Friday, March 2, 2012

What If? Exercise 1

My mom bought me a new book for Christmas: "What If?" by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter.  It's a book full of writing exercises for the creative writer.  

Exercise 1

Write ten opening lines for ten different stories.  Try to make it suck the reader into the story with that one sentence.

1)     The brass snapped decisively as Trevor clicked closed the clasps of his briefcase and stood from the table, wondering if it were possible that his dreams had really all just come true in an instant.

2)     Jenny cracked the gum in her mouth as she looked out the filmy window of the salon and watched Leonard Maynes wave his handgun around haphazardly while lumbering down the middle of Main Street.

3)     It was unseasonably cold for early May but it didn’t do anything to keep the smell of death out of the air as Detective Jukes looked over the blue-tinged skin of the nude body laying face down on the merry-go-round in Peace Park this fine Sunday morning.

4)     The barn door screamed and banged as the wind blew it open and closed, giving glimpses of the orderly hay bales within but it was the eyes peaking out at him from the 2nd-story windows of the large dingy white farm house that really irritated him.

5)     The blare of the oncoming pickup’s horn tore Lana’s attention away from the cigarette she was trying to light with trembling hands and back on the road where she righted her little coupe back into her own lane and cursed the day she’d ever set eyes on Brian Baker. 

6)     The service station was closed and the mastiff barked aggressively against the glass as Stark looked in the windows to see where the cash register was located.

7)     The lights of the rooftop bistro atop the Towne Royale hotel were seductive, the music tempting, the greenery provocative, and yet none of it was necessary as he landed his eyes on Ema Lane with her mane of auburn hair, long curvy legs and lips that made a man beg for more lies.

8)     I’ve always hated the smell at funerals and this time was no different.

9)     Jake sat in the undersized chair outside the principal’s office and stewed.

10) Two parka-clad bodies huddled over a hole in the ice sat motionless until the sound of gunfire cracked across the ice-covered lake.

A Creative Writing Exercise

My teacher got this exercise out of a book, but I didn't catch the name of it.

In 20 minutes, write a story with 26 sentences, each sentence starting with a consecutive letter of the alphabet.  Include one sentence fragment and 1 sentence that is 100 words long and grammatically sound.

After Nira looked into the water, she realized her mistake.
Being a mermaid on land, she wanted so badly to dive back in immediately.
Coming to the water's edge had been such a strong desire though and she thought she could handle it.
Disciplined as she was, she realized it was too much in her nature to be submerged, fluid surrounding her, tailfin unfurled in all its luxuriant glory, spreading wide to catch the water and push it away strongly with her lower body and feel herself propelled through the liquid like a gust of wind let loose in a stagnant room, knowing that she could go on forever, the wide expanse endless and full of possibilities, and she shouldn't have put herself in such a difficult situation as she was now, standing near the water's edge, tailfin itching to be let loose.**
Enough had already gone wrong and she needed to keep her mind on task.
Focusing hard, she turned her back and stepped away from the water, each step taking great effort.
Getting about ten feet away, she started to feel the pull toward the water to loosen its grip within her.
Happy with herself for certain.*
I don’t want to go home just yet” she said to herself.
Just as she really started to relax she heard a splash behind her.
Keeping her heart from leaping from her chest took such effort as she turned to see Darius airborne, coiling his magnificent tailfin, legs magically separating, and him landing solidly on the ground just a few feet from her.
Looking at him in shock, Nira was still.
Maybe he wasn’t here for her, she thought, and closed her eyes and said a little prayer.
Nira, what the heck are you doing on land?” Darius asked, hands on hips.
Opening her eyes, she swallowed hard. 
Please don’t take me back just yet, my father doesn’t understand why I need to do this Darius,” she pleaded.
Questioning her father was never a good idea. 
Really, Nira, what could possibly be so important to take such a serious risk?” he asked.
She looked at him then with a quiver in her lip, and said “Love?” with more question than certainty.
True love is waiting for you, Nira, but you aren’t going to find it on land” Darius retorted.
Uncertain where he was going with that statement, Nira gave him a hard look.
Valiant as ever, Darius has come to save the day and do my father’s bidding”, she exclaimed bitterly.
Wouldn’t her father be pleased with Darius returning with her in tow, she thought.
Xanadu just wouldn’t be the same without you, Nira. Please come home...Your father didn’t send me”, Darius said softly with a furrowed brow and outstretched hand. 
You came on your own? But Why?” she stammered.
Zillions of thing rushed through her mind at light speed, the pieces of a puzzle all falling into place and she realized that Darius loved her and she him, her true love had been right there all along, not somewhere out here on land, and she placed her trembling hand in his, as Darius stepped forward and kissed her.