Since no one commented on my last Wednesday Writing Prompt Post, I get to choose whether we continue on with those characters or do something new. This week I think I'll use some different characters for this exercise.
This week we're going to be trying an exercise from Jerome Stern's book Making Shapely Fiction. In his chapter on "Juggling" Stern says that "Juggling means the way you go back and forth between action and thought to create immediacy, tension, and character" (pg. 8).
So for this exercise, I want you to choose a specific location and have your character respond to that location. While your character is interacting, with their location intersperse their actions with thoughts. Their thoughts can be focused on their location or not. You can use tags of he thought or she thought, but don't use too many as these can become distracting. I like to put my characters thoughts into italics to signify that they are thinking. For that reason I don't need to use quotation marks around thoughts and most people would find that confusing anyway.
For my location, I've chosen a bookstore. You can see how my character Adam goes between action and thought, juggling the two of them.
Adam walked inside and inhaled the coffee aroma that permeated the store. Books lined the shelves and he let his fingers glide across their spines, some smooth and flat, others rounded and embossed.
They're all as different as the people who wrote them, he thought. One large community of people who may have nothing in common. Except writing.
He grabbed a book off a table displaying the latest spy novels and headed over to the starbucks corner to order his morning dose of caffeine. Slapping the book against his leg, Adam watched the baristas bustling around trying to coax the machines fully to life.
"Beat you again," said Marie coming up behind him. She was pointing to his book and he glanced down at the newest installment of the James Hawking spy series. They'd just been unpacked from their boxes and shelved last night. How could she have beaten me?
She smiled smugly and said, "Advanced reader's copy." Then she sidestepped Adam and ordered a caramel macchiato.
You can see how I used italics to set off my characters thoughts and had him interact with his setting in the bookstore.
How did you guys do? Please feel free to share below. Let me know how this exercise turned out for you. I love to hear from readers.
Thanks for reading and Keep on Creating,
K. A. Jairl
Stern, Jerome. "Juggling." Making Shapely Fiction. New York: Norton, 1991. 8. Print.
K. A. Jairl
My name is Kim and I'm glad you stopped by. This is where I post my triumphs and my downfalls as I fight the good fight of being a writer mom everyday.