Writing practice

Managed two hours this morning. It wasn’t as intense as yesterday’s session and I’m not as exhausted. I’m not still completely in story land either, like I was yesterday, just *out* of it for hours and hours. I slowed down a lot more this morning, doing more plotting and planning as I went along. The piece has better imagery, is much more of a story, and could also be rewritten sometime, I think. I don’t feel as if it was as creative, though. More skill and technique than flow. It wasn’t bad, though. Possibly shifted the balance too far the other way.


The writing prompt was “I would like to make an exchange.” The character this morning, Patty, wants to exchange her life for Madeleine’s. Patty feels herself to be a pale church mouse, who has been taught that strong emotions, like strong liquor, are bad. While Madeleine is from South Africa, and speaks French, and loudly expresses her likes and dislikes. It takes place in the same London neighborhood as yesterday’s story, with Tómas the green grocer.

Patty discovers a book at the Portobello market. She picks it up because of what she thinks are cleaning tips, only to find out it’s a book of spells. Part of it covers mere substitutions, like how the eye of newt really can’t be exchanged for the eye of salamander, but it *can* be exchanged for salmon eyes. But part of it is straight exchange — and so Patty decides to exchange her life for Madeleine’s.

The first exchange — a finger — goes well. She messes up the second spell, though, and accidentally steals Madeleine’s voice. She’s justified all this to herself because she *isn’t* stealing — she isn’t going to kill Madeleine. She just wants to have her life, her loud laughter, her ability to be comfortable in her surroundings. The next exchange, a hand, doesn’t go well and Madeleine confronts her — proving that she has her own magical protection from Patty. Patty goes ahead with the life exchange spell anyway, and ends up in a coma. Madeleine gains some weight, some additional girth, and occasionally speaks with a voice that squeaks like a church mouse — there’s been a sharing of sorts.

I’m not as completely drained from this story. As I said, I directed it more, rather than it directing everything. I think it’s a strong story, but there’s a lot missing from it — more passion from Patty, though that skirts a fine line, because of how quiet she is. I know I could do more with her though.

Anyway. This wasn’t journaling — far from it. I really like a lot of the images I came up with. I guess part of the reason why this felt more like craft to me was because I made a metaphor with sunflowers, and I think that while sometimes that sort of thing can happen spontaneously — this was more planned. Hopefully, though, if I actually did write this story, it wouldn’t feel contrived.

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