Recently I’ve joined a small writing group (just 5 of us along with the instructor) that meets every two weeks or so. It’s been really fun trying my hand with a different genre of writing (fiction) and I’ve already learned that I need to stop thinking so much and just go with it. Of course, it certainly helps that the other participants are incredibly gifted writers, most of them published, and many of them with multiple books out there. I think I’m the first ‘newbie’ to join this group in a long while, so I’m especially thankful they’ve allowed me to join them. Maybe some of you might enjoy these exercises as well…it’s good to stretch the brain in different directions, don’t you think?
IN-CLASS ASSIGNMENT: Write a story with a developing crisis, with these sentences in order (2 to 3 minutes writing time between sentences):
I got back to the house just as…
The house seemed to…
I sat silently for…
I thought distractedly of a…
I got back to the house just as she was packing her bags. “Where do you think you’re going to go?” I asked.
“Anywhere but here. It’s too dangerous. He’s everywhere, I can feel him watching me.”
“If you think he’s watching your every move, what makes you think he won’t just follow you to your next stop?”
“Because I’ve chartered a private plane. It’s going to fly me to another major airport across the country. And from there I’m boarding a commercial flight, so he’ll have no idea where I’ve gone.”
I just stared at her. Even though I’d sat down the minute she grabbed her empty suitcase, I wasn’t able to keep my right leg from jittering . This whole situation was giving me the willies.
The house seemed to stop breathing. She was folding shirts and pants, tossing them into her massive suitcase that would surely weigh well over the 50 pound limit. But, then again, on a private charter, there’s probably no weight limit at all. I could hear water gurgling through the baseboards, and was relieved to know that the chill in the room might be somewhat alleviated when the heat got ramped up.
I sat silently for another few minutes…still watching her as she scrambled around through her closet, the drawers of her bureau, and then in and out of the bathroom. I watched as headlights ran across the wall, likely our neighbor coming home from work. Then, a car door slamming.
“Oh my God! Do you think that’s him?” she said. She ran to her purse and pulled out her Sig Sauer. She checked the chamber and attached the clip. I thought distractedly of a newspaper headline that would read “Woman kills stalker dead as he breaks down the front door”.
“Oh for cryin’ out loud”, I said. “Put that thing away. It’s just the neighbor coming home from work”. But she was already at the window, having pulled at the side of the drape just enough so she could see.
“He’s coming up the sidewalk! It’s not the neighbor. He’s coming up the sidewalk!” In a panic she ran into the hallway and took position at the top of the stairs…where she had a clear shot if he came through that door.
“Calm down!” I hissed. “That could be anyone…let me at least see who it is.”
“NO!” she screamed. “It’s HIM …I know it is!” We could hear the door handle creak. We both stood absolutely still as we watched it turn.