12 October, 2011

WoW - Make it Better

This week's Write on Wednesday is actually quite a timely and effective one for me. The challenge this week is to look back on a previous WoW and examine your writing carefully, thinking about ways you could improve it. It's designed to make us more aware of our writing and to learn to accept constructive criticism and take it in our stride to improve ourselves as writers.

Write On Wednesdays

As soon as I read this week's exercise I knew straight away which piece I would re-examine. My 'In Your Neighbourhood' exercise, while receiving lots of positive feedback also attracted some valid and constructive criticism - the first I have received from being a part of WoW. This can only be a good thing as the points were quite fair and helped me to see where I may have been taking the easy way out as a writer (thanks Hadge)!

So without further ado, my original and edited versions of the 'In Your Neighbourhood' exercise.

ORIGINAL: For the second time that day he watched her cinnamon spice curls bounce along with the rhythm of the bus. He didn’t know why their bus schedules matched, she wasn’t in any of his classes, but over the course of the last semester he had been keeping his eye out for her on campus too. He took in her profile, her fine features and porcelain skin, in the reflection of the window, afraid if he looked any closer she might catch him staring.

He wished he had the courage to speak to her. She seemed friendly, giving him a little smile if their eyes ever met. Did she recognise him, realise they caught the same bus at the same time together every day? He knew he’d missed his chance the other day when they just so happened to catch the elevator together. He should have said something, even just a ‘hello’ or ‘how’s the weather’. Anything that could possibly have put him on her radar.

But he didn’t. He just stood there looking at the ground, stealing glances from the corner of his eye, trying to tell if she seemed at all interested. He’d been kicking himself ever since. One day…one day he’ll pluck up the courage to talk to her, maybe sit next to her, maybe carry her books. He sighed, watching her get out at her stop, those enchanting cinnamon spice curls bouncing into the distance down the footpath.

EDITED: The rhythm of the bus gently rocked him as he watched her cinnamon spice curls cascading down her back for the second time that day. Their synchronised bus schedules teased and puzzled him, allowing him the pleasure of watching her from afar but denying him the opportunity of getting any closer as she was never in any of his classes nor did he ever see her on campus. His eyes traced the outline of her features, at once hoping she wouldn’t catch him staring while secretly yearning to be discovered.

His heart raced at the prospect of speaking to her all the while knowing he wouldn’t have the courage. Although she seemed friendly, smiling if their eyes ever did meet, he wondered if she even realised they caught the same bus together every day. Perhaps he’d missed his one and only chance that day in the elevator. His breath had caught as she rushed towards the closing doors, making it just in time. Despite offering a faltering smile, all he could do was stare at his shoes. His shame and shyness still stung.

A small, optimistic part of him promised that one day he would work up the nerve to talk to her. He would introduce himself and explain that after catching the bus together throughout the semester he just had to say hello. She would be impressed by his confidence and kind heart. All these things and more he told himself as he watched her step off the bus, those enchanting cinnamon spice curls bouncing into the distance down the footpath.

Be honest but please try to be kind or at least constructive!

4 comments (+add yours?)

Tony said...

Hey Sheri, There is two ways to look at this piece, from a writing point of view and as a "life story" that people will relate to.
There is no doubt(even though when I read the first one that I thought it was really well written) that the edited version is a more creative and better written piece.
But in saying that it has lost that down to earth personal touch that I could relate directly to,(like looking at her in the reflection) coming from a boy that used to admire many a girl from afar! :)
So both versions are great in there own way, but as it is a writing exercise, you have really improved the piece.

Sheri Bomb said...

Thanks Tony, great feedback - very helpful! And an interesting insight as to how the piece reads to another audience. I sometimes think I may inject my own voice into the story a little too much and it doesn't always fit with the characters or situation, so a great reminder for me :)

Stephanie said...

Loved how you described the character's hair -- cinnamon spice curls -- great word choice!!
You could feel the longing and desire he had for her. I think you did a wonderful job with your edited piece!

Janelle said...

It seems to me now that the first piece is more in the voice of a younger teenager, and the rewritten version an older teenager, possibly with a little more experience with girls and a bit more confidence? Just the vibe I get.

I liked the first one when you originally posted it anyway. But I quite like how the boy in the rewritten version seems to have more of a plan of how he's going to "get the girl"!

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