Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday Writing Workout!

Greetings, all! Hope you enjoyed last week's inaugural writing workout, when we got to imagine a conversation with a favorite actor. Helped me learn why Mr. Ed, who supposedly was such a genius, was satisfied to spend his life standing in a stall waiting for Wilbur Post to come chew the fat....

This week, let's play with SETTING. A strong sense of place is vital to a good story. So how about trying one of my favorite exercises:  write of a specific place from your childhood that was special to you for some reason. Include as many sensory details as you can to help bring the memory to life. Don't strive for perfection; just get the memories down. Here's one of mine:

When I was little, my grandparents lived in a small town only five minutes away. Lucky for me, they didn't mind my staying overnight there whenever I felt the urge.

My favorite place in their house – especially in winter – was standing atop the black iron floor grate near one wall of their dining room. Designed in an intricate pattern of scrolls and squares just far enough apart to swallow a favorite marble, the thing must have been directly above the furnace, because when heat started rolling up out of it...well, a pair of fuzzy slippers was the only thing between my tender pink soles and a life-long branding. But, ah, those hot waves were heaven to a shivering, barely-awake kid who'd just rushed down the narrow, twisty stairs from the frigid upper room papered in faded pink carnations. I remember standing on that grate, fingers against the rough plaster wall behind me, smiling blissfully as my long flannel nightgown billowed around my chicken legs like a balloon swelling for takeoff. Let winter bluster around the corners and moan in the eaves! I was toasty to my earlobes, savoring the morning sounds:  Grandpa's grunts from the back porch as he struggled into his rubber boots, a frying pan clank-clunking in the kitchen sink as Grandma started breakfast dishes (I was a cold cereal girl), a distant metallic clatter signaling that the wondrous heat was about the end. Good thing, because that was always about the time a burning-plasic smell warned me that my slipper soles would be white goo if I didn't hop off and begin my day. And so I would.

Okay, now it's your turn! Close your eyes, and let yourself drift back to that favorite place.

P.S.  Have you entered our latest book giveaway contest? It ends tonight at 11 PM, so hurry!


April Halprin Wayland said...

Jill! Did we share the same heater grate? My sister & I billowed above ours, too!

Jill said...

Wish new(er) houses had those grates. I miss them!