Vignette: A Writing Exercise

Write Anything had a neat little writing prompt up this morning, one that works for Planners as well as Pantsers. (For the record, I am a Pantser who listens to the whispers of my inner Planner.)
The premise is: to write a scene where two family members who have been estranged, come together for the first time. The scene is built on ten prompts. You should write just one sentence for each prompt. The entire exercise takes between five and ten minutes to complete depending on whether you write or type.
For a list of the ten prompts, go to the link. (It's only fair to drive some traffic their way, no?)

My Response (Handwritten in just in 9 minutes)

1) It was hot. Hot, hot, so very hot.
2) Birds chattered and bickered in the tree above them.
3) In the parking lot, cars coated with dust from the long drive in ticked as their engines started to cool.
4) Some how, the breezeless air carried the sent of something old and metallic to the two women.
5) The handles of her tote bag strained under the load, one already reinforced with a large safety pin.
6) A sudden flurry of wings, and the birds were gone.
7) Another car crunched in, doors slam, friendly greetings are called out.
8) She held the bag out, raised it as high as she could.
9) The tremors in her hands moved up her arms. Soon her whole body shaking.
10) "This, it's all I had. Take it and leave."

What I learned from this exercise:
A) I can't not write an ending first. As soon as I read the last prompt, that line formed the body of the story.
B) I can't follow rules. The first prompt and the last two contain more than one sentence each. Good thing they call it creative writing!


Jodi Cleghorn said...

I actually thought no one had bothered with the exercise until I found your link on twitter!

Writing single sentences is difficult and I think you could easily end up falling into a bad habit of just creating one long sentence with many commas.

I like the ending - how many family disputes are over "things" and I feel you capture this well.

DJRM said...

Thank you!

You're right about the single sentences being difficult to write. After I did this prompt, I was looking at one of my WIPs and I noticed that my characters were seldom able to express themselves in one sentence, and if it was one sentence, they went on too long. This prompt gave me a very clear insight on something I needed to work on in my own writing. Thanks for putting on the writeanything site.