Tag Archives: writing prompt

An Exercise In Sensory Imagery

(Life took a wild turn this weekend past and left me exhausted so I’m reblogging this post from my home blog. – Jesi)

An Exercise in Sensory Imagery

The story I’m currently writing is taking an emotional toll. It’s a hard write because it’s fairly personal, and with the research I’m still continuing to do for it, even though it’s just a short story, I’m really having a rough go with the subject. I have to often take breaks so I don’t drown in the emotional current of the piece. I’ve also begun to prepare myself before I begin by doing some practice writing exercises. In fact, I’ve gone back to basics. So, how about a writing lesson today?

It’s a simple one: all you have to do is sit down and write a paragraph using sound imagery. Think of a noisy place and describe it. You might find yourself using alliteration (same letter or sounds at the beginning of adjacent or connected words) and onomatopoeia (words that sound like what they are-e.g., sizzle, crash).

Don’t worry; this is just for fun. No grades or criticisms. Just free write for twenty minutes.

Here is my practice piece:

It is three in the afternoon on a sweltering summer day. Somewhere, in an air-conditioned house, a dishwasher hums and sloshes its contents into cleanliness while an industrious little bird chirps and splashes in the birdbath outside the kitchen window. A delivery truck rumbles by on its way to some unknown destination. It seems like such a peaceful day, with the sun shining and all relatively quiet in the suburbs. Then a door slams. CRASH! Baby elephants galumph down the stairs, pictures rattling on the walls in the wake of the beasties, and immediate cries of “MOM, can I play Minecraft?”, “MOM, can I have some cookies?”, “MOM, he hit me!” resound through a house in what can only be described as the equivalent of a grenade exploding. Soon, too soon, pips and pops, bashes, slashes, and angry riotous conversation issues from the family room. From somewhere nearby a sigh of resignation escapes a throat but it is barely audible among the cacophony. A woman sits at a table, pens and paper and other writing implements scattered around, and marvels for the umpteenth time at the genius of Mother Nature’s survival instincts, which causes a mother to strongly attach to her young.


What can you write using sound imagery? Feel free to share in the comments.

x Jesi

Ten-Minute Spill

Normally on Mondays on my home blog at The Lunatic, The Lover, & The Poet, I post something inspired by my Muse. Usually that means poetry. I won’t always post poems here but I thought it’d be fun to do one this time around.

If you follow me over at my home blog, you’ll become aware that I am going through some poetry exercises from this book (The Practice of Poetry by Robin Behn & Chase Twichell) I bought at a local Half Price Bookstore. It has a lot of exercises by different poets/writers to help get the creative juices flowing, and I’m actually learning some new techniques that are very helpful. I’m not rushing my way through the book. I do one exercise and then put it away for a week or two. And I’m finding that I enjoy the exercises more than if I charge my way through.

So, I thought I’d share the most recent exercise here because I thought it would be really fun to use as a writing prompt as well. The exercise is called Ten-Minute Spill by Rita Dove. What I was supposed to do was write a ten-line poem. It was supposed to contain a proverb, adage, or familiar phrase (ex: one foot in the grave, a stitch in time saves nine, the whole nine yards, etc.) and change it in some way, as well as use five of the following words:

cliff          blackberry          needle          cloud

voice       mother                 whir               lick

You have ten minutes.

I did not come up with a ten-line poem. What I wrote was much longer. (They shouldn’t give me ten minutes.) But I liked the result and was somewhat surprised by what came out. I ended up using two phrases though one I changed and the other I did not. The five words I chose were: blackberry, mother, voice, needle, and lick. Here is my result:

Femme Fatale by Jesi Scott

She’s one mean mother of a brick house

     in her slinky crimson dress and black shoes,

     the ones with the needle-sharp heels,

lips done up in that wet blackberry shade-

makes your palms sweat just looking at her.

     She smiles that smile just for you

and your mouth goes dry, your heartbeat

trip-hammers a staccato tune

-Chopsticks on a piano.

That waterfall hair cascading down her back

     like brown waves into a blood-red ocean,

your fingers itch to tangle in it and drown.

Then, she sighs and says,

     “I can be yours if the price is right,”

and she presses her body against yours,

promises bright in her voice.

You lick your lips, your mouth dry,

and you know somewhere in the back of your mind,

somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea

…she’s going to make you pay.

So that’s what I came up with after ten minutes. I did only minor editing like spelling and punctuation. What do you think?

Try it yourself. You don’t have to write poetry. Give yourself maybe twenty minutes. Think of a proverb, adage, or familiar phrase and write a quick story and use five of the words from above. Make sure you change the phrase you use in some way. If you have a blog why not post your attempt and share the link with us in the comments? I’d love to read what you come up with!

Have a Twisted Monday!


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