Writing Exercise #6 – Chatter

Writing Exercise

Write a story using nothing but dialogue. Try to describe the setting and emotions in a natural way but do not add narrative.

Response to Exercise #5

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Class was mind-numbingly boring. He’d already read the chapter being discussed and had no questions except for ones he knew the teacher wouldn’t answer. As he sat at his desk, eyes glazed over and feeling like the teacher was speaking like the adults in Charlie Brown, he decided to sharpen some of his pencils, at least it would look like he was doing something. As he grabbed his sharpener, the shavings all spilled out on his paper, he mumbled inaudibly under his breath, he knew he needed to replace his sharpener. Instead of sweeping them of his paper, he drew a line behind a smaller shaving, making it look something like an airplane in flight. And with that he was hooked. He began drawing everything from birds to lions, people, to Christmas trees, rearranging the shavings to be fun accents like dresses and fans, hair and feathers. Before he knows it the lecture is over. His teacher is hovering over him, staring at his page, no longer making unintelligible noises, but instead trying to hide her amazement as she told him how he ought not to draw in her class and needed to pay attention. She resisted giving him a detention slip and he nodded before quietly sliding his phone out of his pocket and snapping a picture of his creation. He crumpled the page and threw it in the trash on the way out, he had plenty more pencils and he’d also read ahead for his next class, U.S. History.

 

Note: This post’s upload time/date was edited to fit into the scheduled posting timeline.

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Writing Exercise #5 – Pictures

Prompt #5 – A Picture’s Worth a Story

Find a picture or a photograph online and write the story of it. I find this will especially help with writer’s block, particularly when trying to come up with a new idea. Try to incorporate the emotion that the picture first evoked in you, as well as incorporating some of the visual elements in it. Don’t feel the need to represent everything exactly as it is depicted in print, and get creative with it. This exercise is to help see images and let them breathe life into a character, story, scene, or setting.

 

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Response to Prompt #4

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Me as a little “Thug Baby” my cousin (same one who tells the story) tilted my Barney hat and gave me over-sized sunglasses.

Whenever my cousin introduces me to the family, I’m always defined as “the little thug.” It doesn’t matter if he’s introducing me to his girlfriend, or my own friends, the only stories that seem to come from my childhood are violent ones, despite me not remembering the primary incident, nor do I remember being particularly violent.

Despite not being there for the incident, and hearing it second-hand, his retelling of it occurred so often, that now my parents even repeat it to any guests I bring around the house, this includes any potential boyfriends I bring over, if I let them stay near my parents long enough. So, I’ve resolved this issue by telling the story first, where after, one of my friends has dubbed me “Thug Baby.”

So the story goes: I am the only person in my family to get expelled from preschool. Apparently, if someone were to say that as a child I didn’t bite, they’d be lying.

Writing Exercise #4

Over the weekend, I saw a performance called “Raw Stories” at Theatre of NOTE, a theatre in Hollywood. It was a fun event with a bake-off and some rather entertaining stories, all with a general theme of family holiday mishaps and other relatable stories. It got me thinking about all the crazy, wacky, and seemingly dysfunctional mishaps my family has; both during and outside of holiday times.

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Prompt #4 An Amusing Family Dysfunction

For this prompt, I thought it would be fun to tell a story of a “family incident.” It could be something funny, lighthearted, some sort of blunder, a slip of the tongue, or some full blown drama. The story can be pulled from something that you remember recently or that has long since past, but it has to be at least based in truth. For this prompt, try to focus on bringing the reader along with the characters, your family, and allow the story to unfold (cutting out what you think is irrelevant or less compelling for your point). This will also help to create characters that are more relatable when creating an entirely new story, as you remember people who you love and interact with acting at, well, not their brightest moments. Try to keep it to a story that could be read in under 5 minutes, or told in less than 10.

office.jpgResponse to Writing Prompt #3:

I didn’t sit outside, but here is what I heard on my lunch break at my office.

The air conditioner was blasting air colder than it needed to, it always did. It bit at my skin and made my fingers numb. I wondered if I’d ever remember to bring my jacket in. Around me, I could hear the clicks of keyboards, those who were not yet ready to leave their desks to seek nourishment. From behind, I could hear the crinkle of plastic bags and the crisp sounds of chips, they made me want to walk across the street to the convenience store and pick up a bag of Doritos chips. Behind the closed doors I could hear the faint murmurs of meetings and conference calls.

Writing Exercise #3

Let’s practice writing scenery!

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Go outside and write about what you see, hear, smell, and how the air/sun/ground feels. You could write about how the outside tastes, especially if there’s a particularly pungent odor that left an unsettling mark in your mouth (let’s hope that doesn’t happen).
This should probably be written in the third person as a narrator, however if you are feeling extra creative go ahead and write it however you feel it will work best.
What this will accomplish: The goal we are going for here is to try to build a general basis of how someone can view the environment around them. This will help when trying to create a descriptive scene when a character first enters an environment, or to paint a scenic picture for the reader.
Response to Writing Prompt #2
“I really just want to push my hand into the dirt right there to leave my hand print!” she said, more excited than she usually was.
The three of us walked by the tree and area of fresh dirt at the base of it, moist from the last few days of El Niño’s rain.
“If you do, your hand will be so dirty,” her twinzie warned her.
We continued to follow her to the next tree on the path where she plopped her right hand down into the dirt and began pressing on her fingers to keep the shape of her hand visible.
I laughed and her twinzie exclaimed “Oh wow! You actually did it!” with her usual smile.5175x
Her hand remained in the dirt for a while so I lifted my foot jokingly and said “let me help” just as I was about to pretend to stomp the back of her hand into the dirt to help her leave her hand print, she moved her hand. As we walked away, they both let me know they thought I was going to stomp on the hand print after it was made. Renee, the girl who placed her hand in the dirt, tried to shake my hand. Her hand was caked in soil, so I told her to shake hands with her twinzie, Tammy, and make up.
“But we didn’t fight today,” Renee exclaimed.
“Shake hands and make up!” I repeated in a commanding yet friendly voice.
Renee tried, but Tammy refused, and instead picked up a stick to hold out. I watched as Renee refused to shake hands with a stick. Tammy insisted that the stick was meant to fend off Renee. The two continued like that all the way back to the office, except for a small discussion they had about potholes, and how Renee never knew that rain caused them, even though she rationalized out how it probably happens.
When we got back to the office door, Renee held it open and refused to let us past unless we shook her hand. After a few failed attempts to get by her, Tammy finally held out her hand for Renee to shake. I also tried to get by her, but it wasn’t going to happen. I saw a leaf on the ground, and thinking back to the stick I grabbed it to attempt to shake hands with that as a sort of glove. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out. Renee grabbed my wrist, getting dirt all over it. Tammy was complaining that now she had to wash her hands and I brushed the dirt off of my wrist letting Renee know that she got little dirt particles all over me.

Writing Prompt #2 and Prompt #1 Response

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Writing Prompt #2
Think about an event that happened today. Who was around you? Pick one of the people in the room or area and try to imagine what it was like to be them during this event. Write out the event from what you would imagine their perspective would be. For an extra challenge, try to pick someone who is the opposite gender as you. This should be written in the first person.
What this will accomplish: This will help you to understand how something that may have happened directly to you could have been seen by another person. This will allow you to create more realistic character responses when an action happens to a side character (or how to better write your main character when something happens that does not directly affect them). Furthermore, this will allow you to better empathize with not only your main character, but with your side characters when creating a believable scene.

Writing Prompt #1 Response
Personality #1: Jenny

Jenny’s work days were always just a little too long with never enough to occupy the 8 hours she sat cramped in her cubicle.

Jenny’s work days were always just a little too long with never enough to occupy the 8 hours she sat cramped in her cubicle.

Jenny’s work days were always just a little too long with never enough to occupy the 8 hours she sat cramped in her cubicle. The pay was decent, but she knew this wasn’t what she really wanted to do. After all, who really wants to be an underwriting assistant for a life insurance company? By the time the clock struck 5:00 PM, her computer was already powered down and she was pretending to rearrange the pens and paper on her desk.
She joined her co-workers in their mad dash to the elevators, where they crammed in as closely as they dared for such a professional place. Her black ’09 Honda Accord waited for her in the parking structure, ready for her to tuck herself into it and make the commute back home. She sighed as she realized that her high school sweetheart of a boyfriend, Dave, would still be at work, as he was asked to stay late every other Friday.
Connecting her phone to her car’s Bluetooth, she listened to her driving mix as she let her mind wander through the haze of red and green traffic lights. She wondered if she would ever make her way back to a city. She had gone to college in Los Angeles, but had to move back to Phoenix after graduation. Sure it was a city, but it wasn’t LA. She sighed as she dreamed of working anywhere artistic, with a huge desk and a corner office. But her heart grew heavy as she knew Dave would never go. He used to visit her in school telling her stories about how drivers tried to run him off the road on the way there, and how bad he felt for the homeless people who stood on the freeway off-ramps.

She wondered if she would ever make her way back to a city. She had gone to college in Los Angeles, but had to move back to Phoenix after graduation.

She wondered if she would ever make her way back to a city. She had gone to college in Los Angeles, but had to move back to Phoenix after graduation.

She pulled up to a brown house with red accents. The clock on her dashboard blinked 5:45 PM and let her know that she was listening to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” She let the song finish playing before she realized that she had accidentally driven herself to Dave’s house, instead of her own. Damn autopilot, she thought to herself before spotting Dave’s car in the driveway.
Maybe they didn’t make him work overtime today? She said to herself as she grabbed her purse and locked her car before checking her reflection in her car’s back window. She quickly fixed her hair and hurried to the front door.
He answered the door with his shirt half tucked in and his hair flattened on one side. His pants were unbuttoned and his hand sat at the waistband to hold them up. His smile dropped when he saw his girlfriend’s face staring at him with a look of horror and disbelief.
“Do you need cash for the tip?” called a female from down the hall.
An awkward silence hung between the two of them before Jenny decided to speak. “I don’t recall you mentioning changing your career. Maybe if you do a good job, your boss in there will offer to pay for the whole delivery next time.”

On her way out, she passed a car with a Pizza Hut cone lit up and fixed to the roof.

On her way out, she passed a car with a Pizza Hut cone lit up and fixed to the roof.

With that, Jenny turned on her heels and began the agonizing walk to her car. She clutched her stomach as she heard the creek of the front door, but didn’t break stride. Tears burned at the corners of her eyes as she heard him fumbling around for the right words to say. She couldn’t explain it, but she was actually happy. Her life was unfurling at the seams, but at least she would finally allow herself to move to a real city.
She made it to her car and heard her engine roar to life. She didn’t even glance over her shoulder, she wouldn’t grant him the satisfaction. On her way out, she passed a car with a Pizza Hut cone lit up and fixed to the roof.

Personality #2: Teresa

When the crowd cleared she walked down the 4 flights of stairs with her headphones in and mouthed the words to “Barbie Girl” by Aqua.

When the crowd cleared she walked down the 4 flights of stairs with her headphones in and mouthed the words to “Barbie Girl” by Aqua.

Teresa’s work days seemed to fly by. She never really had too much to do and it was happy to take her time to make sure everything was filed flawlessly. The pay wasn’t bad either. Enough for her to have her own apartment, a 401K and a savings account that she often referred to as her “dream home bank account.” Though most people might see her job as boring, she knew she was making a difference in people’s life with what she did as an underwriting assistant.
It was 5:00 PM and she watched her co-workers race to the time clock as she began saving her files and powering down her computer. When the crowd cleared she walked down the 4 flights of stairs with her headphones in and mouthed the words to “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. She sighed as she realized that her high school sweetheart of a boyfriend, Charles, would still be at work, as he was asked to stay late every other Friday.
Connecting her iPod to her car’s Bluetooth, she sang along loudly and a bit off key to her bubblegum pop driving mix. Through the haze of red and green traffic lights, she began daydreaming about how she wanted her house to be, 4 bedrooms at least. One for her and her future husband, one for each of her two kids, and an office, in case she ever had to work from home if her kids were ever sick.
She pulled up to a brown house with red accents. The clock on her dashboard blinked 5:55 PM and let her know that she was listening to Toybox’s “Best Friend.” She finished singing along to the song before realizing that she had accidentally driven herself to Charles’s house, instead of her own. Oops! Autopilot! she thought to herself before spotting Charles’s car in the driveway.

...she began daydreaming about how she wanted her house to be, 4 bedrooms at least.

…she began daydreaming about how she wanted her house to be, 4 bedrooms at least.

Yay he’s home! Guess they didn’t need him to stay late today! She said to herself, flipping down the visor’s mirror and touching up her mascara then pulling a few stubborn hairs back under her bobby pins. She bounced out of her car, locking the door behind her and skipping up to the door while humming “Doctor Jones,” the next song on her playlist.
Charles answered the door with his shirt half tucked in and his hair flattened on one side. His pants were unbuttoned and his hand sat at the waistband to hold them up. His smile dropped when he saw his girlfriend’s face staring at him with a look of shock and horror.
“Do you need cash for the tip?” called a female from down the hall.
An awkward silence hung between the two of them before Teresa decided to speak. “Who was that?” was all she could think to say.
“Nobody,” replied Charles, stepping out of the doorway and closing the door most of the way behind him, stopping the screen from falling and making too much of a racket.
“But you… have you been seeing her every time you told me you were working late?” She asked, voice cracking as her tears smeared her freshly applied eyeliner down her cheeks.
“No Teresa, of course not, I mean, it’s not like that!”
“No? Then what is it like?”
“Well I’m not the one trying to keep tabs! I mean you shouldn’t even be here! You thought I was working!”
“Oh so it’s my fault!?” Screamed Teresa.
“Who is that?” called the female’s voice from down the hall.
“Nobody!” yelled Charles, I’ll be in there in just a minute sweetie!”
“Oh, so that’s who I am? Nobody?”
“No, baby, you know what I mean.”
“No Charles, I don’t.” said Teresa wiping the tears from her face and successfully smudging her make-up into darker black streaks. She pushed past Charles and into the house. “Put your clothes on and stop fucking my boyfriend you home-wrecking whore!” Teresa shouted as she stomped down the hall.
“Teresa!” yelled Charles tripping over his pants as he chased after her. “Please don’t do this!”
“No? Why? Give me one good reason. I’m with you for the better half of 11 years and this is what I get? Fine! You can have her! And you in there!” she yelled down the hall, “maybe you should think before you drop your pants! Did you really think that giant pink stuffed teddy bear in the room was his? Are you seriously that dumb? Or are you just that desperate?” She shoved Charles out of the way, making him trip over his pants and fall in the hallway. When she opened the door to leave, there stood a woman in a Pizza Hut uniform, a heater bag in one hand and a bill in another.
“Hi miss, that will be $38.95 will you be paying with cash or card today?”

Teresa ducked around the delivery girl and began walking to her car, being sure to stomp on each plant she had bought and placed in Charles’s garden.

Teresa ducked around the delivery girl and began walking to her car, being sure to stomp on each plant she had bought and placed in Charles’s garden.

“Ask him, maybe if you smile pretty, he’ll drop his pants for you too.” Teresa ducked around the delivery girl and began walking to her car, being sure to stomp on each plant she had bought and placed in Charles’s garden.

Writing Exercise… Week #1

Yesterday, I wanted to post about this idea I have: come up with a new writing exercise and write to it every week. Instead I was distracted by the internet… oops.

Anyway, the plan is to post a writing exercise once a week, lets say on Thursdays… because I’ve never been a particular fan of Thursdays… perhaps this will help. I will post my response to the prompt the following Thursday, along with the new writing exercise for that week (like how newspapers do the crossword puzzle answers in the following day’s paper). Hopefully I can stick with this… my posting history is against me, but we shall see.

Image obtained from http://ingridsnotes.files.wordpress.com
I thought this was a cute way to visualize writing exercise ^^

Here is the first Writing Exercise Prompt.

Place two characters of the same gender, similar backgrounds, and similar socioeconomic status in identical situations but give them two completely different reactions.

Purpose: To experiment how different personalities can completely change a situation and its surrounding environment.