I mentioned a while ago that I was doing some creative writing exercises. I was following the exercises in The Creative Writing Workbook (by Matthew Branton) to explore some writing ideas. I’m dumping a subset of the my writing here for my own reference and perhaps for your enjoyment. Warning – there are a few “curse words”.
Exercise 4, bowl of fruit
A gust of wind stirred the tattered curtains surrounding the broken window. The whisper of the curtain against the frame’s flaking paint was the only sound in the otherwise quiet room.
In the center of the room, a quartet of battered wooden chairs surrounded a dusty, worn dining table. The table was barren, save for a bowl of rotting, fuzzy fruit.
Exercise 5, bowl of fruit, condensed
A gust of wind stirred the ragged curtains around the broken window. The only furniture in the room was a quartet of chairs surrounding a table, which bore a bowl overflowing with rotten, fuzzy fruit.
Exercise 7, 5Ws
When and where – near future, Lagrange point
The space suited figures worked in an organized but rapid fashion, guiding missile casings into the Rocinante’s cavernous magazine.
The distant sun glinted off the neat rows of cylinders in their racks as they slowly drifted. Gloved hands reached out and seized the nearest one, gently pulling it out of its cradle and slowly guiding it toward the Rocinante. These cylinders weighed nothing here at the Lagrange point, but they still had mass and therefore momentum. Phil was in a hurry but still had to respect the laws of physics, lest he set one of these plasma torpedoes careening into the gunship’s rapidly filling magazine. Easy does it.
Phil tossed his keys on the battered table by the door, missing the bowl, like he usually did. “Tomorrow,” he muttered to himself as he slouched through the kitchen and into the crowded living room. His wife glanced up from her crossword book, smiling her gap-toothed grin at him. “It’s almost time,” Audrey rasped. “Turn on the telly.”
He twisted the television’s power button as he passed by, digging a crinkled pack of cigs from his back pocket with his other hand. Sighing, he collapsed into his easy chair. “Let’s hope they don’t fuck this up,” he wheezed, staring at the TV as the picture slowly brightened.
The announcer was barely audible over Audrey’s hacking cough. “He should be coming out any time now.”
The stark lunar surface was bright now on Phil’s television, all grey dust and black shadows. Suddenly a suited figure emerged from the lander, carefully walking down the steps to place the first boot on the Moon.
Steve puttered around in the workshop behind the house. There was a bite in the fall air, but the warmth from the wood stove in the corner kept it at bay. As he set up the next board to cut on the table saw, his dog Cindy came bounding in, wet and dirty from roaming the nearby field and forest.
He chuckled and gave her a few pats, leading her outside across the loop driveway to her kennel between the workshop and the house. He gave her some fresh water and put some kibble in her bowl so she could replenish her energy – although that seemed inexhaustible.
He looked across the nearby highway, across the Saint John river, and took in the splendid fall colours. It was this sight that truly made him glad to be living out here.
1) Fog wreathed the buzzing neon signs, angry sentinels of the empty streets. OLYMPIA DINER and SANTA ANA PIZZA glowed in the night, advertising restaurants that nobody came to any more.
The recent rain had washed most of the debris off the sidewalks, where it now choked off the sewer grates. Lingering pools of scummy water covered most of the street, with bits of trash slowly migrating toward the drains.
The neon lights reflected off the water and the half submerged eyes of the corpses still scattered across the street and sidewalks. Fortunately, the rain had washed the blood away.
2) Frank strode down the dim sidewalk, passing the occasional streetlight choked by the early morning fog. His steps echoed off the brick wall beside him, the only sound in an otherwise quiet Sunday morning. Nobody else was out at this ungodly hour. Frank would have preferred to be home in Sarah’s arms, but duty called.
He pivoted sharply left at the next corner, and paused to take in the scene before him. Several police cruisers blocked the side street, casting blue and red lights on the buildings nearby. One cadet was spooling yellow tape around an area filled with Frank’s coworkers, and, Frank presumed, the body.
3) Red and blue lights flashed in Hannah’s rear view mirror. “Shit!” she said, squinting through the fog to find a safe place to pull over. “Just what I need now.”
Hannah had been speeding, sure, maybe 10 over the limit, but she had to get to her evening class on time, or Spencer was going to kick her out of the program. She’d been late too many times already and he’d threatened to eject her before, but Hannah thought maybe this would be the last straw.
She understood the need to be on time, but Mr. Spencer didn’t realize that Hannah was working two jobs to make ends meet. Hardly anyone did. Hannah wasn’t proud of her situation but she was determined to get out of it.
The officer walked up beside her car and tapped on the window.
Ignoring the German gibberish on the PA system, Vance sketched madly on his tablet. The train’s vibrations occasionally made him curse when he messed up a stroke, but he had to get this done and he was running out of time. Soon they would be in Cologne and he would have to send it, ready or not.
“What’s that?” A bright, musical voice interrupted the harsh German background babble. Lance looked up to see a pretty brunette smiling down at him – and staring at his tablet! Quickly he locked it before she could see any more.