sitting behind a desk scattered with political textbooks and articles about the riots in Greece.

    “What are you doing here?” he growls, knowing she could well ask him the same question.

    She snaps to attention and briefly stares into his smooth, black marble eyes, before scampering up the stairs and away.

    Alone again, a grim smile spreads across his face and he continues to watch the flames licking the ceiling, leaping to other shelves, reducing every thick volume to smoke and ash.

    “This is the only way.”

  • Kate

    The pages of the scrapbook were so worn and feathery that Jayne used only the tips of her fingers to carefully turn them. She had pulled the floral curtains closed, afraid the morning sun would corrode the already fragile clippings and photos. From the bed, her grandmother groaned and murmured fitfully in her sleep.
    “I can’t find my school-case, I can’t remember where I put it and I know my new pencils are in there and the red one…” She trailed off and her cat Charlie, curled at the end of the bed, stretched and resettled, his head tucked underneath a paw. Only last week had the council-run nursing home relaxed the stringent ‘no animals’ policy, allowing pets to remain inside the residents’ bedrooms.
    “Gran, are you ok?” Jayne asked, leaning over and gently touching her grandmother’s papery fingers. At her touch, the old woman’s eyes flew open and she cried out, grabbing Jayne’s hand and pulling her out of her chair, the scrapbook spilling onto the floor.
    “Find it! Harry! The red…!”

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