Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Writing Assignment

I wrote this scene for my writing class this morning. The premise of the assignment was to  flesh out a scene from a list of verbs that one person or animal can do to another person or animal and then randomly assigning words like “boy,” “girl,” “man,” “woman,” “dog,” “cat,” etc. to the left and right of the verb.
I chose man loves girl from the list. 

He scans the hall searching for his wife among the crowd. He catches sight of her face looking anxiously towards the door. She smiles with relief when she sees him. Pulling his coat off he quickly makes his way up the aisle to the front row where she is waiting for him.  The musty odour of soggy wool permeates through the hall. The sounds of people shifting in their seats, coughing, sneezing and clearing their throats fills the air. He settles into the seat beside her just as the lights in the hall begin to dim.

“I didn’t think you were going to make it,” she whispers

“Traffic,” he replied

“Did you bring your camera,” she asked.

“Oh no! I left it in the car,” he said, running his fingers through his hair.

“It’s okay, I brought mine.”

"Was Amy nervous?"

"Once I told her you would be here she seemed fine."

The hum of hushed voices and polite laughter is silenced by the darkness.
A sliver of light is visible through the gapping curtain. The silence is shattered by a microphone voice from behind the curtain.

“Is this thing on?”

Laughter ripples through the hall. The principal appears through the gapping curtain microphone in hand and welcomes the parents, grandparents and family members to this years Christmas concert production. She steps back behind the curtain to the sound of pounding feet on the stage. The curtain opens in short jerking spurts to the claps of the anxious and expectant audience. The band begins to play under the supervision and direction of the band teacher. The concert is underway.

The chorus sing and the band play a selection of popular Christmas songs. Parents are bopping up and down in their seats and making their way towards the stage with cameras to capture and record another milestone event in their child’s life.

The band and chorus fall silent as a piano is pushed onto the stage. A young man rushes out and places a microphone at the centre of the stage. The principal walks out and announces a special treat for the audience, a young soloist who possess the voice of an angel the music department discovered purely by accident. The principal lowers the microphone and backs off the stage with arm outstretched by way of introduction.

Amy walks across the stage taking her position in front of the microphone. He reaches over and takes his wife’s hand in his and gives it a little squeeze. Tears of pride and love pool in his eyes. He wills the nerves and stage fright he knows Amy is feeling to ease. The band teacher sits behind the piano and begins to play the first chords of Pie Jesu.

She scans the hall looking for her parents. Finding them her eyes lock onto his. She clears her throat takes a step back from the microphone, takes a deep breath, opens her mouth and the hall resounds with the sweet and pure timbre of her voice. He holds her in his eyes until the last note. The silence is shattered by the sudden crash of chairs being pushed back. The audience is on their feet clapping and shouting for more. She bobs a curtsey and blows a kiss towards her parents and with a nervous little giggle runs off the stage.


Talli Roland said...

Ann, I loved this. The simple cadence of the sentences pulls you through the narrative through to the sweet ending. Beautiful!

Liza said...

Ann, this is lovely. I can imagine being the parents. Since this is a class assignment, I hope you don't mind if I offer two small suggestions? Your tenses change from present to past. "Amy walked...he reaches." Also, you may want to think about whether you want two modifiers next to each other. "The odour of soggy musty wool permeates through the hall" could easily be changed to The musty odour of soggy wool permeates..." This piece makes me look forward to my daughter's holiday concert in a few weeks. :)

Ann said...

Hi Talli, Thank you glad you enjoyed it.

Hi Liza, Thank you for the tips. I really appreciate it.

The Golden Eagle said...

That's a great story, and I like the way the writing flows. I did notice the past/present tense change--but that's an easy thing to edit.

I love the ending. :)

Brigid said...

This was a lovely read, it is so important to be there for our kids isnt it ? Makes me long for Christmas.

Kittie Howard said...

Ann, I agree with Talli...the cadence is beautiful (you are soooo talented!) and pulled me into the scene as if I were there. And the ending, well, beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you!

Old Kitty said...

Oh Ann!!! How lovely!! Awwwww - this is so so so sweet!! I feel all warm and fuzzy and cosy and just very happy now - thank you!!!!

Take care

Ann said...

Thank you so much Golden Eagle for your wonderful comments. I did go back and make some changes on the strength of the very helpful feed-back from yourself and Liza.

Hi Brigid, I guess I was feeling a bit lonely for those Christmas school plays and concerts. I remember one December rushing home from the day with baby in the hospital to make angel wings for his sister stage debut.

Oh Kittie H., thank you so much I am blushing from your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed it.

Hi Old Kitty, I am delighted I was able to bring a warm and happy feeling to your day. Especially since you were unable to purchase that island! :)

catdownunder said...

There has been a wonderful short series on local television about the development of a choir in a working class school in Lancaster UK. It has a similar ending with the boys making it to Albert Hall in London. It was a very moving final scene. If you ever get the chance to see it do - it is your story in film!

Plain Jane said...

Great visual! I wanted the story to continue, to find out more about the family.

Tracy said...

What a beautiful piece of writing...your goal of being a published writer will happen, no doubt!

Susannah said...

That is a beautiful story Ann, I enjoyed every word. :-)

Jackee said...

Captures so much in such a little amount of time. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. :o)

walk2write said...

Bravo! I felt the emotion of the scene, especially with the line "He wills the nerves and stage fright he knows Amy is feeling to ease." What person hasn't experienced that welling up of emotional energy in a moment of concern for a loved one? That is the crux of the story, the moment we know how much the man loves the girl.

Jayne said...

Aw this was really lovely, a sweet little moment in time. :)

Lola Sharp said...

Well done.
I too noised, and am frequently guilty of, the tense glitch. I'm always editing them out of my WiPs.

The Words Crafter said...

This was so beautiful!!! And so easy to read, it flowed so well. I was totally there, tears in my eyes and everything! Bravo!

Theresa Milstein said...

Sweet. Loved the parental anticipation. My favorite line:

"...opens her mouth and the hall resounds with the sweet and pure timbre of her voice."

Jackee said...

I thought I left a note on this, Ann, but since I don't see it, I'm going to leave you another one. :o)

I loved how this started out where it could be anyone and then you see the formulation of the parental pride. The emotion is so well conveyed through out!

Thanks for sharing, my friend!!

Len said...

Hi Ann! I love this piece...I can imagine myself being in the hall with them. You've written it so nicely and perfectly :) Thanks for sharing!

Talei said...

Ann, I enjoyed this very much, thank you for sharing with us. Great writing! ;) Can I ask,which writing classes are you doing?

Olive said...

Aww, really lovely story. I can just feel the parents pride glowing through! Well done:)