A Writing Exercise - The Process

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post about brainstorming ideas and told you I'd come up with something about a beach. Well as I was struggling to find any words today I thought I'd go back to that brainstorming session and take a look at what I had.

Below you'll find my entire session from conception to final edit (so far). It's only a short piece but I think it shows progression, perhaps even insight into how my mind works.

Morgan's Milieu | A Writing Exercise - The Process: Palm trees blowing in a breeze, blue sky spotted with white wispy clouds.

Brainstorming Words and Ideas 
Quiet, tranquility, serenity, peace, relaxing = breeze blowing through leaves, trickling river, swimming fish, beach, rushing waves, squawking of birds (seagulls), tweeting birds.

My Scene:   BEACH 
See: crashing waves, sandy beach, blue sky, white clouds, yacht on sea on horizon, palm trees
Hear: rushing waves, rustling of leaves, squawking seagulls,
Feel: warmth of sun on skin, wind blowing through hair, sand as it blows into face
Smell: the sea, faint aroma of food, alcohol (mojito?), partner’s perfume as the breeze blows by
Taste: salty air, bitter alcohol, grit of sand on tongue

CONTEXT
Visiting to say goodbye to a loved one.
Emotions: pain, sorrow, heartache, anger, wistful,


DRAFT ONE   
“She stood on the beach, sand massaging the soles of her feet, staring out at the waves. A breeze drifted in from the sea blowing her hair off her shoulders and rustling the palm trees that towered above her. She took a deep breath, tasting a mix of the salty sea air and the sweet minty drink in her hand, and a tear trickled over her cheek. The warmth of the sun on her skin couldn’t warm her heart but as she looked up at the blue sky dotted with white fluffy clouds a faint smile pulled the corners of her mouth. A distant voice travelled on the wind and brought with it his smell.”

Everything above was done without using my emotion thesaurus. They're just my words written from the heart. My next step was to check in the emotion thesaurus, write notes and figure out how to make the writing better.

From Emotion Thesaurus
Nostalgia
Physical responses: eyes that fill with tears, a shallow sigh, gently touching memorable items = ring on necklace.
Mental: a desire to go back and visit the past. 
Sadness 
Physical responses: crying, sniffing/wiping nose, drooping shoulders, a distant or empty stare, touching a cross or fingering jewellery for comfort.
Internal sensations: an aching chest, a runny nose, heavy or tightness in the chest, blurred vision.
Mental responses: An inability to see where the future might go, turning inward/withdrawing, A need to be alone. 
The golden sand massaged the soles of her feet as she stared past the distant waves. Palm trees danced in a breeze blowing in from the sea, her hair blew off her shoulders.

DRAFT TWO 
“She stood on the beach, sand massaging the soles of her feet, and sniffed as she stared out at the waves. A breeze drifted in from the sea blowing her hair off her shoulders and rustling the palm trees that towered above her. She took a deep breath, tasting a mix of the salty sea air and the sweet minty drink in her hand, and a tear trickled over her cheek. The warmth of the sun on her skin couldn’t warm her heart but as she looked up at the blue sky dotted with white fluffy clouds a faint smile pulled the corners of her mouth. A distant voice travelled on the wind and brought with it his smell. Her heart ached.”

This is where I took a break, for about 4 weeks. I haven't looked at it again until today and I just did a few more edits.

DRAFT THREE 
“She stood on the beach, sand massaging the soles of her feet while she stared at the crashing waves. A breeze drifted in from the sea blowing hair off her shoulders and rustling through the palm trees that towered above her. She took a deep breath, tasting a mix of the salty sea air and the sweet minty drink in her hand, and a tear trickled over her cheek. With the warmth of the sun on her skin she looked up at the blue sky decorated with wispy white clouds and a faint smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. 
A distant voice travelled on the wind and brought with it his scent. A strong, musky smell that made her heart ache. She touched her necklace, a gift from him, turning the pendant in her fingers. A seagull took flight and she watched it rise into the sky and speed away towards the horizon.  
She raised her hand to her mouth and blew a kiss towards the sea.”
Morgan's Milieu | A Writing Exercise - The Process: A seagull in flight in a clear blue sky.


So far the process has worked well for me and I enjoyed watching my writing take shape. Having each draft in front of me helped too because I could watch my work grow and get better. As you can see creative writing is not simply about putting words onto paper (or screen). You have to go over those words again and again to get them just right. Maybe I'll come back to Draft Three at a later point and improve on it again but for now I'm happy. What do you think?

Do you have a process or do you just wing it? 

Prose for Thought

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

2 comments:

  1. This is great Morgan! I love how you have constructed it and laid it out for people to put together. A great piece of writing. Thank you for linking to Prose for Thought xx

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Victoria. It really helped me break through the block and I could analyse my own writing. Thanks for stopping by. xx

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