ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Commercial & Creative Writing

Reflexology, baggage, lightning - Three Word Exercise

Updated on August 21, 2011

Epic fail

So, I was going to share my three word exercises with you. However, I've had an epic fail this evening. I picked my three words, went with the first image that entered my head, knew what I wanted to do with the words, but couldn't manage to get anywhere near them. It happens from time to time. But I'll share the scene that I started to write before giving up. You might as well have it, since I spent time on it. Tomorrow I will make sure I get to the words I choose.

'Now you behave yourself at Nana's today, you hear me, Valentina?' The woman glanced down at the top of the head of the little girl whose hand she had been holding, and also whose mother she happened to be. Valentina made no movement or sound to indicate that she had heard what the woman had said. The woman looked at Valentina's blonde wavy hair for a moment longer, before realising that the door had still not been answered. She rang the bell once more and tapped her foot as she waited for her elderly mother-in-law to make her way along the hall.

'Stand up straight Valentina, there's a good girl.' Valentina stood as still as she had already been. Finally the door creaked open, and Nana's walking stick was visible before she was. She peeped around the door myopically, and squinted up at the woman.

'Mother, you should have the chain on; why do you not have the chain on?' The woman sighed and moved forward, her hand on the door to push it open, but she met with resistance - Nana was pushing back from the inside. The woman stood back and glared impatiently. 'Mother, can you let me in please?'

Nana's crackly paper voice came from behind the door, and was difficult to make out. 'I don't know who you are; I've not to let people in who I don't know - that's what you said last week.'

Valentina's head tilted slightly, at which the woman seemed to frown. 'Well, if you remember me saying that, then you know full well who I am - now let me in.'

Nana glanced at Valentina, before shuffling back from the door and allowing the woman to open it. The woman let go of Valentina's hand and with a tap on the shoulder indicated that the girl should go into the house. The woman cleared her throat and held her hand up to her nose as she stepped over the threshold and into the gloomy narrow hallway. Nana had already shuffled into the living room as the woman took short breaths and muttered to herself about the smell of cats.

'Into the living room, go on Valentina.' Almost against her will the woman glanced at the kitchen where she saw plates piled high on the sideboard and cat litter scattered across the carpet. 'A carpet in the kitchen when you've got cats, I ask you,' she said under her breath. But she turned away from the mess and followed Valentina into the living room.

Nana was sitting in her riser recliner chair, and was lowering it into position using the remote control as the woman came in and perched on the edge of the hard settee. Valentina moved to sit on the floor, but the woman hissed 'sit on the settee, don't sit on this floor, I've told you.' So Valentina sat next to her mother, a carbon copy of neatness and cleanliness in miniature, except for something about the eyes.

As Nana's chair reached its nadir, she reached over onto the tall coffee table beside her and found the remote for the television. She began to flick through the channels.

'So how've you been Mother?' The woman tried to ignore the blaring noise of a show about traffic police coming from the corner.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      I'm going to try that (putting it on the list of important things to do, right now). I think it will be interesting and useful, and may well help me to get that novel written by Christmas.


      (I don't know the Governor personally, so couldn't really say whether or not your description of him is fair - but I wonder whether he might be one of those unfortunately people whose voice hides a deeper ... something. Er ... deeper depths. Maybe not though.)

    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      Excellent! In the words of the Neanderthal (perhaps a tad unfair?...) Governor of California, "I'll be back."

      Meantime, as to writing full stories, have you ever tried the exercise where you write the resolve first; and then backtrack to set up the beginning and middle?

      Back when I was an ad copywriter, we'd often do that, esp where the product was established, with a brand / customer proposition. The challenge was (still is) to find new ways of telling a story in the ad that led comfortably to that existing strapline.

      Just for what it's worth...


    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Well, thank you so much. I very rarely go back and add extra lines to unfinished exercises, but then I've never published any of them before. Perhaps I will add the three words, since you asked. Yes, I think I will.

      You'll see that I'm not too bad at beginnings - it's middles and ends I struggle with. Actually, it's anything past the very beginning that I find impossible.


    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      This is great! Except for the abrupt end, (I know, no three words, no point in going on, you explained). But the story so far is very evocative and unforced and intriguing and how soon will you be loading the bit with the three words?