Category Archives: writing exercise

Bird Thoughts

Published / by JT / Leave a Comment

[Hi, everyone. Back from break after touring the best part of the Silver State via Highway 50 and back round Interstate 80. Fun times for this Nevada nerd. Now, time for the writing exercise. If you’re late to the game, I bought a book of writing prompts to kick start my butt back into the game. If you’re interested, these exercises all have the same hashtag (link). As always, my comments at the end are at the end in italics and brackets.]

Bird Thoughts

Think of a specific type of bird, such as a wandering albatross, and write a detailed description of it, including its appearance and its movements, and perhaps even its thoughts.

Argus of the Icari nest watched the human below climb the near-perpendicular shale cliff without rope or support. Even in the near darkness of the dawn, he could see the human was laboring, yet not being as careful as the others before today. He found himself counting the seconds for the man (perhaps women) to put a hand on a loose offshoot of rock. The cliff face was too dangerous to fly by, much less ascent, and he was sure the rock crumble under the weight of the climber. The fall would be sudden, too quick to save itself from the fall to the valley floor below.

Argus hoped for the fall, because if it made the ascent to his station, he would have to kill the human to save his nest’s secrets. Despite his training, he had no taste for murder.

His left wing quivered and he folded the tip to his face, plucking the small ant trying to nest between the feathers. Like those his age, Argus was a speedbird, the youngest of the warrior caste. Their youth and physical fitness made them the swiftest of the nest, able to fly incredible speeds during the hunt. Their wings were developed to the point where they could withstand sharp turns as high speeds, including the turn upwards from the ground after falling a far distance. Continue reading

Jesus Wept

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[Writing exercise time. My comments are italicized and in brackets, as usual.]

“Jesus wept” is the shortest sentence in the Bible, made up of only a noun and a verb. List random nouns and verbs below and see if any fit well together to create a short, impactful, and perfectly crafted sentence.

Armadillos strutted.
Bagpipe blown.
Bidet exploded.
Capon caught.
Chastity given.
Cleaner applied.
Click paused.
Consent given.
Cover blown.
Creditor fumed.
Dagger pierced.
Learning stopped.
Lily opened.
Log fell.
Netbook read.
Premeditation warranted.
Protocol followed.
Respite given.
Road traveled.
Rubbish tossed.
Slippers lost.
Software downloaded.
Sweat beaded.
Wonder felt.

[Okay, I admit I wimped out on this exercise and fell back to cliches. In my defense, I drove 300+ miles today over the most interesting landscape in the world: rural Nevada. Highway 50 is like butter to Nevada nerds. If you want to give me points, the nouns are random (link).]

Historical Juxaposition

Published / by JT / Leave a Comment

[Today’s writing exercise with three stories. Forgive the typos, as this is off the cuff with little to no editing. My comments are in italics and brackets.]

In the space below each of these three historical events, describe a seemingly mundane, everyday event that might have occurred on the same day, which serves to juxtapose the famous events:

  1. William Shakespeare dies, April 23, 1626.

Riku stirred the warm water over the fire in his family’s small kitchen, waiting for his father to return from the docks and his mother from visiting his aunt in the foothill. Though only ten, he understood the immense responsibility of tending the fire, not overstocking the flame or letting the sparks leave the same stone circle. His father’s father, his soku, still bore the scars on his arm from the Last Great Edo Fire, and his grandfather rarely let a month go by without telling how his mother was consumed.

But Riku was ten years old, and his mind wandered as a child’s mind does, even during important tasks. His eyes saw his hand stirring the water, preparing to add the chai, but his mind was far away. It was not on his small family, his parents or his poor maimed little sister whom he loved more that the moon, nor was it on the upcoming Kanda Matsuri festival, in which his father promised Riku could attend from dawn to dusk. His imaginations passed over even his favorite dream: success in school. It was not unknown for the best students to find a new life above their caste, far from this small Yokosuka apartment.

Had Riku thought of his favorite dream, he would have repeated his silent prayer thanking the gods his family was not burakumin, social outcasts. No matter their efforts, there was no light in the dark days of those untouchables. Continue reading

Turmeric-Yellow Taxis

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Bought a book of writing prompts and exercises  to help kick-start the dormant writing career. Let’s see how long I stick with the words.

#1. Write down the colors of various herbs and spices and then use these spice/color couplets to describe the color of something else, suck as turmeric-yellow New York taxis.

Personal challenge: I’m not a cook and know nothing about spices and herbs, outside of salt and pepper. Spent more time doing the research than the writing.

“The streetlight through the motel curtains turn the walls into a shade close to curry yellow, reminding him he hadn’t eaten Indian food since they last loved each other in a humid Kansas night …”

“As I ran towards her supine body, her blonde hair masking her face, I was struck by the elderberry-purple shade of blood gushing from the arterial cut…”

“He was stung by her accusation, his face turning chili-pepper red, though she was unsure if it was from her tone or that she’d finally learned the truth…”

“He passed his hand over the coriander-yellow scarf, smoothing it flat across the casket, remembering better days that would be remembered by him alone from this day forward…”

“She resisted ruffling his cinnamon-brown hair, capturing in memory the image of snowflakes mixed with his thick curls atop a face framed with blue eyes and a strong chin…”

“The mud on the SUV nearly hid the nutmeg-brown chassis’ distinct features, not the least being the indented fender that clearly ended her client’s life…