Writing Workshop: Fiction

February 11, 2021 § 2 Comments

This is an exercise from Diane Zinna’s online Grief Writing Workshop. We watched a short video of a New Orleans funeral march. The exercise was to create a character and when he turns the corner, what will he see, what is he thinking about and do, action please – you have 15 minutes of time to think and create, go!

Who would you create? Here is my character called Irwin.

  • Gender Male
  • Age 28
  • Hair Color Brown
  • Eyes Brown
  • Education High School
  • Interests Unafraid, brash, willing to dig deeper and get his hands dirty, longs for love and connection, wants to do the right thing in the world (think Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver”), not interested in accumulating material possessions
  • What is on their mind today? Finding love and maybe connection
  • What he is about to see? A New Orleans funeral march

Irwin decides to walk off the too many beers he just drank, listening to the blues music that he loves. It was hard to pull himself away but the band took a break and he wasn’t sure he could remain upright on the bar stool until they returned.  

The air was hot and stuffy outside, filled with leftover smells from po’ boys frying.  He was looking up the street to see if there were a lot of people just hanging.  Maybe he would find a friendly face and stop for a chat. He had no plans for the evening or the rest of his life. Twenty eight years was weighing heavily on his shoulders and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was lost, lost to the future and not having one.

He turns the corner and hears the loud music first. He knows that is, a person has died and there will be a party tonight. He doesn’t feel like celebrating, he wants to watch the goings on, just the same as in his life – observing, not participating, not reaching out and always purring with feeling bored, a dim hum from deep within, not knowing what to do next.   Irwin looks around for someone smoking to get a light for a smoke. He searches and his eyes clasp onto the palest green kitty eyes of a young, blonde-haired dancer and puts his cigarette back in the pack in his pocket. Now he has a plan.


§ 2 Responses to Writing Workshop: Fiction

  • Ellen says:

    Great start…when’s the projected publishing date? ; )

    • Ruth Altheim says:

      Thanks! I have a great writing instructor, one session is grief related writing and the other, is fictional. She starts each hour-long online workshop with an introduction and explanation of a writing technique, then we write for 15 minutes and the rest of the time, a few volunteers read their work. Usually 15 online, would you like to join us? Grief writing is Sundays 2-3PM and fiction techniques is Weds 7-8PM, $10 per class. It is fun to make up a fictional character and see what imaginary stuff comes up. It is fun to use words, we have people from all over America joining in and even a few from Europe.

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