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I decided to organize a weekly creative writing exercise in the office to sharpen the skills of the writing pool. Everyone takes a turn inventing an exercise or a prompt.

The only general rule we've been using is that it should be doable in an hour or so. We've also tried to keep things fun.

Please feel free to share your own exercise efforts by leaving a comment. You can do that at the end of each exercise by clicking on 'Share your own effort'. Enjoy!

Writing Exercises Quick Links
Write an Obama Speech
Wordlplay, Anagram as Inspiration
Strictly Dialogue
Character Sketch
An Article of Clothing
The Truth
Press Release
Creative Description
Paired Fiction Writing
Connecting Ideas
Writing in Persona
Point of View
Interior Monologue
Body Language
Alternate Ending
Book Cover
Horror Writing
Dialogue 3
Dialogue 2
Nanofiction Writing
Writing Without Adjectives
Love Letters
Fictional Monologue
TV Show Opening Monologue
Short Story, Object as Narrator
Speech Writing
Tongue Twister
Suspense and Emotion
Describe and Compose
Poetic Confession
Application letter
Essays of Absurdities
Dialogue with Self
Imaginative Writing
Short Story from Cartoon
Five Random Words
Letter of Complaint

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Exercise 36 - Point of View

Today's exercise is courtesy of Charlie Anders, a fiction writer who lives in San Francisco.

Think of a scene from your own life and write a brief description of it from the point of view of someone else who was there. Try to explore how you (or a fictionalized version of you) might have appeared to this person at the time, but also how this person might have seen the entire situation. Include at least three small details that this other person could have noticed.

Knowing how weird and eccentric you all are, I don’t think you need a fictionalized version of you to make this interesting.

Write about 200 words.

- This from Evert, this week's writing exercise host.  Below is what I wrote.

The Talambaner

From out of nowhere, streaks of color rush past me on my left.  I hit the brakes just in time to avoid grazing the overtaking Sarao jeepney.  “Inahak nga driver!”  I muttered behind muted curses.  Rush hour was over and fewer people lined the jeepney stops.  The jeepney drivers plying the Colon-Talamban route competed for the thinning passengers, me included.  But I wasn’t as aggressive as most.  Rushing is wasteful on fuel consumption and besides, there was no point in tempting fate.  

The Sarao can have this stop.  I’ll drive a more leisurely pace.  I can always pick up the passengers the others miss.

There!  A waving passenger, only he’s on the wrong side of the road.  I pull over and nod to him.  He cranes his slender neck and looks both ways briefly while stepping off the curb.  Tugging at his burly backpack, he moves forward and looks at me, probably worried I had no patience to wait for him.  He’s probably late for a midday class in USC.  Another typical Talambaner.

“No need to rush boy”, I murmur to myself as the boy picks up his pace needlessly.

I finally notice a dab of red on the corner of my eye growing in size quickly.  It is a speeding car on the opposite lane just ahead.  It is too fast.  Why didn’t I see that car coming?  The Talambaner obviously missed it too.

He is still looking at me oblivious to the danger.  The car doesn’t slow down and swerves a little.  The driver was timing himself to rush past the Talambaner.

The timing was off!  The two are on a collision course!  

“Hoi!  Bantay!”  This time, I shout at the boy.

The car finally squeals from the suddenly choked tires.  It happened so fast.  At the last possible moment, the car makes a violent swerve just avoiding the Talambaner as it finally screeches to a stop.  The Talambaner, unable to catch his momentum in time, hits the cars’ passenger window.  The collision is sudden and blunt but thankfully not serious.  

The car had stopped right in front of his path.

“Yawa!”  That was one careless but lucky bastard.  

I could make out the driver through the car’s tint.  He slams a fist on the horn on his steering wheel.  The resulting high-pitched squeal pierces the air, punctuating the ending to the drama that just unfolded.  The driver, obviously shaken, makes the sign of the cross. The car finally drives away, this time on a more careful speed.

The ‘Talambaner’ comes into view and carefully treads the remaining distance to my waiting jeepney.  His walk is wobbly and his face, framed by unevenly cropped hair, expressionless.  He clambers up my jeep.  He drops awkwardly on a seat behind me and rubs the tattered knees of his jeans.  Up close, I stare at his paling countenance as he extends a shaky hand.  He drops a couple of coins into my palms.  The coins are sweaty.

He looks at me with watery eyes.   With a clearly visible quiver in his lips, he says “Talamban ra ko.”

Posted at 06:50 pm by bisoy


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