After another successful #PFWritingHour we promised we’d share our writing exercise stories with you
We decided to mix up the #pfwritinghour today, instead of asking questions, we set 5 tasks for our followers. We wanted to have a bit of fun and provide a live writing exercise, masterclass or workshop. Arming yourself with a pen and some paper, we asked you to flex your creative muscles!
To start with, we posted a photo that Shirley had taken. We asked you to think of the setting, what kind of story would you set there? Task 2, you were to think of a character. Task 3, you were to jot down the last text message you received. Task 4, you were to note the first object you saw when you looked up. Then the fun began as we asked you to combine all 4 elements into a story. And you had 15 minutes to write it!
15 minute writing exercise
Myself, Alex and Angela all took part in the 15-minute writing exercise, and what fun we had doing so!
If you remember Alan’s post about freewriting, you’ll know it’s a great way to unleash your creative side. You have no boundaries, so you can write as you wish. You often find a theme in your writing, or perhaps a sentence or two you could use elsewhere. You have every thing to gain.
Here’s what our team came up with:
Susanna stared ahead, her eyes fixed on the path. She didn’t see the glorious autumn shades of yellow, gold and bronze, or the way the sunlight dappled through the leaves. All she saw was a challenge; an obstacle to be overcome, an ordeal to be endured.
She flexed her feet experimentally in her brand-new trainers, and smoothed the black fabric of the new sports leggings that stretched tightly across her thighs. She cleared her throat, glanced nervously at the fancy new fitness gadget strapped to her wrist.
She could do this – she could! All she had to do was put one foot in front of the other, all the way to the third bench on the left, just before the copper beech tree by the bend.
She slapped down the image that slid its way across her brain, tempting her away from her resolve. Just make it to the bench, a little voice from somewhere deep inside her said, and you can have a reward – like a slice of that luscious Stem Ginger Loaf Cake left over from Meggie’s visit yesterday . . .
Enough! She was going to do this, and she was going to do it now. I’m investing in my health, she told herself. No pain without gain. This is the start of the new me . . .
Goodness, was there a cliché about getting fit that she hadn’t used? Annoyed with herself and her own unoriginality, all at once Susanna set off – at a run! She was doing it. She was actually doing it.
After just a few seconds, she could feel her leg muscles burning. A few seconds more, and she was already out of puff. One foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other . . .
The first bench came and went, and with it, a new image popped into her head. This one she didn’t suppress. She could see Slender Susanna, an elegant size 12 in clothes that didn’t strain across the bust and bottom. Slender Susanna didn’t have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels that were “a concern”. Slender Susanna could climb three flights of stairs without getting out of breath. And Slender Susanna was not at risk of developing Stage 2 diabetes . . .
And there it was, her goal. The third bench. Somehow, she had done it. For some people, running the length of this path through the park wouldn’t merit a mention, but for Susanna it was her greatest ever fitness achievement. And she would do it again tomorrow, and the day after that. She didn’t need a slice of cake as a reward; that way of thinking had been her downfall for too long.
She collapsed on to the third bench, sweaty, out of breath and elated.
Staring deeply at the apple he’d just bitten into, Dougie let his eyes drift in and out of focus. This one was a wee bit pink under the skin, it belonged to the little tree at the end of the garden. With half a dozen apple trees outside their new house, Dougie had eaten more apples in the last two months than he had in his life up to this point, but he never tired of their crispness and bright, cheery colour.
The bench in the park was all his, so he slumped back and stretched his legs out in front. The leaves were falling around him, and were blown into small piles of vivid golds and reds against the legs of the bench.
Waiting for the news was always the hardest. It seemed as if they deliberately left the phone calls until the last possible minute, when doubt began to creep into his mind and he started to fear the worst.
But there was nothing he could do at the moment. Whatever happened next, this quiet afternoon was all his. It occurred to Dougie how much of his life was planned – appointments, jobs, visits to friends and family – that he couldn’t remember the last time he’d just done nothing, like this.
Given that he didn’t know what the outcome would be, there seemed little sense in wasting effort planning his next move. Which meant that he might as well just enjoy floating in uncertainty for a little while. It was dead relaxing, he thought.
Maybe he could just go on like this. Having decisions taken out of his hands. Like when he was wee, and life was just guided by his mam and dad’s direction.
He felt the vibration of the phone is his pocket before he heard the tone, and he was a bit embarrassed that it made him jump. With a deep breath, he took the call.
“Dougie? It went straight through the MOT, mate. No advisories. Ready to pick up.”
“Cheers, mate. I guess there’s first time for everything!”
There it was. Dougie was back on the road, and back on schedule. At least, he would be in five minutes, after he’d finished his apple…
Dan made his way through The Meadows after a busy nightshift, it had been a long night but walking home through Edinburgh’s open space always put him in a good mood. The trees were so autumnal, and he turned his collar up against a gentle breeze.
He enjoyed working at the Infirmary, but as he thought of Tim avoiding him earlier he didn’t like falling out with colleagues. He strode down the leafy pathway towards the flat he shared with Tim. They’d shared the flat since their student days studying in the capital city, and had always got on well enough, but this time, he was sure Tim was in the wrong.
Tim was being stubborn, in that way that secretly annoyed Dan, but Dan was too polite to say anything. The way he’d taken the trophy home after their last Pub quiz, knowing it was Dan who had won it for them. But Tim took the credit anyway, and spelled out his name to the quiz master so he’d get his name on the trophy. T I M. That had really annoyed Dan.
It was the same annoyance that crept up when they’d met the girls in the bar that night. He knew Katy had liked him first, he could tell by the way she smiled at him, but Tim had charged in there, and now they were dating. Dan was stuck being the gooseberry. Dan didn’t like being the gooseberry. Instead of him and Katy going out on romantic dates, he was stuck at the flat while Tim romanced her with lasagnes, and punnets of peaches.
Dan hated peaches. He hated peaches almost as much as he hated cheese. Cheese reminded him of all those late nights as a medical student, cramming information for his exams. Dan thought about the exams and how he and Tim had sat up late together and worked hard studying. They’d tested each other, made lots of coffee, endless trips to the library, and had shared books. Tim had been a great mate back then.
Perhaps it was silly to let a girl and a silly trophy come between them thought Dan. Maybe Dan was being childish and stubborn. The lovely weather and colours of autumn really had put him in a good mood he thought as he made his way to his front door. He ran up the stairs, two at a time, with renewed vigour. Pah! What night shift!
I’ve been a right grump thought Dan. Inside he was happy for Tim and Katy, they made a great couple, and it was sweet watching the two of them build a relationship. As he jumped in the shower he made a vow to be less grumpy. As he walked into the living room, Dan spotted the Pub quiz trophy, on it a post-it note. “He’s going to transfer it to you”. Tim was a great mate after all.