Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Writing exercise #2

These are the instructions for the next exercise.  Please leave me feedback if you think I'm not getting it.  This is a completely random scene I wrote spontaneously for this activity, which they suggested doing about a character very opposite to yourself.  I think a 55-year old hispanic male who sell cigarettes is pretty different from me. :)

Now write a brief character sketch in which you reveal the character's appearance, their feelings about it, and their current circumstances. Use a third-person narrator (‘he’ or ‘she’).
His graying hair hung limply in front of face.  Sweat dripped onto the tip of his rounded nose and his lips pursed in frustration.  If he had been able to move, he would have dabbed it away.  It was 110 degrees and his hands were tied.  Literally.  The bastards had tied them behind his back and taken the money from the register.  Louis shifted uncomfortably on the filthy linoleum floor, trying to see out beneath the counter, but it was no use.  If only he’d stayed in shape.  He’d been a national championship wrestler at Lincoln High.  His bronze skin and dark eyes marked him as different from the other boys, but he’d proven himself.  Now, at 55, he was overweight, cramming himself into his 40-inch waist jeans, muscles gone flaccid on his arms and legs beneath the extra fat.

The robbers left the shop without untying him, of course, laughing and joking with each other.  They’d been young, maybe not more than 20, he was sure, though they’d covered their faces.  He had noticed their solid, muscular arms, the confidence with which they had walked, heard the promise of youth in their voices.  His hands ached.  He slid backwards against the corner of the office doorway behind him and started rubbing the ropes on his wrists against it.  Maybe if he did this long enough he would die of exhaustion.

The air conditioning had given out three days before, and the little cigarette shop in San Luis, New Mexico was sweltering.  If he didn’t get free soon, he would surely pass out from dehydration.  Panting, he pushed harder against the doorframe, sobbing slightly with the effort, as his bulky arms throbbed. 

Suddenly the door opened again with a pathetic, little tinkle from the bell attached to it.  He froze, hope and fear competing for his full attention.  “Hello?” He said, hesitantly.

“Salvador?” The man looking over the counter at him was the last man he wanted to see.  Even the robbers returning to kill him would have been better. 

“Aye, brother.  Do you think you could help me, or were you planning to stand and watch until I faint from the heat?”

Estefan smiled slightly, his little pinched mouth widening beneath the worm of a mustache on his lip.  “Feeling warm, Brother?  You look a little damp.”

He sauntered behind the counter, grinning wider and bending over Sal.  He drew out a shining silver pocketknife, flipped it open, the blade catching the light menacingly, and slid it slowly behind Sal’s back.  Sal closed his eyes, forcing his breathing to slow.  When he opened them, Estefan was turned around, looking into the open register, tsking and shaking his head.

1 comment:

mantelman said...

Seriously, Steph - I think it is great as-is! I am hugely impressed that you "spontaneously" came up with this!! I just read it for a second time and I still am amazed at how completely I was transported into this scene - especially since it is so SHORT!! You get an A+ from me! I think of all of the things that I have read of yours (and I'm sure there are many more that I haven't) - this is my favorite so far! Okay - enough gushing....