Lesson 4: Share Your Writing

by Nancy

Share your 10-minute writing for Lesson 4, and read what other writers have done.


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Feb 12, 2011
by: Indiana

My first bargain was selling my mother’s lipstick to my older sister at her first date. It was then that I discovered the secret of success. It’s not about “what” it’s all about “whom”. Let’s take this antique country house we are in. Black wooden walls heavily prison you at the moment you enter. It smells of mouse and ghosts. Dusty daylight struggles through the wholes-looking windows into the rooms of this heave. Does not look inviting to you? Neither to me but I will sell this depressing widow property today. To tell you more I will sell it to this couple trying to make their way upstairs. Want a bet? No? Right answer. Betting with you would be like robbing a child. As you are smart enough not arguing with the real estate expert I will show you my secret.
At first you need to watch and listen to your customer. Look at this golden heir angel seeing the world through widely open olive eyes. Even her name is Angela. Light dreaming smile shapes her lips into shinny half moon. Her beautiful head does not stop turning round leaving her tiny body no chance but follow with elegance. Silk pink skirt is swinging around her slim legs. She is dancing through the darkness of the rooms miraculously avoiding sharp corners and shabby furniture.
- Honey, look at these wonderful stairs – singing she on her way upstairs paying no attention to the slippery wood screaming and shaking under her feet. – It will be a center of our house. Just imagine! We will place our Chinese vase here in the arch. Just opposite to the entrance door. You enter the house and see gorgeous flowers framed with the wooden stairs. It would be marvelous, would it be not Tom my love?
Tom follows her slowly moving his long legs. He keeps his silky head down thoughtfully watching every step. Going back from leaving room to the hall his shoulder eventually touching the doorway. He jumps away and starts cleaning the sleeve of his tweed black coat with the gloved hand. As he is just about to step up the stairs his foot hangs in the air for a few seconds and then coming back to the floor.
- Yes, my dear! Tell me how do you like it upstairs.
I am walking my way around Tom, winking at him, nodding my head with solidarity smile and rushing up. This is my moment of glory. I do have my few minutes with Angela. All she needs to finally make up her mind is a small talk to help her accomplishing the vision of this barn as “their home”. As I told you selling is all about “whom”. And in our case it is she. As disappointing as it might sound the purchase decisions are made by women and Angela is no exception. Convincing her grumpy husband would be her job. Success guaranteed!

Feb 08, 2011
by: Robin

Angela stepped out of the car inot the driveway.
"Oh my God! Isn't it wonderful?". She turned to Harry, who had stepped out of the car into a heap of chicken shit.
"Oh darling," she said. "Isn't this just what we've been looking for?"
Harry smiled. "It looks like it."
Angela bounded ahead of him, onto the porch and in through the space where a front door had once been.
Harry walked behind, weaving his way through the minefield of chicken shit and muddy puddles and not making a good job of it. As he stopped onto the porch, his foot went through one of the planks with a loud crack.
Angela reappeared in the doorway, a look of concern on her face.
"Darling? Are you all right?"
Harry yanked his foot out of the hole in the floor, tearing his sock on the jagged edge of the rotten wood. A couple of woodlice crawled off his shoe onto the floorboards. Harry scrunched them surreptitiously under his shoe.
"I'm fine", he said, walking through into the hall.
"Isn't this just a dream?" Angela said, throwing her arms around Harry's neck. "Our dream house."
Harry could smell her hair, close to his face. He watched over her shoulder as a rat scuttled across the hall into the kitchen.
"Sure, honey. Our dream house."

Jan 20, 2011
Learning to build [continued]
by: Linda

[... continued]

Harry waves off some agitated flies fighting him for the disturbance, but Angela only continues to glee in oblivion. The house was a storey building that had seen better days half a century ago. Its walls must have been yellow but have over the years been greened by amoeba, blackened by manure and coal, as well as browned by dust and dirt. There are too many cracks to count but they didn’t seem to threaten its foundation: the wall still looked like it could stand another fifty years; and that was the only ray in the whole gloom he was staring at.
Half of the whole roofing sheets must have been long lost after being blown away; the wood that held them have broken and rotted. What used to be the windows were just open square-holes children have jumped countless times over playing hide and seek; even armed robbers must have hidden out there a times. The building had been long abandoned, and given another day, government would discover it and flatten it for better use. “What in the world brought her this far and into this God-forsaken dumb-shed to choose for a home? What does she see in this to give her such child-like joy?”
Sighing satisfactorily, Angela turned to him in considerate stare. She knew from the start he wouldn’t like it, but that was Harry: he always preferred things ready-made. Life had dealt a heavy blow on him when he lost a well-paying job and the reputation he had built. He needed a change of environment to where no one knew him very well. They needed to manage the money he had saved by acquiring this house for good and not throw it all away as house rent within a year. He may never have expected his sudden fall, but he would have to learn to stand again by learning to build, so as to appreciate the effort that comes with such hard work and the joy of achieving the feat.
‘I know you don’t see what I see,’ she told him with a little smile written on her face as she stared into his puzzled face. ‘But by the time we finish cleaning up and renovating this house, it will be a home you’ll never forget having.’

Jan 20, 2011
Learning to build
by: Linda

Angela couldn’t wait for Harry to see it. Her eyes danced about in the car as she looked through the screens anxious to reach their destination and to show Harry the lovely place she had found. Though cheap, it would make a wonderful home for the family they plan to have.
Harry was anxious too, infected by her wife’s enthusiasm. If it makes her so happy it must really be as ‘great’ as she had described it. Although, he’s not as excited as she is as he looked from wife to the line of buildings scrolling away before them. The environment looked good, the buildings are nice, and if what she’s excited about is anything like these, then it’s really worth the whole pump; and surprisingly cheap too remembering the price she quoted to him. He too cannot wait.
Then the car veered into another road and all he could see were wilted bushes and dumps scroll away gently as the car slows down. Angela is looking more enthusiastic yet: ‘We’re almost there, honey! We’re almost there! You’re gonna love it!’
Perhaps, another metamorphosis would take place. Perhaps, the car would pass through an invisible glass and transport them to this cheap golden palace because all he could see ahead was a long bushy and filthy road. Looking at Angela, he frowns wondering what kind of surprise lays ahead. She looked back at him, bright white teeth spread out in childish grin and eyes glaring like what had beheld treasures desired to share with a most beloved. “This must really be extraordinary”, Harry thought.
Harry had suddenly grown tired of looking out through the side screen when the car bent to the right side and gradually halts and she screamed deafeningly, ‘there it is! There it is!’ She shook Harry and opened the door to step out without looking to see his reaction.
Harry was confused as he looked out from the corner the car had curved into. Surely, what his eyes were beholding could not be what his wife’s were elated about. He opened his side of the taxi for a better view but could not find any other building but one and the same as was when he checked from the car. But his wife was looking at the same building and embracing herself like she had arrived at a paradise. He paid their fare and gave way for the driver to turn around and go back on the second half of the same road they came in.
The ground they stood must have last been soft fresh lawn decades ago. Dog dung and like filth scatter about the ground and threshold. Over-used trash cans and domestic dumps play around with the help of slightly rough breeze, probably sharing Harry’s anger about the dishevelment and filth around. The dumps gradually built up to a heap at the right corner and flies gathered most there.

[to be continued ...]

Jan 14, 2011
by: Tarak Khanfir

Harry and Angela came to visit a house.
« It is really wonderful and fantastic. I really insist on buying it the soonest possible. » Angela said excitedly
« Well it is very big. I hope I can afford its price. » Harry replied hesitating
« Don’t worry about the money. You can take a loan even on 20 years paying back. » Angela said supplying
« The disaster will be in winter. It will be very cold. Humidity will slash the walls. In addition, we risk so much to have rhumatism. » Harry said in his usual hesitation
« Hey dear ! If we close the windows very well and make climatisation, we will avoid all these problems. » Angela said in her usual supplying
« Don’t forget that this avenue has a very bad reputation. We risk so much to be attacked and agressed in the street. We even risk to be burgled and rubbered. I worry so much about our little daughters. » Harry said nervously
« Tell me at last that you refuse to the house. You are bad. I am going away. Never think of looking for me ! » Angela answered in extreme fury.

Jan 08, 2011
Angela and Harry
by: Flo

On a May Saturday morning, Angela stopped the car opposite the old Victorian house. It was the last of a terrace, as the hill descended to the valley of the old mining village, Frimelton, with its small windy roads and cottages.
‘Takes me back, ’ Harry mused with tender awe. A reticent Angela saw their free and abandoned younger selves cycling down to the river. ‘Do you think you will meet anyone you know, then, Harry?’ she said coyly. Such suggestion hurt, but he repelled the inference by lightening up. ‘Ay, there’s a good many folk tucked away here,’ in his whispery voice, quickly making his way to the house. She arrived at the threshold, and he joked again. ‘My ex-wife says you’ll like it here .... and allow me to ....’ he picked her up, positioning a laughing Angela inside the hall.
Harry confirmed the virtues of his aunt’s house, sold to him for a song. ‘Jessie’s parents lived here at the beginning of the century, her father was a doctor. ‘ Angela was not surprised that she hadn’t known this.
The hall revealed four small square rooms, but Angela lead the way upstairs. In the bedroom, she looked at the distant hills through small windows , but Harry knew the lie of the land. An inner curiosity scanned her imagined social panorama extending further than this ‘charming little house’. Nonetheless, it calmed her impulse. ‘ Let’s take it, Harry,’ she said winsomely, as he stooped guiltily to leave the room. ‘This room for me, a perfect study ’, as she now clasped Harry’s shoulders as they went down the stairs.
In the garden-facing room, waist-high overgrown weeds, they sat at a remaining table, the pretend married couple. But ten years of being the third partner to the marriage, Angela saw a current industry in their relocation. Harry dreamed of his motorbike leaning against the shed, poised to discover the outerlying regions. Angela secretly thought of her job as marketing manager of the regional architectural company, her own cottage seen on the way here, the ‘for sale’ sign, its floral porch and small hedge - shading, welcoming a generative intimacy from the cobbled road.
Angela’s phone bleeped, a message from her daughter, ‘table tennis club in Frimelton, get ‘em to play uni club!’. She smiled, having driven from the old village hall, its canteen facilities of beverages, stacked chairs, activities for all ages. Suddenly, she needed to look at that cottage. Meanwhile, Harry was in the potential kitchen, calling friends in Tainsworth where he would teach GCSE Science. Angela made the way to the car, ‘I’ll take you there first, I’ve got errands to do.’
As they went off towards Tainsworth, Angela wisely knew of his relief at her plans. So she saw herself in the cottage occasionally looking up at Harry’s house on the hill, expecting him to come and visit, jealously waiting when he wouldn’t.

Jan 07, 2011
Lesson 4 cornflake
by: J Eve

Cornflake Part 1

Crossing the country side was exciting for Diego, every year there was always something new to see, buildings, people, and landscapes. “Look granmama, the clouds look like angels flying around.” Diego said with the look of amazement. Granmama smiled “Diego you see way more than other people do, sometimes I wonder where you mind is at. That man must have scared you at the gas station?” Diego replied “He hurt my feelings made me feel bad, like the kids back home. It’s in the eyes granmama they burn right through you.” Diego said with a sigh. “There will always be people like that, but remember they must not like themselves very much, to hate so much.” Granpapa said to Diego.

The elevation began to change and Diego felt as if a downward motion was upon them. “Look granpapa the signs says route 16 ahead, alright time to get on the bigger road and we can move faster right granpapa?” “Yes Diego, not so bumpy and rough. Maybe the ones in the back will quit complaining so much eeh.” Granmama rolling her eyes and laughing said, “Diego what does complaining do anyway? Nothing going to change, you hear them all the time complain about the weather, the hard work, people in their family, anything you can think about they complain.” Diego pondering the conversation said, “Why don’t you ever complain granpapa?” “Were are happy with who were are, what we are. We can’t change the weather, work is always going to be hard, and god knows you can’t change family.” They all began to laugh loudly, as granmama hugged Diego with her right arm.

Darkness was almost upon them as the turn for route 16 was at hand. “Which way do we go Diego, right or left?” granpapa eyeing the road. Diego staring at the road trying to decide if it is East or West, the farmers were talking about during East opposite of the setting sun, he remembered over hearing them. “Granpapa you turn to the left,” as Diego point confidently. Traveling on the road was so much different, the breeze was stronger as it whipped into the cab of the truck, the people in the back settled down more relaxed.

A huge sign read GAS, FOOD, LODGING, ahead. As they got closer the place was all lit up, many gas pumps, a large store and a motel. “Wow this place is big, and look, all kinds of people.” Diego remarked.

Jan 07, 2011
Lesson 4 Cornflake
by: J. Eve

Cornflake Part 2

The truck pulled into stall number 21, people in the back began to jump out of the back of the large truck, moving towards the restroom area. “Diego I will go with you this time.”Granmama Luz said. Diego began looking for the cans sign, but did not see one.

“I think things will be fine hear granmama” Diego said smiling from ear to ear. So many people every where the lines at the check out were long, and people were complaining. “What’s the hold up”, a beautiful lady in a striped outfit exclaimed. “Come on people this is taking too long! The man with a beard and long hair said loudly. Diego stepped out of line to get a glimpse of what was going on. An older lady was in a heated argument with the cashier about what he did not know. A voice came over the loud speaker “shopper’s please move to the next cashier. The line started to move faster, people moving out quicker. Now Diego was in range to over hear the conversation. Granmama asked Diego what the fuss was about. “They are mad at each other because of the price of coffee.” Diego said to granmama. The young cashier was telling the woman that he didn’t care what it says on the can the price is marked wrong.

The older woman kept repeating that’s not fair. Diego and granmama became concerned at the way the cashier was speaking to the woman, his voice was loud, threatening, pushing his finger in her chest over the counter. “Diego I’m really mad with this cashier he is doing wrong, the lady doesn’t deserve this, she is a customer.” The other people started to make remarks to the cashier. “If you don’t like it leave, there ain’t nothing for another 50 miles.” The cashier boldly said. Diego noticed that look in granmama eyes the avenging angel was coming out of her. He had seen it many times before, she always stands up for what’s right, and to anybody.

Jan 07, 2011
Lesson 4 cornflake
by: J. Eve

Cornflake Part 3

“Diego go find the manager right now!” granmama voice was commanding, while she pushed me to get started. Diego walking through the store in search of the office, “there it is” as he remarked to himself. Diego knocked on the door out came an older man with graying hair. “What can I help you with sonny?” sir there is a problem with the cashier, he is being mean to a older lady. “What not again, oh this kid’s attitude has gone too far.” As they got closer a crowd had gathered around granmama and the woman. I could hear granmama Luz’s shouting to the cashier with her broken English. “Jew wronga, jew wronga the manager he coming, and I’m putting a cornflake on jew”.

The name tag on the manager read T. Horawitz, as he broke into the crowd all he could hear was jew. “Look lady we don’t take kindly to name calling around here.” Mr. Horawitz said. Granmama did not have a clue to what he meant.” Sir sir my grandmother does not speak English well.” Diego standing to defend Luz. “She is saying she wants to put a complaint against the cashier.” The crowd was chanting fire him, get him out of here, what a jerk as granmama kept shouting cornflake, cornflake.” As the explanations began, soon the cashier was ordered to go to the office, the lady got her coffee free of charge.

Walking back to the truck after buying the items the people were complaining, “what took so long” granpapa scratching his head with a stern look on his face. “What happened now.” As we drove off I began to tell the story to granpapa Victor. “oh by the way granmama it’s a complain not a cornflake.”

Dec 28, 2010
The House on Harvest Lane
by: Brande

This is what I came up with, hope that it is correct.

“Harry the address is 1123 Harvest Lane, should be in the next block. No, wait here it is. Oh Harry, it’s adorable. Just look.”
Harry pulled up in front and parked the car. Angela climbed out, opened the front gate and hurried up the walk, leaving Harry standing at the car.
“Harry its marvelous, just marvelous. I can do so much with it. “ Angela knelled down, over the small garden, back turned and exclaimed “Harry, look my favorite flowers.”
Harry slowly approached the front yard, shaking his head as he moved closer to the house. He felt as though he was going to have a massive headache or that his head would soon explode.
“Yes, Angela, the flowers are beautiful, however are you really sure that you want this house? Besides, it’s an hour’s drive to town, and both you and I would have to leave extra early to get to work. “
“I don’t care if we have to leave earlier, I want this house.”
“But look at all the work it needs. You’ll end up breaking those beautiful manicured nails. You don’t want to do that do you:” Harry, then pulled at his collar, it felt as though a noose had been placed about his neck, and that the noose was getting tighter.
“Harry, I think that the house is worth a couple of broken nails, they’ll grow back.”
Harry walked back to the gate post, and leaned against it, staring up towards the roof. His fingers began to drum on top of the post.
“Harry, between you and me, we could have this house fixed up in a jiffy, or perhaps we could hire contractors and have the work finished much earlier.”
“Dear, if we bought this house, we would not have the money to hire contractors.”
“Well Harry, we’ll just have to do the work ourselves”
Harry glanced at the roof and thought to himself “By time I get done with the repairs, I’ll probably be an old man of eighty, and suffering from senility. I won’t remember my own wife, nor will I remember this damn house. I’ll probably be in a nursing home or pushing up daisies.

Dec 21, 2010
Let us buy it
by: umapathy

kamal and nasin got out of their car in anxiety, kamal had performed well in office in recent time, and got a bonus, along with a loan and the bonus, he opted to buy his dream house, he wanted a bungalow with a swimming pool, a large lawn, and a garden with few trees, beside the house. His wife always wanted luxurious home, a modern kitchen, and a well furnished house.

Both got out of the car in anxiety, while nasin wanted to go into the home directly, kamal wanted to see the swimming pool at the right side of the building first, "Let us go to the swimming pool" he said. Not listening to him, she got the key from the security and entered inside with excitement. Both were visiting many houses in recent times and were not satisfying to both of them. Once she saw the living room, she was astonished. "Wow.." She said in excitement. She was so eager to see the kitchen and bedroom, she called on kamal "come on.. come on.. Quick", and she pulled him to the modern kitchen. In free time, kamal always dreamt of sitting near the trees and lawn, have a drink and often taking a dip in the pool. He was not sure how those looks, he wanted to go to the right side of the house. She quickly pulled him to the modern kitchen, which she was content with it. When they walked back to the bedroom to have a look, kamal opened the window at the right side of the building, to see swimming pool is small and there is no lawn or trees. But then nasin was so excited, he pulled him with love and care to the bedroom, when she saw the big bedroom, beautifully crafted paintings around, and beautiful bed, she was jumping in joy. She said "Let's buy it"

Oct 26, 2010
love to write
by: Anonymous

i like to write storys becky murphree
love to write

Oct 17, 2010
Keep going
by: Molly

Some of you are way too hard on your.selves I have read some decent things from everyone. I sometimes don't stay in line with the lesson for the week but go off into my imagination. If anyone sees that in mt writing, please let know.

Oct 16, 2010
The lawn mower
by: Molly

The lawn mower is Roger. His wife is much older than him. I will call her Jeannie. She's not the nicest person. I think she's got a mark between her eyebrows from frowning. He mows lawns for a living. He starts early in the am Wed-Fri and bugs people who aren't early risers. Like myself)

The other thing that is annoying is the fact that its hard to be outside on the back deck and have peace and quiet. The other day, I saw Jeannie come out and make that frown of hers and go back in the house with a very loud slam of the screen door.

The end

Oct 01, 2010
the hood
by: christel

The estate agent had been right, the house was hard to miss, Harry thought. In fact the undiluted candy pink of the front facade actually hurt his eyes. He parked his car next in the space available behind a white polo which seemed to vibrate on the corner with the bass of its sound system on at full blast. Next to him Angela shouted, “That pink is really cute- its like a doll's house!” Alarmed Harry remembered what a fan she was primary colours. He had been thankful the side of the house was a more robust green. It wouldn't stand a chance if she applied her brush to it.
Harry took out the key the estate agent had given him and said, “Shall we have a quick look, I have to be back at the office in an hour?”
Once they had exited the car Harry noticed there was a group of rough teenagers in sporty threads and hoodies slouched on the veranda on the house across from them. They're contrived slouched body language bothered him in a way he couldn't articulate. It reminded him of lions relaxing on the savannah after a big lunch. Angela noticed them too and waved. Her greeting was not returned. Likewise the owner of the car stereo eyed them under hid cap without civility from his rear mirror. Harry reached unconsciously into his pocket and gripped his mace can and seamlessly unlocked the front door with his free hand and pushed Angela inside.
“Oi, chill!! What's the rush??” Angela said as the door slammed behind her, “I wanted to ask those guys what the neighbourhood is like?”
His eyes widened in disbelief. Ever since he'd been mugged a year ago he'd been on edge with regards to personal safety. Angela would just call him paranoid and tell him about setting positive intentions or some-such so he said, “Lets take a quick look, Mike will notice if I'm not back at my desk after lunch”
Harry needn't have bothered with a come-back, Angela was already down though the entrance hall and in the living area looking around with apparent delight.
“Its so spacious! I love this en-suite kitchen.”
Harry made a bee-line to the curtains and glanced out to check on his car. As he suspected three local hoodlums were hovering about it with casual interest. The eldest kid, in black threads with bold sports logos saw him looking and grinned back nonchalantly while the youngest perched himself happily on his car bonnet. Behind him, Angela was extolling the virtues of the artily painted floor and high ceilings.
Harry noted carefully, without emphasis, “Sure, this lime green looks like it was touched up just yesterday.”
“And there's enough room for both of us to have our own work area. Its five minutes from your offices so you won't have to sit in traffic for an hour every morning. What do you think?” Angela was looking at him expectantly.

Aug 22, 2010
@ Angelo
by: N Kotkin

Don't be so hard on yourself. The fact that you are perservering in the course and completing the exercises tells me you are likely to ultimatesly succeed. Writing is like anything else in life - the more you practice, the better you will get at it.

I agree with Nancy - the strength in your writing is your characterization. That part seems to come naturally to you, especially with male characters. I noticed it with Harry and with your homeless guy David too.

Like you, I am better at characterization and dialogue, but I have been working very hard lately to improve my description and "showing" techniques. It does make the writing more interesting, and will expand your potential audience. Also, I read recently that agents and editors look for "showing versus telling" to set apart professionals from the amateurs. So I think it's a skill worth working at acquiring. And I think most writers do have to really work at it to get the hang of it.

You started some description of the property with the braced fence, but didn't continue to include details. When you have time, why not try the exercise again? This time don't worry about the time limit or word count - just include every detail about the house you can think of, knowing you can always remove some of them later.


P.S. You may already know this, but you need to start a new paragraph every time you change speakers.

Aug 19, 2010
Martha's Lesson 4
by: N Kotkin

Good details. I especially like the mortar, the fire escape, the Saab, and the Wild Rose bottle.

Excellent description of the elevator.

I really like when Harry is stuck in the car, and when he calculates the utility bills.

In this phrase - "gazing at the exposed exterior brick walls" - I would remove the word "exterior" since they are now inside the place. By the way, exposed brick is not considered a negative inside urban loft space; to the contrary, it adds thousands of dollars of value. People pay to remove the drywall that covers up the brick.

Typically, interior thoughts are not placed in quotes. More commonly, they are italicized (though I don't think you can do that in these posts since HTML is not allowed).

Very good job on this assignment!

Aug 16, 2010
by: Martha

I agree with Nancy about Harry's looking away while agreeing to buy; I think everybody has been in a situation at least once where you get roped into doing something distasteful for the sake of compromise. You captured that mood well in your ending. I think you did a great job contrasting the 'show' versus the 'tell'; they blend well in the story you told...


Aug 16, 2010
@ N Kotkin
by: Martha

I love your ending: your twist showcased a great technique to write a humorous ending to the finality of getting out of a distasteful task. Think I will be adding your technique to my growing bag of tricks...

Aug 16, 2010
Lesson 4 problems (?) noted with my submission
by: Martha

I started and killed multiple writing attempts on this lesson and this has never happened to me before...
I think my problem stemmed from reading Gail's exercise before I got the assignment and her well-written scenario kept popping into my head whenever I would start typing. Finally decided to write scene based on downtown urban loft space for sale (a housing style which I know zero about, LOL).
Don't know if this was a form of writer's block or just being overly paranoid of potential plagiarism issues...

Aug 16, 2010
Lesson 4 - Househunting Debacle (Part 2)
by: Martha

Picking up from the service elevator exit point...

Grabbing the broken strap, Angela opened the cage, releasing them to the freedom of another dingy hall. Their real-estate agent Joyce waved at them with a cheerful greeting, "There you are, I was beginning to get worried. Allow me to present a diamond in the rough…"
She pushed open a thick metal door which screeched and skittered along the floor.
The loft was one large room, devoid of drywall. The old lumber ceiling joists were completely exposed with wires strung in all directions. Harry thought to himself, "It's as if a drunk had attempted a new mode of décor for a bad party layout and quit halfway through the project. "
Angela, gazing at the exposed exterior brick walls, declared, "Harry this will really showcase your modern wall art. Check out these I-Beam support posts, what a nice contrast. Yes, indeed, this is urban living at its finest!"
Harry glumly looked for the non-existent bathroom, kitchen, and furnace, and then mentally started calculating winter utility bills for the decrepit space.

Aug 16, 2010
Lesson 4 - Househunting Debacle (Part 1)
by: Martha

Cuttting and Pasting this into 2 posts due to 3000 character limit -- Apologies

Angela scanned the building doors for the address while Harry navigated their Saab along the narrow downtown streets.
"I hate one-way streets", Harry grumbled to himself.
Just then, Angela barked out, "Here it is, Harry; pull over to the curb!"
Harry jerked the wheel and shot across two lanes in a frantic effort to claim the only open parking space. He thought to himself, "Great, Angela will have dings and dents all the way around in no time on my baby with this fine choice..." Angela scrambled out of the car immediately while Harry was pinned in by an endless stream of cars skimming his side in the driver's side mirror.
"Joyce was right; just look at the building's architecture, and so much character on the exterior!" Angela chortled.
Harry gazed upwards at the side of the building, wearing his poker face to disguise his mental anguish. The Civil War-era warehouse had arched windows covered by blackened plywood on the four upper floors. The faded brick was mottled with decades of industrial smog buildup which had eaten away at the mortar while the twisted and broken fire escape clung forlornly to the side. The sidewalk was littered with trash including the remnants of a homeless person's crude sign, pile of cigarette butts, and empty Wild Rose bottle.
Angela interrupted his thoughts with a gleeful observation, "Check this front door out, I love this chic urban look. We can go on in and up to the loft. By the way, she said we could have our pick, there are units available on every floor and if we select the penthouse, we'll have easy access to the rooftop. See, Harry, good things DO happen when you get in on the start of a downtown rehab project ".
The two entered the building. No front lobby space or doorman greeted them; instead a row of rusty mailboxes adorned the left wall of a narrow dingy dark hall which opened into a service elevator. The two stepped in and Harry gingerly pulled the wire door down. He stood in the center of the enclosure trying not to focus on the layers of oil and grime while Angela punched the blackened 3rd floor button. The elevator lurched and started creeping upwards under protest. After a long minute, it stopped and suddenly dropped to signal their arrival, causing Harry's stomach to flip-flop.

Aug 08, 2010
Thank you for comments
by: Angelo

Dear Nancy,
Thank you for your comments, I really thought I didn't do so well.
I must say N. Kotkin and Gail have very good scenes well done Girls (Ladies if offence is taken). I must say I am learning a good deal.

Aug 07, 2010
@ Angelo

I like the way you hint at the differences in your characters' attitudes by contrasting the way they move -- Angela jams on the brakes, pops out of the car, and runs on ahead, while Harry follows slowly behind, examining details with a critical eye.

A nice touch, at the end, to have Harry look away from his wife as he agrees to buy the house.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Aug 07, 2010
@ N. Kotkin

Poor David!

Some great details here -- the falling plaster, purple stains in the fridge, the strange smell in the back yard...

Thanks for sharing this.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Aug 07, 2010
Lesson 4 - show and tell
by: Angelo

Angela and Harry were in the car, she picked Harry up from his work and they were meeting the real estate agent at a house that was for sale. She slowed down checking each house number looking for number 51. She was excited at the prospect of finally moving from their current home, “I think this time we have found our home,” she said enthusiastically, “we’ve been looking for this house for a long time, haven’t we dear?”
“Yeah but let’s not be too hasty and make sure it is exactly what we want before we commit to anything.” He said half-heartedly. She looked at him disheartened by his reply, “I thought you were excited as I was to see the house?”
“I am but I don’t want to get my hopes up. You know just in case.” He replied looking for the house number.
She jammed on the brakes, “there it is!” she turned the car and drove into the driveway, “oh I expected a little more garden didn’t you?” She said despondently. The house was sheltered by a row of Juniper sempervirens straight and tall, which sheltered the house from all sides from the cold winter winds.
She was the first one out of the car. Harry slowly got out of the car walking around to the side and looked over the fence, which was just standing being propped up by wooden braces from the other side.
Just then another car pulled into the driveway. Jenny, the real estate agent, skipped and ran towards them, “Angela, Harry, it’s lovely to see you are on time. Come inside, you’re going to love this place,” she said unlocking the front door, waiting for Angela and Harry to go in. Angela walked in first, Harry held back letting her go ahead with Jenny. Angela was talking non stop as they went through the house room by room. Harry followed more slowly taking extra time looking at the walls and floors more closely, shaking his head as he walked through each room. At last they came out, Harry the first to stand by their car. Angela was listening to Jenny but felt Harry non-engaging and distant.
“Well what do you think?” She asked Harry while Jenny was taking a call on her mobile. “You do like it, don’t you? I think it is exactly what we’ve been looking for all these years.”
“Yes darling if you like it, then let’s buy it.” He said.
“You haven’t said you like it. We shouldn’t buy it if you don’t like it.”
“Do you like?” He asked, “Yes I love it,” she replied, “then we buy it,” he said looking away and headed for the car.

Aug 06, 2010
Gail's Lesson 4
by: N Kotkin


Good level of detail. I love the visible clumps of animal hair after the owner says, "Mind the cat."

You did very well using the senses of touch (Angela rubbing something off her fingers) and sound (the door creaking) as well as sight.

I also struggle with showing vs. telling in my writing, but I find that doing exercises such as these is really helping me get the hang of it.

Aug 06, 2010
Lesson 4 (Post 2 of 2)
by: N Kotkin


“Let’s see the backyard,” Sheila calls excitedly.

David has difficulty getting the back door to open because it hangs so crooked on its hinges. As he is putting his back into the effort, Sheila remarks, “All houses settle.”

When David finally wrenches open the slanting door, he pulls Sheila back from the crumbling concrete porch steps. “Watch out!”

The yard, without a single blade of grass or bloom, is full of mud. “Think of all the flowers we could grow out there. I’ve always wanted to plan a garden,” Sheila muses.

The scent of dirt mixed with something fermenting is overwhelming, so David pulls Sheila back inside and attempts to shut the door but, now that he has forced it open, it won’t fit back into its frame. Deciding to leave it, David steers Sheila toward the front door. “We’ve got several more to see today.”

“Oh, but we haven’t even been upstairs,” admonishes Sheila. “Isn’t it just darling?” Her eyes have a faraway look clouding over the blue irises.

David looks skeptically at the steep, crooked staircase leading to the upper floor. Calculating the strength left in those rotted second-story floorboards, he thinks it most unwise to tempt fate. “Perhaps we could come back to this one after we’ve seen some of the others. Then we’ll have something to compare it to,” he suggests tactfully.

“Don’t be silly, we’re already here. Let’s see the rest of it before we leave. I’m not so sure we even need to see all those others.”

“I’ll go first,” David valiantly offers. The wood underneath the threadbare carpet creaks and grumbles ominously with each step he takes. Halfway up the flight, David suddenly sinks through the staircase up to his waist.

In the ambulance, with his broken leg strapped to a board, David smiles. No more house hunting for at least two months.

Aug 06, 2010
Lesson 4 (Post 1 of 2)
by: N Kotkin


Their Realtor nods towards the house, indicating they should go in, as he stands outside on the sidewalk dialing his Blackberry.

Sheila bounds through the door exuberantly. David enters the house reluctantly, and only because his desire to follow his new bride wherever she takes him outweighs his trepidation. The rotted floorboards groan piteously underneath David’s shiny black oxfords.

“Ooh, look David. We can eat at the kitchen counter while watching television in the living room.” As Sheila peeks her head through the cut-out between the kitchen and the living room, she is showered with plaster.

“Are you alright?” David asks nervously.

Shaking her head, she replies, “Of course I am. Just needs a coat of paint. We could do that ourselves.”

Wearily, David eyes the deep fissures above the kitchen look-through that reach all the way up to the living room ceiling and then snake across it. Inside the kitchen, David opens the refrigerator to discover that it is liberally stained with some strange purple color that has been there so long, it has clearly become a permanent part of the appliance. The stove is coated with so many layers of grime, David isn’t sure if the original color was white, black, or something else entirely. When he opens the dishwasher, he frowns at the rubber bands that seem to criss-cross each other, holding both the top and bottom baskets together. When someone turns it on and it begins to vibrate, the bands will pop, breaking the unfortunate dishes the foolishly trusting soul laid in there. After he flicks the trash compactor knob to ‘On’, silence ensues until David rustles the Disclosure Forms in his hand. Under kitchen, everything is checked off as ‘operational’ and ‘excellent condition’.

Aug 04, 2010
@Martha @Nancy
by: Gail

Thank you!
I've struggled with the concept of show vs tell, to be honest. If this little piece means that I'm starting to get it right, then I'm more than happy :)

Aug 03, 2010
@ Gail
by: Martha

I like your scene details and character development. It is easy to imagine her enthusasm and contrast it with Harry's pessimism and negativity.

Aug 03, 2010
@ Gail

That house sounds pretty seedy! I love the moment where the owner flicks his cigarette at Harry, adding insult to injury.

Thanks for sharing this.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Aug 01, 2010
Lesson 4 - Show, not tell
by: Gail

Harry parked the car outside the tall red-bricked house, slowly engaging the handbrake with a heavy sigh. Angela had already undone her seatbelt and opened her door, grabbing her bag as she stepped onto the empty road. Glancing balefully at the house to his right, he then watched his wife as she crossed in front of the car and practically skipped across the pavement to the low wrought iron gate. Her hand on the latch, Angela turned back to face him.

"It looks even better than in the photo!" She said, grinning excitedly. "Hurry up!"

She was half-way up the long narrow path by the time Harry had unwound his long frame from the car, and he noted the flash of impatience that crossed her features as she turned to watch him ambling towards her.

Angela had not commented on the gate's rusty hinges, or on the weeds sprouting between the broken bricks of the path, but Harry saw her surrepticiously rub something from her fingers after she'd rapped on the mottled door knocker. He grimaced, but said nothing.

"Love this door," Angela breathed. "It'll look marvellous with some fresh paint and a new brass letterbox and knocker, don't you think?"

Harry's response was curtailed by the creaking of the door as it opened to reveal the home owner, a short elderly man dressed in baggy trousers and a loose-fitting hand-knitted cardigan.

"Morning," he said wheezily, after Angela had told him their names. He took the sliver of hand-rolled cigarette from his mouth and flicked it out onto the path, narrowly missing Harry's shoulder. "Come in. Mind the cat."

"Look at these tiles!" Angela trilled as they stepped into the gloomy hall.

Harry obediently surveyed the ornate, geometric patterns of the quarry tiled flooring that stretched from the front door into the belly of the house. He wondered if Angela had noticed the ingrained grime on the tiles, or the clumps of animal hair in the corners. Shuddering, he followed silently as the old man led them into the lounge.

Jul 25, 2010
NAT at new enterprises. You inspired me.
by: Joseph F.Mazzaferro

After reading your writing I wrote this something I threw together between last night and this morning. Its old school grant you Nick and Nora Charles or Sam Spade, type detective story. JFM


Its hard to walk in a straight line after indulging in Volka and orange juice all night long.


A bit tipsy I'd be . Screwdrivers have been the key to my weight control puking my brains out on a regular basis.


I spent more time on the ground at the bar then in my office.


Even my secretary Thelma's given up on me kicking the juicing habit a long time ago.


She would stop by the bar to pick me up, force feeding me several cups of black coffee to sober me up.


With my blood shot eyes at the office, on the door my blurry vision, I'd Read Nick Murdock Private eye.


Thelma sitting at her desk with the stack of un-paid bills.


Thelma warned me, Nick screwdrivers and prezel's is not a meal. It well kill you one of these days.


I would sit at my desk with that stupid smork on my face, I knew she was right.


Once more Thelma would hock her jewels to pull my bacon out of the fire.


I would get lucky and a client would walk in off the street.

(I started writing this project last night)

Jul 25, 2010
amoung good company
by: Joseph F.Mazzaferro

After reading other authors works, I realize I am amoung excellent company from Liad's, the longest walk home.

Then by NAT at new enterprises.

Who offers up an excellent introduction of his characters and his plot. I especially like the touch's. tag, you?re it. The drama of the spot
of blood on his shirt.

(Nat I do read others writers stories)

The mystery market that I intend to brake out in is EQME Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, I am a regular subscriber. Good Luck NAT and LIAD'S

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