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June is June-y. Working on 'Show Don't Tell'

I'm currently completing two assignments, trying to catch up on my reading challenge whilst working a full time job and haven't had much of a chance to write too much else, but here's a few activities I have been doing over the last week.

The first is a letter of advice to a child. Whilst I tried to keep the letter as broad in subject as I could, I found myself reeling towards the idea that 'Sarah' may have been a young campaigner of sorts.

Sarah. If I’m being honest with you, there is no right or wrong way to do anything – as long as it gets done. Tying your shoes for instance. Most parents teach us to do the loopty loop and create a nice little bow, but is there really any need for the fancy loops? I mean, who’s going to be looking at your feet? Then there’s like all these fashionable ways of tying your laces. I’m not even kidding. When I went to school there were kids twisting them, triple-knotting. At one point there was a massive phase where rock bands would bring out packs of merchandise with their names printed on shoelaces. Weird, huh? That’s when people would flatten their laces to their shoes and tuck the ends in their socks. Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent, but what I’m trying to say is, if you really feel like you’re ready to do this, do it in your own way. Don’t just follow the rules because you think that’s what will get people’s attention. If you have to upset people, anger people or damage someone’s reputation in order to get your voice heard, then do it. Some people will follow your lead, some won’t, but at least you know you’ll be doing what you know is right. I believe in you, little one.

Show Don’t Tell Exercise

This next exercise was to expand on simple sentences and use description instead of writing objectively or passively - which I seem to have a habit of. I learnt from this activity that instead of just writing as if I were directing a story, I should take my time to craft the story as if I were seeing it in front of me.

He felt tired

- He yawned and pressed his palms against his eyes, shaking his head clear of fog.

She loved him

- She placed her hand on his head, stroking his hair back as he fell asleep.

They loathed one another

- They had been seated beside each other, and the tension in the air made the rest of their classmates nervous.

The children were bored

- One of the kids had curled into a ball in the rug and fell asleep. The other was sitting on the sofa, picking at the seams of the cushions and throwing tendrils of cotton at his sleeping sister.

Grandmother came home drunk

- Grandma walked in, the tips of her nose red. There was also a patchy redness spread over her cheekbones and across her forehead. She swayed as she closed the door behind her. It took her three attempts to get the key into the lock and when she finally did it, she sighed and dropped her coat, bag and hat to the floor.

In this activity, we were given the following prompt:

They were all together in one room and she felt tired and claustrophobic.

I found this easy to write as there have been many many times that I have been stuck in a room with a little too many people. That's the beauty of having anxiety - you're able to perfectly describe an uncomfortable situation because you have experienced it one too many times.

She had been there hours. And with each new person that entered, the room became hotter. It seemed that patients were turning up, but none were leaving. She pulled her mask up closer to her face, double looping the elastic around her ears. The room was becoming smaller, the airflow stagnated. She swore she could see droplets in the air, smell the sweat coming from the others’ clothes. There was a lady wearing a turtleneck and round hipster glasses opposite her, and Cherry could feel the tight woollen clothing around her own neck, felt the arch of the glasses weighing down in between her eyes. She yawned, and felt her own hot breath climb up and out of her mask and into the room around her.

This next extract is an example of writing controversy - a guilty pleasure of mine. Sorry if that's a little sadistic but I love it. We were asked to write from the perspective of the older brother of a protagonist who assumes that her brother is doing drugs after he shows up to breakfast for several morning tired and distant. The thing was, I wanted to go a little further with the secret he was holding as there are just so many stories about the effects of drugs already.

Okay, so this is a little dark but oh well.

Simon’s Diary

I’m pretty sure that Baby knows what’s going on. It’s a little embarrassing, actually. Every morning, she glares at me over the breakfast table like I’m filth. Like I’m the black sheep. She’s only a kid though. She’ll understand when she’s older.

Telling Mum and Dad would kill them – I’m sure of it. Dad would probably kick me out. Or even worse, Mum might try to keep me inside forever. Then I’d have to break up with Eva. And I can’t do that. We’re in this together.

Then again, maybe they’d see it as a good thing. Maybe they’ll see a baby as a gift. Maybe they’d look past the age difference and decide to adopt Eva and the baby into the family.

It’d be a lot easier looking after them both here than sneaking out every night, afraid that someone is going to catch us together.

I hope Baby doesn’t really know. Eva promised she hadn’t told any of her classmates about us. About the pregnancy. I don’t want the whole world thinking I’m a pervert. But why does she look at me that way? Like she’s sick of me?

Maybe she does know. Maybe I do make her sick. But doesn’t she understand that I love Eva? Why should age matter?

Maybe she’s jealous. Jealous that Eva has chosen me over her. I mean, we’ve both known her the same amount of time.

Finally, here is a letter written to the protagonist of a story i'm currently working on for my script. A letter of admiration with a little insight into how my protagonist is viewed from a child's perspective.

Dear Stephen,

My name is Kayley Syd. I have been a fan of yours for years and I would really like to know when you will be posting again. I don’t care what the media says about you. They said that you attempted suicide, but I know that’s not true. When you jumped from that building, you were wearing a parachute after all. Me and my friends believe in you. You are our hero.

I was wondering if you’d be able to sign the photo attached. It’s for my friend Jasmine. She’s in hospital right now. She was trying to slide her board down a bannister but messed up the landing and now has a broken leg. It looks bad, but if you survived a fall like that, then I know she’ll be okay.

Mum told me to stop watching your videos. Said that you were a bad influence and a conspiracist. Don’t worry. I don’t think that. She believes in God so why shouldn’t the devil exist? I mean, a lot of bad things happen to good people. Like Jasmine, for instance.

If you do get this letter and find it in your heart to reply. Please post it to the hospital to Jasmine Hide. I’m not giving a return address in case Mum finds out that I wrote to you. When I get my own computer, I will subscribe again and make sure to like all of your videos. I promise.

Hope you are better now,

Kayley Syd

*The photo attached is the only one I have took this week and has literally zero significance to this blog. I just needed a picture for the cover :)

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