Prepared by: Rhéal Nadeau
Posted on: Sun, 7 Oct 2001
Reposted on: Sun, 3 Nov 2002
Reposted on: Sun, 11 Apr 2004
Reposted on: Sun, 16 Oct 2005
This is the third exercise in the
One of the most insidious traps in writing
is falling into
Too often, for example, when a character is afraid, we just say "John
was afraid". Or we try to dress that up, "John felt fear seeping
through his veins", which isn't a big improvement. Neither of those
sentences will make the reader share the fear.
How can we share the reality of that
experience, in that particular
piece of writing? We have to draw, first of all, on our own
experiences. We have all experienced fear, or beauty, or hope. Can we
remember that experience, and use it to fuel the scene? Now, we haven't
all faced a tornado, or stared at a loaded gun pointed as us - but
all had scary experiences, and happy ones; moments of despair, moments
This exercise is about remembering. If we
can't remember being
or hungry, or optimistic, how can we hope to describe those experiences
in our writing? So let's forget about characters, plot, fancy phrases,
for a moment. Let's remember, and describe that memory. No
embellishments, no interpretation, just what *we* felt at the moment.
In particular, at this moment in our
lives, we need to remember
emotions, and not allow the dark side of life to get us down.
So the exercise this week is to describe a
peaceful moment in our
a moment things were quiet and in harmony It might have been a moment,
an hour, a day, even longer. Perhaps, that moment was so valuable
because of what came before it, so you may need to refer to less
peaceful moments, using them to contrast the quiet that followed.
Be truthful. Don't make things up, or
dress them up to be fancier.
memories are one of our most valuable resources, if we treat them with
Word limit: 400 words.
Addendum (October 11 2003):
When we first ran this, I was struck by how
many members had trouble remembering a moment of peace. I realize that
our modern lives are busier than ever, but I'm sure everyone has
peaceful moments - we just don't always remember them, seeing them as
interruptions to our regular lives rather than as valuable e xperiences
in their own right. I therefore urge all members to make a special
effort to remember one or two of those moments, however small, moments
when the world stopped for a bit and gave us some time to just *be"
rather than having to "do"...
Rhéal Nadeau's wrap-up
Posted on: Thu, 18 Oct 2001
As always, the submissions for this
exercise were interesting. And
is often the case with the "Remembering" exercises, I was very
interested in seeing the variety of situations described.
In some submissions, peace was simply the
momentary absence of
worry. Others were moments of Peace, with a capital "P" - not just the
absence of negative emotions and thoughts, but a true positive
experience. The principle technique used to describe that moment of
peace, in either case, was by contrasting that moment with the
surrounding chaos or pressure or activity of life.
I do find it a bit sad that so many had
trouble coming up with a
of a peaceful moment - a sign, I guess, of our rush-rush society... (It
made me resolve to make sure to allow time in my life for peace to
up with me!)
(Hmm, that last comment strikes me as a
little ironic, given that
doing this wrap-up almost a week late!)
Web site created by
Rhéal Nadeau and
the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.