There is not limit on length- make them 1 page or 5 pages, it's your choice. This is simply an excercise to help all of us develope our writing skills.
Describe what a character sees when he or she enters a room. Pick any room, any setting, any time, any place, etc. Describe it from only that character's perspective (i.e. not from a narrator). What is in the room? Anyone else? Any objects? Is it warm? Cold? Anything works.
this is an excercise I did in a creative writing class years ago. It helps you learn to write from a character's perspective as well as develope your descriptive writing abilities.
After a few days, I'll psot a second topic- anyone can feel free to start an excercise, and we can come back to this any time we please, so there need not be a time limit/deadline on it.
I'll post my first offering tomorrow.
January 26th, 2001, 07:54 AM
Michael stepped into the cottage amidst a swirl of snow, slamming the heavy wooden door behind him. The warmth of the room greated his face as he shook the cold snow from his shoulders.
The cottage was a cozy little building, with a hearty fire in the small hearth at the far end of the main room. A heavy table filled the center of hte room, surrounded by four simple wooden chairs. There were no rugs, nor was there any carpet. the Floor boards were warped and gray from age, but dry.
The merry little fire cast flickering light on the room, and turned ordinary objects into frightening shadows on the white walls. Michael stood for a moment, letting the light warm his frozen cheeks and hands before throwing his cloak off his shoulders onto the table.
Michael crossed the room as quietly as the creaking old boards underfoot would allow him. the chiuldren were asleep in the loft above, and he did not want to wake them.
The large bed in the alcove near the fire was obviously occupied. His wife's face lay on the pillows, soundly sleeping under heavy blanakets of woll and fur.
He sat carefully on the bed and began to remove his boots. She never stirred.
January 26th, 2001, 08:04 AM
Iím not entirely sure this is what you had in mind, but here goes:
The heavy oak door swung open easily. The girl paused only briefly before quietly closing the door. In that brief moment she had assessed the room, her years of training taking over. It was a small room, compact and very plain. A single small window barely allowed daylight to enter the room, as if the daylight was an unwelcome intrusion on the roomís activities. Instead two oil lamps were built into the walls, opposite each other. Their metal bases shone eerily as the reflection of the bright flames danced. Most of the room was occupied with a circular table and four chairs. Like the room they were plain, probably oak. Two figures, a man and a woman, were seated at the table. Both had immediately lifted their eyes when she entered the room. They seemed frozen in place as they watched her closely. The man appeared common. She had no other word to describe him. He had the kind of face that was easily forgotten. His dark hair was speckled with grey and showed obvious signs of receding. Perhaps it was an indication of his age or perhaps not. His eyes were flat and emotionless, though she was certain that they could portray a number of false emotions. Even his clothes were somber and not worth remembering. But then, in their line of work they all wore similar clothes, even the woman. She was a vast contrast to the man. Her eyes were hard and unwavering. A pile of long blond hair was pulled into a pony tail, causing her face to appear even more sever. Her body was lean and taunt. She was obviously ready to spring into action should the wrong person enter the room. An array of papers blanketed the area in front of the woman, but the documents were effectively protected by her hovering gaze. Intently aware of the scrutiny the girl refused to be intimidated, even so she unconsciously straightened her back. With a great effort, the girl withheld a heavy sigh. Instead she gave a slight nod then simply took one of the vacant seats. Silently she waited and stared blindly at the last remaining vacant seat.
The end. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
I took this from one of the short stories I wrote about a main character in my book. She is the girl. The story was written basically to help me figure out who she is and help define her in my mind. This story takes place about 5 to 10 years before my book. I tried to quickly beef up the description. I doubt Iíll leave it like this for the actual story. I just donít believe all this information is necessary, or maybe the information will be delivered later in the story as opposed to being hit with it all at once. I still have a lot of work to do on this story so I donít have anything set in stone (so to speak).
By the way, Wastra, glad you posted. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
January 26th, 2001, 09:08 AM
uh-oh- Judging from previous enteries I've gone completly off the course here (as usual) I was the same in skool.
What I wrote's -completly- off the syllabus.
A little piece I knocked together last night. When you sed think of a place, and people etc. I came up with the first thing to pop into my mind which was...
THE NIGHTCLUB OF THE LIVING DEAD.
As we follow down along the corridor and descend the stairs bass frequencies lunge at us with muffled amoebic fingers. Until at last we open the door, that square, electronic kickdrum resonating in my chest cavity. The toxic chemical tang of dry ice, making my sinuses ache and my eyes bleed. Overhead the dancefloor, for the cheesy effect I suppose, a discoball. A mirrored Death Star, lasers and strobes battling all around. Twinkling digits skyward as the track comes to the break. The dancers in suspended animation, hands aloft, anticipating the inevitable snare rush. A single, high pitched string note is held indefinitely. The lasers spread out into multicoloured fans, tracing their way up along the dancers, stopping someplace over their heads to pulsate rapidly. Colours oscillating violently, as the snare roll comes in, getting louder, doubling up after four bars, doubling up again after four more. The lasers are on epileptic, Manga-cartoon overdrive, the snare like a machine gun, the dancers roar, a cresendo is reached, three crash cymbals and the bass drum returns with a vengeance. Another roar, as the dancers let loose, limbs going places they shouldnít. When the DJ plays the next house choon, the same thing will happen, with the exact same breakdown, and the exact same reaction...
One of my favourite passtimes in nightclubs is to watch other people dance. Itís true us whiteboys donít have rhythm, and if you donít believe it just watch. Oh the arms may sway in an elegant manner, disco
Taií Chi, and the booties may shake but look at their feet, thatís the dead give-away. From the torso up, itís a peacock parade, satisfied, confident grins welded to their jaws, eyes sweeping the floor for somebody to make eye contact with, but nobody ever does. Itís like standing on a bus, or a doctors waiting room, everyone way too inhibited to lock pupils with another.
Myself and my friend sit, surveying the safari with the same callous attention as those two old dudes in the Muppet show. Spectators, from the safe distance of the bar. Joking about them all, behind enemy lines, guerrilla psychoanalysts, with all the social savvy of Lee Marvin.
-See the token, tall Ally McBeanpole shake her non-existent bootie as two fat jocks eye her up and down from a far corner.
-See the dirty old dude, dressed like Ricky Martin, but with the features of Alfred Hitchcock.
-See the ring of girls, all smiling and tittering, singing along to the lyrical vacuum of the latest Slim Shady track.
-See the ring of dudes picking out which ones theyíll try chat up, looking over, but being ignored, no matter how expert their Travoltan, disco dancesteps.
Watch them all, soak it in. An aquarium of tropical colours, neon stripes, deadly fins and flouncy tails. All caught up in their self-importance, self-denial, you can hear their silent mantra; no, no, I am sexy, I am funky...
You look at their feet, their traitorous feet, they shuffle to and fro, unsteadily, nervously, unsure of where to step, lacking any rhythm, or any momentum.
But still, they pose, throwing shapes with laborious fluidity, in love with themselves, grooviní down to the "essential house anthems", a disjointed mesh of "ohh baby"'s, old songs remixed into worse songs- oh save me from it all!!
Edited as a matter of courtesy 2 yawl!
now it's at least not so much a big, stick-out-like-a-sore thumb rant and more of a short descriptive piece. It's still not relevant to fantasy/SF but I wasn't sure it mattered.
Sorry about all that- P.
[This message has been edited by PENTIAK (edited January 28, 2001).]
January 27th, 2001, 09:18 PM
A thousand fairy lights twinkle above my head, suspended in the air and floating lazily around the room. It is a dining hall, I realise, one that is fit for a high lord or low king. The table is long, seating at least fifty, and made stone but I can not tell wether it is brown or grey in this darkness. Because it is dark, despite the tiny flecks of light near the roof.
Carefully, I stand up, trying to ignore the pain in my head and my legs. I can smell blood, and it is undoubtedly from my wounds. I walk, ever so slowly, towards the table, which is a good twenty feet from the wall I had been slumped against.
My arms whips out in front of me, grabbing the back of a stone chair, steadying myself. My right leg is getting worse and worse.
I run my fingers over the chair, feeling the intricate patterns that have been carved into the stone. I am impressed; it would have taken the carver most of a year to complete just one of these. I seat myself down, glad to get my body's weight of my legs.
I see a movement out of the corner of my eye. My head turns quickly to the left, and immediately starts to throb even more. But I have seen the source of movement. Some of the fairy lights, the pink ones, are gathering together. I stare, unable to tear my eyes away.
I can feel the temperature rising, beads of sweat are running down my face, my back and my stomach. Undoubtedly this is caused by the pink lights, which are starting to move faster in the shape of a - is it a person? I squint my eyes, trying to get a clearer view.
Suddenly, my head is pushed onto the table by an unseen force. I try to resist, but quickly give up - because if I do, the pain grows. I close my eyes as I succumb to the magically-iduced sleep, awaiting my fate.
January 28th, 2001, 05:52 AM
Harry Winchester stood in front of his office door. He took a deep breath, straightened his tie and checked his pistol. It had been one of those weeks. So far this week heíd found two dead bodies and a dead horseís head in his office, which wasnít totally unusual but did make him suspicious.
Through the frosted glass window of the door he could tell the light was on, which meant somebody was either in there or had been since he left 2 hours ago. He hated it when people left his office light on when they left, especially if they werenít the ones paying his commissions.
Reaching forward he slowly turned the handle of the door. Pushing it open with just enough force to stop against the hat stand. The door swung back on its finely greased hinges, revealing the panorama that was his office and stopped. Unfortunately it stopped against something other than his hat stand. Judging by the distance from where Harry knew the hat stand was, it was probably a size twelve. Harry placed his foot in front of the door so whoever was behind it couldnít slam it into him. This was years of experience paying off.
Then he noticed her. She was sat on his desk holding an unlit cigar, probably one of the ones from his locked desk draw. The woman was tall, blond and wearing the red dress all his clients seemed to wear. Slowly she turned towards him and smiled. Harry smiled back with one of his best business-winning smiles. Taking the lighter out of his pocket he took a step towards the woman, trying to think of the best opening line to use to introduce himself.
For a split second he remembered about the person behind his door, but that was after the impact to the back of his head made him loose his balance and slump over the desk. He wondered whether hitting his head on the typewriter or the first impact would make him lose consciousness first. He didnít wonder for very long.
January 28th, 2001, 09:27 AM
Upon waking from the blow to my head with a clouded memory I walked into the darkened room. I could only see slight outlines of shapes in the pitch darkness. As I crept deeper into the room, I started to see my breath as I felt the temperature take a big drop. I felt as if I stepped into the cold embrace of a December morning, but I knew I was inside a building.
I thought I could hear movements in the deepest, darkest part of the room. Since I could barely make out my hand in front of my face, I knew there was no chance in Hell for me to see what was scurrying along the back of the room.
The next thing I knew, I was flat on my ass for a reason I could not begin to explain, but I did know that my posterior was in pain. Slowly and in pain, I arose to my feet and continued my efforts to discover what kind of room I entered. I then noticed a very strong smell in the room, like the smell of the dead.
My eyes began to adjust to the darkness and the abstract shapes that I saw when first entered the room began to take a more distinct shape. These shapes seemed to be hanging and swaying, but I could feel no air movement that would cause these hanging things to move.
There seemed to be a minor light source in the corner of the room where I heard the scurrying sounds before. The light was a green blinking annoyance that pierced the darkness as I crept ever closer to the source.
I thought I was in a meat locker with many sides of beef and pork hanging but the deepest part of my fears held true as I finally reached the back wall. Feeling along the wall, I could tell that there was lettering stuck to the walls, but since he had never depended on his sense of touch, he could not tell what the letters proclaimed.
I then grabbed onto what I thought was going to be a side of beef, when in my hands I could feel the cold embrace of a dead human. That was the last memory I had before taking the second blow to my head that day.
January 29th, 2001, 01:10 AM
good! Keep 'em coming! There are some pretty good writers here!
January 29th, 2001, 03:29 AM
Let's move on with this one- I've posted the 2nd exercise, but anyone who is ionterested can take this one further.
to work on perspectives:
Take your first scenario and write it from a different perspective. If you wrote in 3rd person before, write what that character saw in first person. there are obviously going to be differences- maybe he or she missed something, maybe it invoked feelings, maybe they were afraid of the darkness, etc.
If yo uwrote in first person, imagine there was a person observing from a hidden eyehole in the wall. What do they see? How is their perspective different?
this exercise allows you to think more on the three-dimensional world you are creating. When you write a scene, you have to remmeber that there is more to the setting than what the character sees. there may be things that will "flush out" your scene that you would never have thought of until you thought about how a different person would view the action.
Anyway, give it a try. I'll do the same when I get a moment to write.
January 29th, 2001, 03:31 AM
Let's move on with this one- I've posted the 2nd exercise, but anyone who is interested can take this one further. You can work on both, or just stick to this one, or even forget this one, and move on to the next. it's all up to you.
to work on perspectives:
Take your first scenario and write it from a different perspective. If you wrote in 3rd person before, write what that character saw in first person. there are obviously going to be differences- maybe he or she missed something, maybe it invoked feelings, maybe they were afraid of the darkness that a narrator did not see. Try writing from a non-omnipotent view (i.e. the narrator does not know what the character is thinking, can only report the actions.) Or if you wrote in first person the first time, imagine there was a person observing from a hidden eyehole in the wall. What do they see? How is their perspective different?
this exercise allows you to think more on the three-dimensional world you are creating. When you write a scene, you have to remember that there is more to the setting than what the character sees. there may be things that will "flush out" your scene that you would never have thought of until you thought about how a different person would view the action.
Anyway, give it a try. I'll do the same when I get a moment to write.