This post is for Chic Prune’s Lobster Lounge and Fiction Writer’s Workshop.
The story below is prompted by the following writing exercise:
One page. According to Henry James, one writer wrote a novel from a glimpse of a seminary students’ dinner party. Write a scene of a story from a glimpse you have had of a group of people—in a cafe, in a zoo, on a train, or anywhere. Sketch the characters in their setting and let them interact. Do you find that you know too little? Can you make up enough—or import from other experiences—to fill the empty canvas?
Objective: To find out if you can make much out of little. If you can, great. If you can’t now, don’t worry, you might be able to later. Or, you’ll have to get your stories from other materials.
Check: Can yo visualize these people further? Can you being to hear at least one person speak? If not, go back and find a way of talking that might fit one of the people in the group, and carry on from there.
© Novakovich, J. (2008). Fiction writer’s workshop
the key elements of a writing workshop (2nd ed.).
Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books.
The Dragon Society
Three women sitting in a pub. Eating lunch. Two baked potatoes and a chicken salad. They speak in hushed voices, glancing around every so often, making sure no one is too close, listening.
“So what are we going to do?” one asks, white, permed hair. One of the baked potatoes.
Dark-hair shakes her head, streaks of grey running through it. She stabs a piece of chicken with her fork, a little more force than necessary. “That stupid girl,” she hisses. “We wouldn’t be here now if she hadn’t flown off.”
“Marge, calm down,” white perm says. She mashes some potato into some beans. “Anger won’t solve anything.”
“No,” the small woman, the other baked potato, this one with cheese, adds. “It won’t help Marge. But you do have a point. What we need is a solution.”
Silence falls back over the group. Marge gives a furtive glance. White perm speaks up. “If we find her, bring her back? Do you think she’ll come?”
More silence, then baked potato with cheese answers, “Maybe, if we explain the trouble she’s caused, and the danger she’s in, of course.”
Perm nods. But Marge says, “Does she deserve to come back? Should we allow her? She chose to leave. Perhaps we should do as the council suggested. End her.”
This time the silence is uncomfortable. The council’s words replay in all their minds. If it should come to it, you have our blessing to send her to the Great One Above.
“We will find her. Somehow,” white perm says, rolling up the last of the beans into the last of the potato skin. “We will find her and talk some sense into her.”
“But we still need a way to find her,” cheesy potato says. “That’s the problem.”
Marge sighs, only the lettuce left on her plate. “Fine, have it your way. But if she exposes us while you’re trying to talk her down don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
The waitress approaches the table, takes the plates away. The women get up and leave the pub. Outside, they don’t head to the car park, they secret themselves away in the small copse of trees at the back of the building and wait. The moment there is no one to see, three colourful dragons take to the air, soaring high into the clouds.
I was sat in a pub having lunch when I observed a group of older women. My imagination ran wild. 😀