Skipping the meme today, instead: A Writing Excercise

So I am not going to do the Feature and Follow today, I just don’t have the time to devote to it this week. I’ve got way too much writing I want to get done.

While I am waiting to send Cornerstone off to my editor I’ve been working on the first draft to the sequel. It’s coming along extremely well and so that will be my focus today/this week.

My goal will be to have it ready for release around February or March of 2013, so you wont have too long to wait between Cornerstone and the second book.

One day a few weeks ago when I was stuck and the words wouldn’t get flowing I participated in a writing exercise. The results were fun and so I decided to share it with you. 

First, the assignment: In this exercise your task is to take on the role of a wizard, micro-robot, fly on the wall/spider on the ceiling, PI in the bushes, pervert in the wardrobe, or any other person/object conducting surveillance on someone. However you do it, the rules are the same.
There is only one person to watch, though they may interact with another as long as neither speaks.
You can’t read their mind.
They don’t utter a single word.

The scene can be anything you want, from the action of an aerial dog-fight, to the utterly mundane folding of laundry. Whatever the activity, use it to give an example of the character’s personality. Are they kind? Obsessed with order? Annoyed with someone? Pining for an unknown love? Don’t just show an emotion. We want to see the actual personality come through.

Feel free to move the camera angles about, but the scene includes exactly one person doing something, without talking. Stick to third person to avoid knowing thoughts.

I really liked the girl I created for this, maybe someday she’ll land herself in one of my novels.
Anyway, hope you enjoy!

She stared blankly at the notebook in front of her. She’d written nothing but her essay title: Changes in Modern Media. Well, unless you counted all the doodles in the margin. Hearts. Swirls. A name. His name. Crossed out, then written again. Over and over and over.

With a resigned sigh she closed the notebook and shoved it into her blue plaid backpack. Glancing up, she frowned at the clock. 4:58.

Freeing her hair from its perpetual ponytail, she headed into the small bathroom. A quick turn of her fingers locked the door behind her. The sight of her reflection in the mirror while she waited for the water to warm earned another frown. Honey freckles dotted her cheeks, matching her honey hair. Hazel eyes stared back at her.

Experimenting, she pulled the front sections of her hair back , clasping them together behind her head. Wrinkling her nose she let the hair drop. Gathering all her hair this time, she twisted it into a bun at the nape of her slim neck. She cocked her head slightly to the side, then turned to view from another angle. Crouching down, one hand still holding her hair in place, she fumbled under the counter in the plastic container of hair-things until she found a weird, two pronged pin. She awkwardly tried to replace her fingers with the pin, but most of her hair escaped.

Tossing the pin dismissively back into the box, she climbed into the bathtub, standing motionless under the steaming water.

A scant few minutes later she climbed out, toweled her hair and then wrapped the towel around herself before heading back into her bedroom. The red glare of the clock flashed its warning. 5:30. With a second look at the clock, she shook her head as if to clear it, frowned and darted for her closet.

A row of neatly hung clothes lined each side of the walk-in. Shirts together, similar in both cut and color. Simple, pattern-less browns, creams and blacks. Below that, folded neatly over their hangers, her well worn jeans, faded to comfortable perfection. She fingered her favorite pair, and pulled the hanger off the bar before pausing. With a forlorn look she put the hanger back without removing the jeans.

On the other side of the closet she pushed aside hanger after hanger. A few khakis. Winter sweaters. Gifts from grandma; vests and scarfs that even she wouldn’t wear. A Long black skirt like one might wear to a funeral.

Just as she was about to snatch up a pair of the jeans after all, a box on the top shelf caught her eye. A Macy’s box, tissue paper peaking out, the gift tag from last Christmas still attached to the top of the box beneath the gaudy red bow. Pulling it down, she read her mother’s elegant script. Jen, some day you may be glad you have this. Please don’t take it back.

The clocked displayed its constant warning as she carried the box to her bed. 5:42.

Carefully opening the box, she pushed the tissue paper out of the way. Holding it up in front of her, she studied the navy blue dress. It was so different than anything else she owned. It flared playfully beneath the waist, asking if she were brave enough to try it on. Still in the box, where they had been hiding under the dress, a pair of simple black heels waited. Grabbing both the shoes and the dress, she hurried into the bathroom and quickly slipped them on.

After running the brush through her still damp hair, she left it hanging in loose waves around her shoulders while she dug in the vanity drawer. Finding what she wanted, she shut the drawer, jumping a little when it slammed shut a little too hard.

She took a deep breath, then another. Peeling the plastic wrapper off, she opened the little stick of eyeliner. Wobbling unsteadily on her unfamiliar heels, she leaned over the vanity. With a trembling hand she tried to run the little torture stick lightly through her eyelashes. She finished the first lower eye, and started on the second. Squinting, she judged her handiwork. A slight frown creased her brow. The lines weren’t straight by any means. Leaning forward again, she started to run the eyeliner across her upper lid. Just as she was about to finish her left eye, she wobbled on the heels again, her ankle slipping to the side. Her eyes watered as the tiny stick poked past its mark. Of course with her watering eyes, her makeup thus far was ruined.

Stepping out of the blasted heels she grabbed a washcloth, wet it and washed the makeup running in brown pools under her eyes. Her slightly red rimmed eyes narrowed as she studied her still lose hair. Chewing on her lip, she left the bathroom and headed back to her closet in search of other shoes. Pulling out a pair of black sandals with a slight heel she slipped them on her bare feet.

Her shoulders relaxed a bit after stepping into familiar shoes, only to tense again when the doorbell rang. She looked behind her at the clock. 5:59. She took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. The doorbell sounded again. Swallowing hard, she hurried to the door.