Friday Writing Exercise 5 Comments

Personally, I find descriptions to be the hardest part of a story. See, what happens is that I’ll have a rough plot in my head and there’s this part in the narrative that I desperately want to get to, because that’s the part I have the words for. But what about the other parts? What about setting up the scene, creating an image of my characters or adding that extra bit of depth? That’s unfortunately where the clichés come in.

For this exercise, I’m going to give you the beginnings of a sentence that requires you to follow up with a description. See if you can expand on it; create characters or scenes or emotions. As always, work with the first thing that pops into your head. However, watch out for phrases that you’ve read before, see if you can twist them round.

Bonus points if you can guess where I stole these from:

He looked down at me from his pedestal. ‘Have faith.’ Having faith in him was like…

To start the bar I’d borrowed as much as I could from every place that would lend me money, and I’d almost repaid it all. Things were settling down. Up until then, it had been a question of sheer survival, of keeping my head above water, and I didn’t have room to think of anything else. I felt like I’d…

That’s all it was. A huge plate of fat. His fingers found the fork. It seemed as if I was watching…

What they are hanging from is hooks. The hooks have been set into the brickwork of the Wall, for this purpose. Not all of them are occupied. The hooks look like…

  • Daniel

    Well here’s my crack at it (my first comment too, wooo!)…. it took a lot longer than 10 minutes, but I figure that I can just blame that on me trying to avoid cliches and that I’m feeling rusty.

    But that’s enough of excuses, enjoy!

    ########

    He looked down at me from his pedestal. ‘Have faith.’ Having faith in him was like… having faith in him. I mean he was Jesus Christ for God’s sake! I was quaking all over from the moment he, that statue started talking. Sure, I’ve dabbled in some drugs and I might have had a bit to drink before I’d stopped by the chapel, but Jesus talking to you? That’s just Hallmark channel crap that I’d feed myself in a spiritual crisis, which I was most definitely not in now. So I just did what I’d normally do…. I pretended that he was after someone else. Unfortunately my experience of that usually extended to people pissed off drunk. The poster boy of the church was none too impressed.

    ##############################

    To start the bar I’d borrowed as much as I could from every place that would lend me money, and I’d almost repaid it all. Things were settling down. Up until then, it had been a question of sheer survival, of keeping my head above water, and I didn’t have room to think of anything else. I felt like I’d end up a homicidal case found pickling in a vat of Foster’s if I didn’t get this right. For this, excluding the Foster’s beer, was what I needed to get through this funk of homelessness. A bar in the seediest part of Surfer’s Paradise (a none too hard endeavor) with the stock standard bar, bar stools, and a year’s worth of mixed nuts to get me started was exactly what was needed to soothe my stretched out life. Well that’s what I thought until I remembered, just as the bar was opening, that alcohol and drugs don’t generally mix.

    A night of speed and ecstasy later I found myself in a vat of Foster’s beer pickling while several cops attempted to rescue me….. by drinking.

    ###########################

    That’s all it was. A huge plate of fat. His fingers found the fork. It seemed as if I was watching a reenactment of The Blob… running was out of the question since all it seemed to do was sit there in the lab. This experiment, while riveting in theory was turning out to be a tad too real.

    “Doctor you sure this isn’t alive?” I asked nervously as he began to test out his new nano perfected cutlery.

    “Nonsense Philip my boy. This ….” He paused to poke the blob of fat with his finger. “Creation is nothing more than a byproduct of genetic engineering. If I may make a metaphor it is nothing more than the grit in the corn of creation.” The blob rippled in apathy to the statement, a mesmerizing vegetable state unknowing of its fate.

    “And the RSPCA won’t be on our asses for negligence?”

    “Those bunch of sissies? Pah! As if they could even bear to use a motor vehicle to get here. Those hippies can do nothing more than write nasty letters, arguing about the genocide caused by spray and wipes. I won’t allow my own life be dictated by the empathy of the sad and lonely.”

    With that statement he stabbed the blob with his fork, and…and… the blob wobbled. Slowly at first, and then with greater frequency, shifting its pale pearl sheen into a shifting rainbow of refracted light and metal. The Doctor’s hand, still gripped around the fork, attempted to pull away, but the blob just clenched on to the perfected implement. Stabbing down with his knife, the good Doctor attacked the creature again and again, but all it would do was wobble with more and more frequency. Suddenly, with an almighty shudder the blob jerked and the Doctor flew up and down in synch with its frequency.

    “Help me Philip, it’s got me,” he yelled furiously as he wedged his knife through to the fork in an effort to dislodge himself.

    “Let go you fool! They’re not worth it!”

    I killed him in that instance. The moment he let go his body flew across the room, face first, into the wall. When I reached him, his nose was lodged too far back for the damage to be a mild concussion. He was dead.

    ########################

    What they are hanging from is hooks. The hooks have been set into the brickwork of the Wall, for this purpose. Not all of them are occupied. The hooks look like the oversized metal shoes of birds, if ever such things could be tamed. For the Wall is a testament to the grand failure of those would be Inventors of yesteryear.

    So bold with ideas, so brash with resources, they took whatever we deemed useless and made it into a necessity. Weeds to medicine, reeds to paper, hair to rope, they took the order of things and tried to make it better. Playing Creator for the few woes of the useless decrepit, those Inventors would make up more and more work for what essentially was the gain of only the very few. Mines roaming the land only served the blacksmiths, libraries were for those who could only read and flight, a treasure above all others, was for those who had wings.

    We curse them now as we cursed them then. For they ran when we saw they went too far, when we saw them take our children, when we saw our geese and birds butchered, they ran when confronted with the truth. So as surely as when they rose up in the air on abominations of bird-man and machine, they will fall back to earth on the weight of their guilt.

    And so over the years, with each caught falling bird-man, we attach their feet back to the Wall they once took refuge in. Not in gratitude for valor, or as a trophy, but as a reminder to the Others that flourished under the Inventors Renaissance.

    So slipping through the cracks of our society, you lived glinting shamefully amongst us, so too will you die filling in the cracks, as nothing more than mortar.

  • RBS

    Phwoar, awesome work Daniel.

  • Amber

    You only get one, Cathy. Because I am tired and now it’s Monday.

    *

    That’s all it was. A huge plate of fat. His fingers found the fork. It seemed as if I was watching a coyote lick clean its catch. The lighting was dimmed and I felt like an intruder holding the reflector. The photographer moved in quickly, there was neon white light on the shiny platter. In the light, I closed my eyes and tried to remember why I’d taken the job.

    The woman shifted on the plate. Her knees looked an angry red. I looked at the globe of her skin on her neck, the hive of her body and the plastic fruit. The grapes, the apples, the cardboard feel of the orange and apple. The coyote was dressed, a line of sweat on his collar. I wondered if his wife was a twig of a woman, if she drove with both hands or just the one. If she had lost herself, too.

    I looked at the woman on the platter again. The coyote put his face close to the skin of her tattooed leg. He poised the fork to the rounded thigh, the utensil pinched at skin.

    The photographer looked at the tiny screen. ‘No, no…this is not right.’

    • Amber

      See: spelling mistakes + lack of mistakes = repetition

      • Amber

        and see: lack of mistakes as JUST MISTAKES.
        Virgule blog makes me contradict myself. :(

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