Monday, September 2, 2013

The CBC Canada Writes Website recently hosted Lawrence Hill the author of The Book of Negroes. He challenged writers each week, for three weeks, with a prompt.  One was chosen daily to be published on the website.

I entered a few stories and this one was chosen to be published.

Here's the prompt:

This week: Write a description of somebody who is all alone, doing something that requires your technical knowledge. Some possibilities could be: making a waffle, tying a shoelace, building an engine, operating a sewing machine, baking a cake, or waxing a set of cross-country skis. It doesn't matter what action you choose, but the process should take several steps. No dialogue. No background information. No flashbacks. Stay entirely in the scene—one time, one place, one moment, one character—and walk us through the action. Make it clear and easy to follow, but also make it dramatically interesting, and show us something about the person's character by the way he or she carries out the actions.

An Unraveling Seamstress by Sharon Gerger

Sharon Gerger's character fights with a seam ripper in her story based on this week's writing prompt

Making an inside-out shirt was not on her agenda today. She picked up the seam ripper again.

She held its gaudy green plastic handle, the size of a half a common ballpoint pen and looked at the business end of the tool. She slid the protective plastic cover off. The cover was for her protection as much as it was for the tool. She saw a piece of angry looking forked metal. One tine of the fork was longer than the other and it had a sharp, pointy end, designed to easily find its way between tightly sewn threads. The other fork was short and the end of it was adorned with a tiny plastic ball, of the same shade of green as the handle. The ball prevented this part from sliding into the seam too.  The valley of these tines was where the destruction happened; its edges were razor like.

She poked the seam ripper into the seam, tilted it a little to ensure the threads couldn’t escape their destiny by sliding off the weapon, and then she pushed it forward so that the threads hit the razor edged section and broke away easily.

She did this over and over and as time wore on she became less careful about where she pointed the device. Tears, born of frustration, clouded her eyes and her judgement and several times she tore the fabric instead of the ill placed threads.

Sewing a blouse looked so easy in the book she had open on the table beside her.  The book was now littered with a flurry of broken threads from her un-sewing.


Here's one I wrote that did not get chosen :-(

Here's the prompt: 

Put two people in an elevator. It is stuck on the 31st floor of an office tower. It has been stuck for 20 minutes and there is no sign of help yet.  Begin the scene with a conversation at Minute 21 in the elevator. A page will do. These two people do not like each other. When they speak, their dialogue should be indirect. They talk around the thing that is bothering them, rather than tackling it head on. This is often the way with good dialogue in fiction.

Stuck on an Elevator

“You need to stop pushing the damn alarm button!”
“Don’t tell me what I need or don’t need, stick your nose back in your book and leave me alone.”
“Seriously, how is pushing the alarm button helping us? You’re giving me a headache.”
“That’s how it’s helping me, it’s giving you a headache and maybe that headache will make you shut up and leave me alone.”
“That's so mature.”
“You know, I used to kind of like you. I thought you were one of the cool old ladies in the admin area. Turns out you’re a jerk.”
“If calling me names is helpful for you, then go right ahead. The fact that it makes you sound like a child, be damned.”
“Oh, can it!”
“Stop with the button! I called for help twenty minutes ago, they are sending someone.”
“But they said that could take an hour, maybe more.”
“That means we are almost half way to being rescued.”
“I hate optimists.”
“Let’s play a game to pass the time. It’s called Sevens. We count aloud back and forth but if the number has a seven in it or is divisible by seven you have to say ‘buzz’ instead.”
“Sounds stupid. Besides I suck at math.”
“This will make you better at math. Once we master sevens. We can play eights. If you’d rather, I know some word games.”
“My mom used to play word games with me in the car when I was a kid.  I’ll say a word, then use it in a sentence and you have to say a word that begins with the last letter of my word and so on.”
“Great!  You start.”
“Idiot. You are an idiot if you think I am going to play games with you.”
“I’m going to call for help again.”


Sadly, I missed the first prompt so didn't enter anything in that contest and it sounded like fun.  

Here's that prompt:

Write two surprising, dramatic, unusual, unpredictable stories about yourself. They can be short. Half a page will suffice. One must be entirely true, and the other 100% invented. They should be of equal length. Test them out on your acquaintances and see if they can tell which one is fiction, and which one is true.  If they are convincingly drawn, it should be difficult for your friends to guess correctly between the true story and the one you have invented.

Critters in my garden.

 I think I need a bath!

Cute little rodent. 

 I love me!

Great legs!