Writing Exercise: Y is for Yoke

Photo by Steven Ungermann on Unsplash

Normally, this post would be titled “Heating the White Box” or something like that, but it’s April and I’m in the middle of the A-to-Z blog – and do you know how hard it is to find a “Y” word? So Y is for Yoke, as in – yoking the scene to reality. Today will be a writing exercise related to description.

I know most of us have heard the story about the English Teacher asking student why the thought the author made the curtains Blue. Description can enhance theme, but sometimes the curtains are Blue because they are Blue.

As a writer, when writing flash and short stories, work to have all description pull extra weight, where Blue has a reason for being part of the story beyond making sure the room is not just a white box. (Although that is a legitimate reason to make the curtains Blue.)

Oh, some of today’s readers might not be familiar with the White Box concept. Newer writers often have one skill set they are good at and need to develop others – they might be good at plot, or description, or characters, or dialogue – and when they write a scene, the other aspects are underutilized. For example, a dialogue writer could have two characters talking to each other, but they don’t interact with the room – does it have furniture, are they indoors or outdoors, why are they in this room and not elsewhere? They are in a “white box”, an empty stage.

To break the white box, the characters need to interact with the room. Today, though, the writing exercise is have it be heavier than just description. Yoke the description to the story in some way. Bonus points for giving a Show instead of Tell of a secondary aspect to the story. The characters walk across the wooden floor and the taps on their shoes ring (letting us know they are tap dancers). The characters do dishes which can carry all kinds of relationship and emotional signals. The characters sit down in heavy carved chairs, one higher than the other, indicating status in the fantasy world without expressly stating one is more powerful than the other.

WRITING EXERCISE: Write a dialogue flash with one bit of scene description that pulls extra weight. A little more complicated than normal, aim for 100 to 200 words.

My Attempt: In Argumentative Law – M is for Monday (see links below), I had the heat kick on. I did this to indicate that the class was held in the late fall to early winter in the Northern hemisphere, as would be common for the first semester of a college course. While all the other aspects of the room, from the chairs to where the teacher stood in relation to the class, are fairly generic, I added this to set the class in time and place without expressly stating it. 

Argumentative Law series

  1. L is for Legality (4/14/2024)
  2. M is for Monday (4/15/2024)
  3. O is for Options (4/17/2024)
  4. Editing Rant: Q is for Quorum (4/19/2024)
  5. Writing Exercise: Y is for Yoke (4/28/2024)

Other Cool Blogs: I is for My Indie Bookshelf

Logo from the website

Hey, hi everyone visiting for the A-to-Z challenge. I have a variety of types of blogs I do, one is pointing to other cool blogs. Today is pointing to a cool website. Many people participating in the challenge are readers, book reviewers, and writers. If you haven’t checked out this site, I highly recommend it. Looking for your next favorite indie author? You might find them here.

How it works is indie authors just upload their books, and you get randomly recommended one (within the limits you established). Best-selling author or brand-new, everyone gets the same chance to be recommended. Plus you can sign up for Beta read and ARCS.

Check it out!

Magical Words: Motivation (D is for Diver)

Photo by Ricky Shirke on Unsplash, meme words added by Erin Penn

The admonition of the meme is harsher than my normal, but I think the picture captures the base of it well. The dancer works every.single.day to have her body respond elegantly and swiftly to the dance requirements. Her workouts don’t only include the present dance, but other muscle memory building techniques, stretches, balance, movement, and freezes.

Writing is the same. It can’t be a sometime thing. It can’t be put off until tomorrow, and then tomorrow again and then tomorrow again. A to Z blog tour can help break the cycle of “I’ll find time to write tomorrow.” Writing muscles – from speed of typing, creative flow, self-editing as you go, having the characters actually talk to you, grammar and paragraph flow, and dozen of other techniques and skills, need constant work. Of course sometime life interferes, just like sometime a dancer can’t dance.

I’ve been a better writer. I write faster and more, when I write daily. It’s what works for me. A doctor-author-friend can only write on weekends; this method works for him. What writing exercise builds your muscles and gets you to your goals, that is the path you need to dance on.

I got the meme words from Lucienne Diver in her Magical Words post from October 3rd, 2012, “Motivation”. The URL is:

A-to-Z: A is for Again!

Photo by Susan Holt Simpson on Unsplash

The A-to-Z blog tour is back and I am participating again.

Thanks for visiting Erin Penn’s Second Base. I will be posting my normal mix of book reviews, writing and editing materials, and flashes/stories. Time permitting (I work taxes, so the first 15 days are crazy.) I might even to a sequential story.

Memes: Writing Advice (Two)

During the Saga Professional Writer’s Conference (http://sagaconference.com/), I got inspired to make writing advice memes and did so immediately when I got home. I then proceeded to release them during the A-to-Z blogging challenge in April (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). But it is time to collect them all in one place.

My previous Meme packages:
Write Something (6/30/2016)
Write Something (Two) (10/2/2017)
Write Something (Three) (10/4/2019)
Write Something (Four) (11/10/2021)
Writing Advice (3/29/2022)
Political Memes (1/31/2023)
Writing Advice (Two) (8/29/2023)