Writing Great Fiction - Lecture Two Exercise

on September 9, 2018, 9:38 am

Lecture two from Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques is about evocation.

Based on an exercise from John Gardner's The Art of Fiction we are supposed to write a passage describing a building, a landscape or an object from the point of view of a parent who's child has just died. All you're allowed to do is describe the object without mentioning the child, the parent or death. Invoke the feeling of loss and grief without mentioning either.

After a couple of abortive tries where I eventually mentioned one or all, I came up with this:

The swingset was tiny. Much too small for an adult. The worn rubber seat had two leg holes and a pink plastic strap across the front. The purple metal frame was faded and chipped, but you could still make out capering, grinning figures along its length. Under the seat was a muddy puddle, the center of a trail of scuff marks. Footprints staggered and skipped at the edge of the puddle and into the dust beyond. A gust of wind rippled the water and the hinges squeaked as the rubber harness twisted slowly. The wind died and there was silence.

Exercise from Lecture Three >>

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