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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Writing Tip: Practice Different Writing Styles

I saw this exercise over at The Longstockings, and thought it would be interesting to try out. Of course I can't find the exact post now, but it was along the gist of experimenting with writing the first sentence of a story in different genres...which may lead to many more.

I'll make this a variation from the exercise I read about. How about if we write a few sentences from any point of the story. Beginning, middle or end. Your choice.

Let's try writing about this storyline:
Two sisters discover a secret passage in their aunt's house.

So here are the categories I chose:
Easy Reader
MG/YA Fantasy/Adventure
MG/YA Historical Fiction
Edgy YA
Poetry

Keep in mind, the lines don't have to be perfect. This is an exercise to see if you can find a voice out of your comfort zone. You may find you're intrigued by a different genre once you try this.

Historical Fiction is totally out of my comfort zone. So here's my try at it:
Lady Smythe smoothed out imaginary wrinkles from her crisp crinoline skirts. She walked over to the fireplace and ran her fingers along the edge of the mantel. Click. The fireplace groaned open to reveal a long hallway. Elizabeth gasped from her hiding place.

Here are the rules again: Write a few sentences from any point of the story. Beginning, middle or end. Your choice. The sentences don't have to be perfect. Mine certainly aren't. I'll post your creations and give away a paperback copy of Gail Carson Levine's book, Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly. Edited to add: I realized I forgot to put in a deadline. How about I'll make this a weekend wandering. Deadline will be Monday morning, October 22nd, 8am EST.

Anyone want to play?

8 comments:

Christine M said...

I'll play along. This should be fun.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to try this. But what if I want to carry this into a manuscript? I don't want anyone to take my idea.

HipWriterMama said...

Chris,
I'm glad. Can't wait to see which category you choose!

Anonymous,
Good point. Your entry is yours to do what you will. When I publish your sentences on Monday, you'll be credited for it. Does that work?

Sassy Lucy said...

Beneath the gnarly oak tree Christina and Tarabeth nestled as tightly as they could together. Once again their parents were arguing over everything and anything, and they could no longer take it, so they had sought shelter beneath the tree that had once held their childhood treehaven.
Elizabeth glanced towards the back of their old brick house, wishing they could go in. "Tarabeth," Elizabeth chattered, "do you see that small door over there?"
Tarabeth too noticed a glint of metal in the sun, she had never seen that before.
Slowly the girls crawled across the yard to the house. There, unbeknownst them before they found a silver finished door just waiting to be opened.


There you go, my YA/Edgy entry. Always wanted to be a writer but have never given it a whirl.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Here's my attempt at an Easy Reader (Level 3):

Kate and Moon-Pie found a dusty door. The door was behind the couch in Aunt Libby’s library. “I will have to crawl through the doorway,” Kate said. “You are short enough to walk through the door. Then I can see what is behind the door.”

“No,” Moon-Pie said. “I do not want to go.”

“We will have fun,” Kate said. “This is a secret passage. We will find gold. We will find shiny stones. We will find books with magic spells.”

“No,” Moon-Pie said. “We will find monsters. We will find meat-eating dinosaurs. We will find spiders.”

“Some spiders are nice,” Kate said. “Besides, we are prepared. I have a flashlight. You have silly putty. We are both brave. We will have the adventure of our lives.”

Anonymous said...

HWM, Thanks for the reassurance. Here is my entry. Becky C.

The sisters ran past the shaking trees then crept along the path, looking for the light that would show them back to the passage. It was getting dark, and the wildlife of the forest behind them were starting to get restless.

"Quick!" Mary said, pulling Rita through the bushes. "Let's rest here. Keep quiet and look around. Let's see if we can figure out where we are."

Christine M said...

I think I got carried away with my story - but here it is: MG/YA Fantasy/Adventure.

There couldn’t possibly be a more boring way to spend a beautiful fall day, Shelby thought to herself as she trudged up the basement stairs in her aunt’s house with yet one more box for Goodwill. Couldn’t her parents have chosen a rainy day to do this particular chore?

“Thanks, Shelby,” her mom said as she deposited the box in the driveway. “Can you help Kaylee in the cold room?”

Shelby shrugged. What was she supposed to say? No? Of course she would help her sister. When Shelby got to the cold room, Kaylee was surrounded by piles of linens.

“Oh – I’m glad you’re here. I don’t know if any of this stuff is considered good or not.” Kaylee said, and held up a finely embroidered handkerchief.

“That looks good. But who uses handkerchief’s anymore?” Shelby said and sat beside her younger sister.

“Of course it’s good.”

Both girls jumped at the unexpected voice behind them. Shelby, heart beating fast, turned slowly to see who could possibly be behind them, since the only door to the room was in front of them.

“I embroidered those myself.” It was a girl, not much older than Shelby, wearing very old fashioned long skirts.

“Who are you?” Shelby asked.

“Where did you come from?” Kaylee said at the same time.

“I’m Rita. I came from here – but sometime else. Want to come with me?” She beckoned with one finger, a slight smile on her face.

Anything was better than sorting out old handkerchiefs and napkins. Shelby and Kaylee nodded.

“Then follow me.”

And they followed her behind a shelf and back around – right back to where they had been. The room was the same room – but everything was different. There were herbs hanging from the ceiling and strings of onions, and there was a barrel of potatoes and a barrel of apples.

“Where are we?” Kaylee asked.

“Right where you were,” Rita answered.

“Then when are we,” Shelby asked.

Rita just grinned. “That is the question, isn’t it,” she answered.

m. thompson said...

I was trying to make this an Easy Reader, but didn't really succeed. It's leaning toward an adventure now. This was tougher than I thought!

Cree-aa-k! Ann and Hope jumped.

"What was that?" Hope said.

"I don't know," Ann said, "let's go check."

The sisters atarted to walk up the stairs to the attic. Ann noticed a glimmer of light near the top stair that floated towards them. She nudged Hope.

The light shimmered then faded in front of them. Hope put out her hands to try to catch the last of the light. Her right hand caught on something solid. She pulled on it and a door opened into the staircase.