Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WOW - the people in your neighbourhood

write on wednesday

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 15 - Give yourself some time to notice the people around you. The people who may cross your path each day. The lady in front of you at the supermarket, the man who helps the school kids cross the road, a neighbour, a waitress in a cafe, a librarian, anyone at all. Choose one person, someone you don't know, and this person will become the basis of the week's writing exercise. Describe this person as you see them, describe their surroundings. Then imagine a problem, create conflict for this person. Describe the conflict. Describe how your character deals with the problem. The conflict might resolve itself, it might not. It is up to you. Perhaps, the lady in the supermarket has forgotten her wallet. Does she bursts into tears? Maybe the librarian finds a lost child. The aim is to show how your character responds to conflict and in the process, reveal something about that character. Tell us their story.

Let's aim for around 200 words, keeping with the theme of the last few weeks (to make each word count). Hopefully those of you who are writing ongoing stories will find a way to weave this exercise into your work.


Lying still in her hospital bed, not moving an inch for fear that such a movement would cause the steel tube in her throat to shift and constrict her feeble airway, she couldn’t help but overhear the dulcet murmuring from beyond the green curtain pulled loosely around her bed. Her mothers’ voice rose in anguish as she answered the Doctors question with one of her own. “What do you mean,” she asked trepidation permeating every word uttered.

Hearing the Doctor take a deep breath and seeming to steady himself for his next words “We have done everything we possibly can. The tumors keep returning, faster than we can operate on her, we can no longer control them in this measure. Radium appears to be her only option. If we don’t give it a go… well” he let his words hang in the empty space between them.

Stumbling backward she sank into the hard wooden chair in the corner of the ward. Her eyes glazed over with unbidden tears and she watched as life continued for those people far beneath her, suppressing the urge to scream at the injustice she had been dealt she forced her mind back to the present. Her life. This young girl was her life and now the Doctors were intimating that her survival hung in the balance.

Steeling herself before she spoke up,

“But radium? It’s so new in this country, there is barely any documentation on its use nor it’s success”


Attempting to share something a bit different this week, this has been a (based on a true) story simmering in the back of my mind for many years now but has lain dormant the past two. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with it or which direction I want it to head - but I do know that I want to say it - in my words because it's an intriguing story. Starting this writing course I am doing, has re-iterated to myself the importance this story once held for me. Looking at it again, through the eyes of these weekly exercises makes it feel it's all coming back to me... slowly.

Constructive criticism welcomed!


Melissa said...

Interesting story. I would be interested in finding out more about radium & the treatment - is it the same as chemo? I hope you continue this :)

Anonymous said...

An emotionally intense piece. Most definitely captured the brief of 'conflict'. Well done. :)

Kristy Prowse said...

I really like this.
It is "carefully" written - not over written - don't know how to describe it more.
I would read on..
This is my first visit to your blog - I'm intrigued to read more

Stephanie said...

I could feel the intense emotion behind this piece. Very well written!

Sheri Bomb said...

I have to say, this piece really hit a nerve. My boyfriend lost his sister to cancer only yesterday. I still enjoyed this piece, it was descriptive without being overly emotional. It was interesting and it really put you right there in the slightly terrifying, frustrating and quite foreign feeling of being at the mercy of such a condition.

Lene said...

I think you've done really well with this piece. You write with such beautiful description, as though it's actually you we're reading about (?) You capture the drama and the fear really well and I'm intrigued to know more.

Katharina said...

I really liked the perspective of this piece. I would read on.

Domesblissity said...

That was very well written Car. Very sad, even more so that it is based on a true story.

Anne xx

Jayne said...

Oh this is so moving and heartbreaking. Tension and the mother's sorrow captured beautifully.

Sarah said...

I love that idea of stories simmering in the back of your mind...makes the telling of it so vivid - I really had a sense of being there and taking in all the surroundings...thanks

spring days, new growth said...

in the context of the exercise, you've drawn the mother/child characters beautifully, but also drawn in the environment.
In terms of a biography, I would love to know how their lives panned out!

Sarah said...

I think you captured that feeling of disbelief and horror when a child life it threatened perfectly.

It was a perfect choice for the prompt.

Maybe, if you want to and it fits with future prompts you could continue the story.

I'd really like to read more.

Anonymous said...

Powerful story. I want to read more too.
There were a few really long sentences which could be broken down. Shorter sentences can create a higher sense of tension, so maybe have a play around with these? You might find it has more punch.
I'd also like to know a little more about the daughter. Show us her vulnerability, her innocence, her fragility.
Hope you continue with this Car. Great job.

Andy said...

Right at the very first sentence, you immediately had me hooked on the story. I could feel her misery when you describe how she struggles in the hospital bed. You really have such a powerful intro and an intriguing ending.It's so obvious that you were engaged in the story.



Janelle said...

I felt scared for the mother and daughter, and frustrated and angry when you described the injustice of the diagnosis and the rest of the world carrying on with life.
This is just me personally, but I felt the story could have stopped with the sentence "her survival hung in the balance". There was a lot of power behind that sentence.

Kerry said...

I was hooked from the start. Very compelling. I'd love to read more about this family's struggles.