Writing Journal – Writing Without the Muse Exercise 1


This exercise is an exercise of the memory, very useful when working on biographies, especially autobiographies. The exercise is to take one person that has been important to me and answer several questions about them. I’m not going to rewrite the exercise word for word (too tedious and slightly illegal) but I’m sure you can figure out the questions from my wording. For the victim of my scrutiny, I have chosen a member of my church parish.

1. The first five characteristics that come to mind when I think of this person are, talented, humble, fun, negotiable, and a friend.

2. He is the choir director at my church and is very good at what he does. I remember reading a book a long time back about two young men who play flutes seperately and twice afterwards together. When after the second time of playing together one young man improved greatly he felt sure that he had lost the contest. He was shocked to find it otherwise. He had been told that while the other had greater talent, it had taken their playing together for the second man to learn from him and make him greater. This is what I see in our choir director. He is great and we the choir are mediocre, but his playing is what makes us so much greater. He will take our problems and change the music to make this come out better in the end. There are many that play by the book and expect you to conform. Perhaps that would be the better way, but we’re not there to sing perfect music, we’re there to sing to God. He understands that and is always willing to work with us to get us all there together. If there is anything that needs doing, he is always one of the first to volunteer. So many times he is the one that sets up the alter before mass. He lights the candles. He sets the numbers up for the congregation to use. He plans the music. There is so much he does and he complains and no one really notices either.

3. Despite the greatness of our age differences he has always been a friend to me. He’s encouraged me, worked with me, and helped me out numerous times. He’s the one I’ve turned to with questions, requests, and even a resume contact.

4. There is very little that I can say that I’ve missed in this relationship. If he were younger or closer to me perhaps we could do things together. But there is always the chance that we wouldn’t be such friends if that were the case. I can’t really think of anything I would like to change. He’s like the big brother that I never really knew I wanted while growing up. He’s teased me and joked with me, but he’s a lot like family and in my family there’s a lot of teasing and joking.

5. Any group of months before Christmas or Easter is a prime example of when he shows himself at his best. He’s patient with us as we practice. He is deligent in working with us to get things as close to perfect as we can. But the most amazing thing is that when the time actually comes about he usually spends all day in two, playing for several masses before driving an hour to go back home. And this is usually after have just gotten off of work.


Crazy Child Writing Exercise – Interview with a Character

I found this book at the library and the title just jumped out at me. I was actually looking for a different sort of book, but this one was in the same section. The title grabbed me and I couldn’t help but pick it up. After looking at the subject of the book, I went ahead and checked it out. After reading the first chapter, it’s definitely going on the Present List. 🙂 For anyone wanting to buy it for me, it’s called Let the Crazy Child Write by Clive Matson.

Okay, the actual exercise is to interview someone else and to take notes of anything that comes to mind, not necessarily what they actually say. I’m supposed to be working on Image Detail. So what if I changed the details of the assignment a bit. I may even use this scene in the actual story that the character has come from. It might make a good opening chapter. For the record though, I haven’t even written a shred of the story, it’s just a thought in the back of my mind and an outline in Word. That being said… Here we go.

Mary Anne shifted in her seat nervously. The interviewer from the newspaper had been there for nearly ten minutes already and had yet to ask a single question aside from where the interview was to be given. As the silence grew more oppressive she felt her attention wander away from the woman reading her notes before her and to the idyllic scene outside the large picture window. This side of her home overlooked a tranquil lake and she could just make out the sleepy village on the other side. She could almost picture her friends from town going about their daily business.

"He hem." The clearing of the throat snapped Mary Anne’s attention back to her immediate surroundings and saw that the woman had set her notes to the side with fresh paper in front of her. Mary Anne flushed and hastily muttered an apology. The interviewer merely offered her an aristocratic nod as she gave the teenager a long look over. It was obvious to Mary Anne that she was found lacking by the big city interviewer.

"How have your friends been taking the news?" Mary Anne’s flush darkened. It surprised her that the interviewer would jump in so quickly. For some reason she had pictured the strange woman taking a slow approach to her circumstances.

"I… They…" Mary Anne stopped and took a deep breath to steady herself. "It’s been difficult." Most of her friends had proven in the first few days that they were no where near as good friends as she had considered them to be. She had learned that there were only two or three that she had been able to lean on for support the last few weeks.

"They don’t believe you, do they?" The question stung more than Mary Anne cared to think about. She had always had plenty of friends. When so many had abandoned her after the news got out she didn’t know what to do anymore. There had been a moment she had even considered taking her own life, but she had quickly gotten rid of that thought. She couldn’t bare the thought of it anymore.

"Sometimes I’m not to sure I believe me. It does seem fairly impossible." The interviewer’s eyebrow rose a bit, wrinkling her nearly perfect skin in her surprise.

"Why don’t you believe what happened? Surely, you, of all people, would know the truth." Mary Anne frowned at the interviewer’s tone of voice. She hadn’t expected to be put on the spot like that. And she certainly didn’t care for the insinuation that she would lie to everyone. She got enough of that from school.

"I know what happened, or at least as much as the doctor could tell me. It just seems hard to wrap my mind around it. Why me, is what runs through my mind most of all." The interviewer frowned at the teenager. Her icy blue eyes forced Mary Anne to look away and back out the windows again.

"Why not you? I’m sure you thought about that when you started all of this nonsense." Mary Anne glared at the interview. She didn’t care that she was suppose to respect her elders, that was just plain rude.

"I didn’t start anything. I’m not even really dating anyone." That much she could guarantee everyone. She had sat down with her few remaining friends and tried to track down every minute of every day. She had almost hoped that she had been drugged, but they couldn’t figure out when she had been away from either themselves or family long enough for anything to have happened.

"What about…" The interviewer glanced over at her notes quickly. "Daniel Elridge. Rumor seems pretty strong that he’s awfully close to you."

"Danny doesn’t see me like that. He’s more of a protective big brother." Mary Anne’s eyes lit up as she thought of her best friend. "He was one of the first to defend me when the rumors started going around about me."

"Of course he would if he didn’t want to be known as the father." Mary Anne stood up in anger. That woman had no right! She glared hard at the woman, refusing for her icy gaze to force her back down. She wouldn’t dare let anyone harm her friends reputation, just because people didn’t believe her.

"Danny wouldn’t do that. If he had fathered a child he would certainly own up to it. He’s a good guy!" Mary Anne stalked over to the picture window to get away from the woman as much as she could, trying to bring herself back under control. Her mother had told her that she needed to remain calm for the whole interview. Seeing a speed boat with a family on board had her heart aching for her own mother to be with her.

“So you’re admitting that your child does have a father." Mary Anne spun around to glare at the woman, trying to scare off the triumphant look on the woman’s face.

"If there is a father, it’s no one I know. I haven’t been with anyone like that, I haven’t done anything like that. And I certainly don’t intend to now." The interviewer backed off for a bit and let the teenager get her breath. If there had been one thing that she had learned it was that in the silence she learned the most about her adversaries, even if they were just teenagers.

So what do you think? If you want more information about this bit, I’m setting her up for a whole misunderstanding of sorts. The story goes that she was targeted by a group of rogue scientists that specialize in genetic manipulation. They’ve discovered a new way to test their methods without being so intrusive. Poor Mary Anne, if that’s what her name really will be, is set up for a life of danger and adventure, the least of which is birthing a baby with a couple of men beside her in the middle of the woods with no medicine. Ouch. 🙂 I refuse to write that story until I’ve finished the one I’m one right now. We’ll see.

By the way, I’m attempting to write more and more as time goes on. We’ll see how well that works. 🙂 Cheers!