Monday, September 8, 9:01 PM

I’ve been waiting all day to be here. I’ve got my cup of tea, a new scented candle for additional olfactory inspiration, and my timer is set for one hour. Ready? Here we go.

It’s actually quite a bit later than I usually sit at my keyboard. It couldn’t be helped as there were things to do after work today that got me home later than usual. And I was antsy. But you know, antsy in a good way. As in, I couldn’t wait to get here, crack open the lid of the laptop and start writing.

As I may have mentioned, my goal is to write or do some other writing related activity for one hour a day, five days a week. It could be reading a chapter in “The Maeve Binchy’s Writer’s Club”, finding resources for writing online, or doing this; blogging about writing related topics. Tonight I’m going to read a chapter then write a bit.

This week’s chapter (they are written in weeks, as it was a multi-week course Maeve taught and she gives you one lesson per chapter) was called, “Week 3 – Telling a Story.” It was about finding a story to tell in which the reader would care what happened to the character. The young couple can or can’t have a baby, the nurse is arrested for stealing drugs, the man doesn’t get the job, and instead, ends up starting his own business and being happier and more successful than he otherwise would have been. In other words…something happens.

As I read this, a snippet of a story idea came to mind. I thought of it this morning while sitting at the breakfast table, and looking across the room at the two armchairs sitting there with no occupants. I had this idea about a couple sitting there for so long, and being so comfy, that they both sank into their chairs and were pulled through to another world. I began to wonder what they were like, this couple. Why were they sitting in those chairs for so long? Were they quite old and that’s all they could do? Were they younger but with no children, and they didn’t have the imagination to do anything but sit? Were they male and female, two males, two females? And what would happen to them when they got to “the other side”. Would it mean they had died? Would they meet someone else in this other world, and perhaps learn a life lesson that would change them? I didn’t know, but I jotted down the idea, as Maeve had instructed in “Week 1 Getting Started”.

So here goes…a start to this story, to see if it interests me (or you!) enough for me to carry on with it at some point.

It was early autumn. The days were still warm and the sun still shining into the evening. But in the house, it didn’t matter if it was winter, spring, summer, or fall. The blinds were drawn, and the temperature remained at an even 76 degrees. Elizabeth and Alan had settled into their side-by-side armchairs hours ago. They’d made a pot of tea in their trusty forest green teapot with the chip in the spout, and this sat on the small table between them, though it was long empty. And while both of them might have liked another cup, neither had a strong enough desire to actually get up and make it.

And who would? Elizabeth’s armchair was both lovely to look at (a rich brown and bittersweet paisley pattern) and as comfortable as the mattress the Princess in the “Princess and the Pea” sat on, pre-pea. Alan’s chair was a bit sturdier. It was a deep caramel leather wing-back, with wide arms and a generous seat. Both chairs also had matching footrests, which made the prospect of getting up for anything other than an obligatory bathroom break undesirable.

As the light outside the windows faded behind the shuttered blinds, Elizabeth and Alan felt something odd. It seemed they both felt it simultaneously as Elizabeth exclaimed, “Oh! Oh my!” at the same time as Alan shouted “Ouch!” They looked across the teapot at each other. Their eyes locked, grew wide, and then a great and terrible whoosing sound roared through the house. And like two giant hairballs being sucked backwards down a drainpipe, Elizabeth and Alan were sucked down through the seats of their chairs….and…

What do you think? Should I carry on with that? Do you care what happens to them? Should we know a bit more about them before they get sucked in? Is the image of giant hairballs too gross? Is there another more evocative image that comes to mind? If you’ll give me some feedback, I’ll think on that and possibly consider writing more. Or maybe I’ll move on to a different story idea. I’m now jotting down scraps of sentences, words, and situations whenever they come to me. I’m hoping more than one will grow into a really big idea.

Well, the beachwood and bergamot candle is now emitting a lovely warming scent, but my hour is nearly gone an my tea cup is empty. Until next time…

2 thoughts on “Monday, September 8, 9:01 PM

  1. This is a great start! I could see how this would take some practice and discipline 🙂
    OK – so here’s what I liked:
    – love the evocative language – I can picture the chairs, the tea pot, I kinda get a sense for what the room might look like that these 2 chairs are sitting in… so all the stuff that I would want my reader to start to create in their minds eye because of your words…
    – I like the idea… it seems intriguing
    Here’s my feedback:
    – I would want a little more plot before they get sucked down. I would care more about what might happen next if you’ve made a connection for me to begin with… It doesn’t have to be lengthly detail – but something.
    – hairball visual – yuck… though again the language was such that I definitely got it! So well done there… I’m trying to think of something else that gets sucked down the drain… or sucked into something else… I’ll have to keep thinking.

    My question for you would be, after reading what you wrote and walking away from it, how excited are you to continue creating and writing the story? If you are feeling excited and wanting to see what happens next, than we as your readers probably will too! 😉 I’m starting to see that its kinda the same with my photo making… when I focus my attention of the stuff around me that captures my heart and take those photos – they are much better – than when I am walking around with my list in my head (which I do have!)


    • Ingrid this is really helpful feedback. Part of me likes the idea of sort of diving into their story, but I do have a nagging feeling of wanting to know more about them before they are sucked in. Thinking on that. Another friend said she didn’t care about the couple, and wanted to care about them before they get sucked away. I’m thinking about how I make the reader care about a couple they may not like. Maybe care what happens, as in want to know, rather than liking them. I don’t love the hairball imagery either, but I’m struggling for another visual. I did walk away wondering what happens next, so I think I may carry on with this.

      I’m with you on the feeling that it’s better to “focus my attention on stuff around me” instead of “walking around with a list in my head”. I too have a list, though mine’s in my iPhone notepad app. But I’ve also been trying to approach my writing time without a lot of prior thought.

      Okay – time for me to dive into writing for tonight. Thanks for being here and giving such thoughtful feedback.


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