The PWG met last week for the last session of the year. In the morning group we did an exercise on point of view and setting. The point of the exercise was to see a building through the eyes of a character and to demonstrate that what is ugly to one person in one frame of mind can be beautiful to another. It was also a useful exercise in writing from the point of view of the opposite sex. As usual, we each read out what we had written. There were some powerful pieces of writing. I chose a pier as my building (see my effort below). I found the exercise inspiring and I intend to develop the piece further.
The pier had always been there. It looked fragile, the gun metal grey of the waves lapping at the rusty framework, threatening to wash the whole structure away. The colour of the sea matched his mood. He walked slowly head bowed, his feet making a hollow sound on the wooden boards. He looked up as he approached the arcade. There were no sounds of laughter coming from the abandoned building, long since closed, slot-machines and penny falls going out of fashion. The windows were boarded up and paint was peeling from the walls. There were specks of white in wet patches where the plaster was crumbling away. Briefly he wondered if here were plans to renovate it and, if so, what it would become. Then he realised he didn’t care. Everything was reduced to dust in the end. He took shelter in the doorway, the smell of urine and decay strong in his nostrils. He took out the letter from the officer, although he knew the contents off by heart. A sudden gust of wind caught the paper, whipping it out of his hand. He watched transfixed as it was carried on the wind and then tossed into the waves.
The pier had always been there. It beckoned to her now a solid line stretching out into the surging sea. It held the promise of fun times. She had often come here as a little girl running on the boards loving the sound of her feet clip clapping on the wooden floor. She remembered the long lazy days of school holidays spent paddling in the sea below. There was an arcade at the end, its white façade looking like a giant wedding cake. It had once housed slot machines and penny falls, then for a while it had been a nightclub. The windows were now boarded up and she wondered what it would become next, perhaps a café or one of those old fashioned ice cream parlours the interior painted in candy floss pink. She plunged her hands deep into her coat pockets and continued walking. The wind was exhilarating a sudden gust caught her hair, flinging it wildly around her face and laughing she brushed it aside. She could taste the salt from the spray on her tongue. She moved her hands and rested them protectively against her stomach and smiled.
In the afternoon group we did an exercise on endings by taking a beginning and then writing the ending trying not to worry about the middle. Again, there were some great pieces of writing, which I hope will be developed into complete short stories over the winter as I’m looking forward to reading them!
I loved reading this, Anita. It's even more powerful the second time. Looking forward to hearing how you develop it.ReplyDelete
Thanks Evelyn. I enjoyed hearing what everyone else had written and, as always, there were some evocative pieces of writing. I really enjoyed this exercise.Delete