I was going to post about clichés and conventions in writing this week. However, I have been busy with my self-editing course (the first instalment was on plot), and so haven’t got any further than a brief outline of what I wanted to write about. I would hate to publish a blog post late (regardless of my lax approach to punctuality in real life) and so I have decided to take the easy way out for a second time.
As I mentioned the first time I took the easy way out, I have been keeping my creative juices bubbling (and having a lot of fun) working on exercises from “642 Things to Write About”. Here are a selection of pieces I have recently written. I feel the need to tell you again (to save my own blushes) that these were written without too much thinking, are entirely unedited, and, therefore, on the silly side.
So… to the writing…
The girl with no face
Prompt – “A strange girl who hides herself under layers and layers of clothing”
I imagine she has red eyes, or maybe no eyes at all. That would explain the veil tugged down to her chin. Perhaps she doesn’t even have a face. I know she’s a girl though. I can tell she’s a girl despite the man’s coat and the numerous cardigans and the wellington boots. She tilts her head like a girl and sips her drink like a girl. She’s turned towards me now, twisting her cup with one hand. I think she likes me.
Reading, ‘riting and raising a thief
Prompt – “The first lie you were caught in”
It had been an empty Oxo tin, the foil-wrapped cubes now replaced by words. Cat. Dog. Rat. Scrawls on scraps of paper, only just beginning to represent animals in my head. My parents wanted to test me on my flash cards but I suspected an ulterior motive. “Get your tin”, they said.
I walked to my bedroom, thumping heart and fussing fingers. I picked up the tin, clutched it to my chest. I imagined the contents sizzling white, turning the scribbled letters to ash. My prize possession. My stolen goods. “Open your tin”, they said. Was it me or were their smiles knowing? I removed the lid. “A conker!” they said. I blushed, stammered, stuttered.
“I found it in the playground.” I couldn’t do it though. “No, actually, I took it from the nature table when no-one was looking”.
That was better. The truth was out.
(True story, by the way)
Prompt – “Write a story that ends with the line, “And this is the room where it happened””
The bathroom isn’t to my taste. Clean enough, new enough, but why so grey? He opens a cabinet, gestures to the shelves inside. “Deceptively spacious”, “small but perfectly formed”, “cozy as a skinny man’s coffin”. Estate agency buzzwords. Well, except for the last one, perhaps.
We move into the hallway. It’s long, carpeted and I like it, but not enough. I’ll let him show me the rest anyway. It’s a bit like a day out, house-hunting – a poor man’s National Trust or English Heritage card. He leads me into the bedroom.
“It’s a good area, you know. Good schools. Nice pubs.” He looks out of the window. “Got a missus?” He’s a chatterbox, this one. I nod, even though it’s none of his business really. I glance at the bed. She’d love a bed like that. Not that we’re taking the place.
He passes me on his way into the hall. “There have been a few problems though. It was in the news.”
We duck into a second bedroom and a study before he speaks again.
“It involved Ivory Lettings actually.” He points at the badge clipped to his jacket pocket.
“How so?” I ask.
We’re at the bottom of some stairs now. I sigh. It’s only the first viewing of the day. Five more, two of them with this guy. He leads me up the steps.
“A man got hold of some business cards. Pretended to be an estate agent”.
I shake my head because I hadn’t heard that – I’m not local. He’s at the top now, stopped in front of a door. “Not everything made it into the paper though. He killed a man.” He pushes it open, flicks a light switch.
“And this is the room where it happened.”
I hope you liked them! I have noticed I tend to write in quite a different style when doing exercises – maybe I view it as a chance to branch out and try something new. It’s all good practise in any case, and I’m off to apply what I have learned to my self-editing course exercises. I will be back next week with my already-planned out (and, for me, far less embarrassing) post on conventions and clichés.