February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May's Writing Exercise

This month's writing exercise is all about layers and meaning. I am going to give you a few sentences, and you will throw in some layers to give the sentence meaning and dimension. In other words, you may use gestures (let's keep this PG-13 rated, OK), one or more of the five senses, props, etc.

My favorite example of this I know I have used before, but I think it is a point well taken...

The simple scene is this... a man and a woman... girl and boy... frog and turtle... You decide.

"I love you," he said.
"How nice," she replied.

Can you say, BORING! It is not the words alone that paint a scene, it is all of the above mentioned that give a scene it's meaning and tone - the layers. So what if the lines were set up and delivered like this...

The gymnasium was disguised, but not well. The streamers and balloons, disco ball hanging from the ceiling, the D-class garage band on the stage, it was all supposed to make us feel we were anywhere but in the HS gym. But we were not fooled. Well, maybe I was... just a little.

Maybe it was the low lighting, or maybe Peters really did spike the punch, but when Cindy pressed her way through the crowd and made her way next to me, my heart leaped to my throat.

Act cool, I told myself, but I just couldn't.

She was there for punch. Not me. Her dress, the lighting, the way her silky, blonde hair cascaded downward as she reached for a plastic, pink cup... I don't know what came over me.

Actually I didn't mean to say it out loud. I only meant to think it, quietly, in my head. But there they were - my words fell heavy, like a ton of bricks, and remained thick in the air, "I love you," I squeaked.

She froze. Stood straight. Turned and looked me in my eyes. I froze. Panic surged from my toes to the tips of the hairs on my head. Her cell phone rang. She reached in her purse and checked to see who was calling.

"How nice," she said flatly as she flipped open her Envy. "Oh-my-gawd, Jen, you'll never believe what just happened..."

OK so now's your turn. The phrase is...
"I love you," he said.
"How nice," she said.

How could you set this scene by adding layers. Don't worry about the word count. It can be tailored to fit a PB, MG or YA novel, or don't even be concerned with your target audience. How can you put the meaning behind those simple words. It could be requited, unrequited, or not even heard... you decide.

Post your short story in the comments section. Oh and the due date... let's say by May 20th.

Happy Writing,
Sheri

8 comments:

Jeanne said...

"I love you," he said.
"How nice," she said.
After all, this wasn’t the first time she had heard these words. In fact, lately it seemed she heard them a bit too often.
Sometimes Daisy’s response was just to give a flat answer. How was she to know whether he actually meant anything by this or not. It had become such a throwaway line.
They sat together on the grass overlooking the lake.
The sun was just beginning to set. A pale moon rose in the western sky, beribboned in dusky shades of cerulean blue and copper.
They watched couples holding hands walking the path around the lake and listened to the soft rippling sound of the water kissing, kissing the reeds.
She looked at him with a more discerning eye.
There was no arguing –he was very handsome. He had beautiful dark eyes that you could easily drown in. And he was very neat and well-groomed. Daisy liked that.
He turned to her and rested his soft gaze on her.
She shyly averted her eyes for a moment, then looked back.
There was nothing to run from in his eyes. They were so gentle, and she believed that she did see love there. Her heartbeat was picking up speed, she noticed.
Unlike so many others who were pushy or possessive, he was calm and accepting. Open. Protective. She knew he would be devoted.
Wasn’t this really what Daisy had wanted all along? Someone who would love and cherish her forever? What was she waiting for?
She looked back at the lake. Under a deeper sky, the blackening waters glistened with touches of moonlight.
This night was perfect.
She blinked and slowly turned back to him to see the unwavering love in his eyes.
“I love you, too, Donald,” she said.

Sheri said...

Jeanne! Thanks so much for your tid-bit and I daresay you are two for two with a novel deep inside.

I have to share, I thought you were going to give us a little spin there at the end with revealing Donald was a dog! When you said his dark eyes, and being "well-groomed," and all the talk about loyalty, loving forever... I thought, Oh Donald (or the guy) is going to be a dog.... basically because only my dog truly loves me the way you described and I know you are also a huge dog fan like me!

It was very good! I can't wait for the day when your pages are due and you say to us... guess what guys, this time I will be submitting 15 pages because...

Jeanne said...

Sheri - not dogs ... ducks! Hee, hee. Daisy? Donald? I tried to make it subtle - maybe TOO subtle! Now read it again and you'll get a good laugh! (Although I see them as Mallards, who mate for life, not cartoons.)
Someday, that novel may come. Right now? Up to my ears in PB's!

Sheri said...

I'll have to read that again. Who knew ducks had such deep thoughts and longings???

Jeanne said...

p.s. Thank you for your lovely compliments on my writing. :o)

Paola said...

Shaw ripped off the last piece of crust from his sandwich.
“Here, you do it” he said giving it to Lexi.
Lexi crumpled the crust into a ball. She tossed it into the creek. She aimed for the skinny one on the fringes.
Shaw wasn’t watching the ducks. He was noticing the different colors in Lexi’s hair in the sun. Red. Gold…
Without thinking, Shaw reached out his hand. Their hands brushed against one another as Lexi bent down to pick a dandelion.
“If you hold it up to your chin like this and your chin turns yellow - you love butter.” She said holding it up to him.
Shaw obeyed bringing it close to his chin.
“Your chin is yellow – you love butter!” she chimed.
“I don’t love butter.” Shaw tucked the dandelion in his pocket.
“You don’t?” asked Lexi.
“I don’t love butter - I love you” he said.
“How nice” she replied.

Jeanne said...

Hey, Paola! Glad to see you adding on the blog! And what a sweet moment between two young people - you've captured a real flavor of innocence. Nice!

Sheri said...

Paola! Hey thanks so much for giving this a try. Sorry I didn't notice your story until now. I didn't realize there was a new addition.

Love how you captured sweet, innocent love at it's best and that your story was in a positive spin, unlike me and my jaded view...

Try the June exercise. it's an easy one.