Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Use A Personal Experience to Add Depth…

April 6, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Bog – definition: a wet spongy marsh; a poorly drained acid area in which dead plant matter accumulates and sphagnum usually grows in abundance.

wellies_tcm9-281955This word took me immediately back to an event that happened to me when I was about nine years old. We were on vacation in a quaint cottage beside an estuary. Wellies (rubber boots) over bare feet, wearing T-shirts and shorts, my younger brother and I went fishing for crabs. The tide was slowly ebbing out exposing a muddy riverbed. We happily poked around catching small crabs and fish to put into our bucket for a while. Then I spied it, a huge crab near the center of the expanse of mud. I stepped slowly hoping not to frightened it away.

Just as the crab was in touching distance I sunk. Mud oozed over the top of my boots and dribbled around my ankles and in between my toes. My brother starting laughing as did I, until that is I tried to extricate my boots out of the mud. I was stuck fast. No matter how hard I tried I could not get out. Panic set in and my brother could see it. I screamed for him to get my Dad. Thoughts of the tide coming back in and my drowning filled my mind as I waited. It felt like hours of course but was probably only a matter of minutes before my Dad appeared. He laughed at first but when he saw my face, told me not to worry. He strode towards me, grabbed me under the arms and pick me out of my wellies. I protested about leaving them but he told me they were lost, he would get me a new pair.

This sort of experience can be artfully used in our writing. Personal events and their emotional effect can assist us in describing a characters situation. Maybe one of my characters is stuck – I can remember that feeling and expand it to suit the scene I am creating. Small details make such a difference. I can still remember how that cold mud felt between my toes and how it smelt. Depth in a scene draws our readers in – go deeper into your self to find those golden nuggets, the ones that make your writing superb.

Have you used a personal experience or memory to help with a scene? Care to share?

I Write…

September 8, 2010
mandyevebarnett


I have found many words of wisdom regarding the process and skill of writing, whilst searching the internet. The one ‘constant’ bizarrely is the variety of views and thoughts, which come from author’s blogs. Each individual’s experience of writing is as unique as they are and that is what makes this writing life so special. No matter what you write, it is your own originality that makes it distinctive. A case in point is the variety of responses we receive from Saturday prompts posted on the WFSC web site. Even with a common starting point, no two pieces are alike, making the reading even more enjoyable.

For example one prompt was – You see a lone shoe beside the road. Tell its story. My response was a piece I called – Phenomenal Shoe

scarpasa boot

  Whilst driving homeward one evening I spy a shoe lying beside the road. Where had it come from? Who did it belong to? How did it get there? These thoughts run through my mind as I near home but are soon forgotten once the evening meal preparations occupy me.

It is not until the following evening that I again glimpse the shoe. Appearing and disappearing in the brief gap my wipers allow me through a veil of water on my windscreen. Why do I worry so about an abandoned shoe? It seems to pull me toward it. Before rational thought can take over, I pull my car to the kerb.  I brave the rain and pick up what is an extraordinary looking shoe.  Placing it in the foot well, it gradually oozes water, making a small puddle. I continue my journey home.

“Hey Mum, we’ve got a power cut. Dad said we are going out for supper.”

My son’s declaration distracts me. The shoe is forgotten in the bustle of our departure.

“Put your seat belt on, Timothy.  Joy put your glasses on – how many times do I have to tell you?”

Hours later, my two young ones tucked up in bed and my husband snoring gently in front of the television, I remember the shoe.  I find it partially dried out awaiting rescue. How can this innate object hold my attention?  Its pale grey layered vamp and the highly unusual heel make it a thing of beauty – it is obviously a very expensive designer shoe – where could its partner be? Why was it discarded? As I turn it this way and that, admiring the delicately layered cloth, the fascinating heel, a sensation of familiarity flows through me. This is my shoe – lost long ago. What is this – a déjà vu moment?

Settling the shoe on my bedside table – as a sort of talisman – I drift off to sleep. My dreams are of a rich dazzling life, enjoying expensive restaurants, fancy hotels and exquisite clothes. Even the silk sheets underneath me feel real as I turn over to see voile billowing into a perfectly white room. This is not my bedroom, am I still dreaming?

“Darling, are you awake? I’ve brought you breakfast.”

I turn to see an incredibly handsome man walking into the room. He is carrying a laden tray complete with a red rose.
“Where am I? How did I get here?”

“You are home, my love.  I thought I had lost you after the accident but now the doctor has let you come home. He thinks being in familiar surroundings will help your memory.”

“But I’m married with children – this isn’t home.”

“The doctor told me you may have false memories from your time in the coma but they will fade, darling. Truly you are home now.”
I turn toward the bedside table, there lies the shoe.

“Is this my shoe?” I’m sorry, who are you?”

“I’m Dominic. My darling, I’m your husband. Do you know your name? Is anything familiar?”

“My name is…..? I don’t know! I must be dreaming. I have to get back to my children.”

“We don’t have children Francesca. You said they would tie us down, hamper our travels, our life style.”

“Francesca? I do have children – Timothy and Joy they……. I am so confused. Is this one of my shoes?”

“I think it is – let me look for you. Here in the bag the hospital sent home with you. How did you manage get its partner?”

“I found it beside the road, abandoned. It seemed to call to me – isn’t that strange?”

“No, I think your mind was trying to bring you back to me, my love. But how could you have picked it up from the roadside when you were lying in a coma? That is the strange part.”

As I look at the pair of shoes, one pristine and the other water marked and grubby, a feeling of recognition fills me – now I know who I am. Francesca Mendez, heiress to a hotel empire. I live a life of luxury but deep down I have a yearning – a yearning for children.  I will take advantage of my second chance – have those children that are waiting within me. I hold out my hand to Dominic and pull him toward me.

“However strange it may be, this shoe has brought me back to you and given us the chance to change our lives. Will you make a baby with me, Dominic?”

“My darling I have wanted children but you were so opposed to the idea. Are you sure?”

“I am very sure Dominic.”

Our lust consumes us, the shoes forgotten for the moment.

Epilogue:  Years later, when my children are older I show them the special shoes. They are encased in a specially made glass case, in pride of place in my boudoir. Sitting Timothy and Joy beside me on a soft couch, I relay the story of the shoes and how, without them, life would have been very different.

 

Why don’t you try writing a piece with this prompt? See where you thought process’ take you and then post it here. We can compare and comment. Have fun – that is what writing is all about after all.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.