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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Timed Writing Exercise

I’m at a breather-place with the current project and struggling to find blog topics, but aware I need to keep writing.  At the suggestion of Writer’s Digest, I did a thirty minute timed writing using the following words:  lighthouse, rabbits, rosebush and ice skates. 

Yes, afterwards I edited. 

Try it.  It was fun.

Lara looked forward to sketching the first patterns on the surface.  Virgin ice, six inches deep, untouched but for three-toed prints.  Bird chains tiptoeing down the snow-covered ice in front of the lighthouse replica, the whimsy of some long ago Tauberta focal piece to the topiary gardens terracing down to the water.  High above, the gabled mansion peered over the edge of the hill like a conscience, Tory-black chimney-tops poking above cypress and pine.   She looped a figure eight, picturing the paint on the house now blistered and peeling, prize winning rose bushes riddled with black spot.

Her mother used to go on about what it took to maintain the home, chefs and housekeepers, a trove of gardeners.  But there hadn’t been a Taubert living there in twenty years.  For the last fifteen, Len Michaels had been the only permanent gardener, appearing two days a week to clip the towering rabbits, the green elephant, the Dr. Seuss trees with marshmallow shapes. 

Way back when, she inquired why he didn’t ask for more hours.  He’d shrugged.  “Get paid by the bank.  Get what I get.”  A lawn service mowed in the summer.  In the winter, plows kept the driveway clear.  But she’d given up worrying about the footprints she left when she tramped down to the lake carrying her ice skates.  No one shoveled the walks, because no one came.  Ever.  In the middle of January, snow lay untouched, a sea of white. 

For the last fifteen years, she’d imagined the day she would cut across the woods to find a car parked in the driveway, hear glasses tinkling on the patio, the thwack of croquet mallets. Remembered the eyes of the boy she’d met fishing from the deck of the old lighthouse twenty years ago.  The nephew of one of the Tauberts, who’d appeared one brilliant summer and then so soon had been gone. 

She caught something out of the corner of her eye.  Sticking her toe pick into the ice half-way through a turn, Lara jolted to a stop.  Something wasn’t right.   She squinted toward the house.  A puff of grey smoke coiled from one of the chimneys. 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sweet tale. You excel at description and setting.
Want to write my next book for me? I've almost completed the detailed outline...

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow! You did great with that!! What a wonderful way to keep writing and to keep it sharp.

Elsie Amata said...

What a great idea for an exercise. You rocked it!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow, outstanding! I especially like the line about looking over the hill like a conscience. Great job!

Robin said...

You are absolutely amazing with description. Every time I read something of yours that fact is very clear to me. The piece is tender and crackling sharp at the same time. Yay!!!