I’ve been pushing my boundaries recently. Stepping out of my comfort zone. I signed up for a short, 5-week, creative writing course. Hence my absence from the blogosphere.
I’ve learned about character creation, point of view, story structure, the value of feedback, and why the first draft is always shit.
Using a given scenario we’ve been trying out different aspects of storytelling.
The Given Scenario
- The body of Person A is found by Person B.
- Person B does not report the body to the police.
- Who is Person B and why doesn’t she/he report the body?
- Person C, Detective Lugurie, is assigned to the case.
I decided to base (fictional) Person B on (the very real) Margaret from Do you live here now? A big character. I could have fun with her.
Person A, the dead person, is William. Margaret’s frail, elderly neighbour. Tired of life and counting the days to his demise. ‘We live too long these days’ he says.
On her walk to the shops, Margaret discovers William’s body in the bushes. There are no indications of foul play. He’s died of natural causes. Respectfully, she covers his face with her floral scarf, then continues on her way to the shops. Intending to call the police later. When she returns both the body and the scarf are both gone.
Our task this week was to write a very short piece of dialogue between the 2 main characters, Margaret and Detective Lugurie. Written like a play. Pure dialogue.
This is my attempt.
Detective Lugurie has come to Margaret’s house to ask her some questions. They are sat in Margaret’s tiny living room.
Detective Lugurie: Margaret, can you tell me where you were yesterday between 9am and midday?
Margaret: Am I under arrest? Aren’t you supposed to read me my rights? I’ll need to let my daughter know where I am if you’re taking me away. She worries about me. Calls me every day. Always wants to know my where I am.
Would you like a cup of tea and a slice of Madeira Cake?
Detective Lugurie: No. You’re not under arrest Margaret. Why would you be under arrest?
Margaret: I don’t know. I would have thought you should tell me that? You look very serious. I’ve never had the police at my house before. Let me think. Where was I?
It’s beautifully moist. I’ll get you a slice.
Margaret stands up. Goes into the kitchen. Returns a few minutes later carrying a tray with a pot of tea and 2 slices of cake.
Margaret: At my age life is very routine. All you have is your memories. A bit boring actually. I can easily tell you where I was. I like to get up at 8:30. I don’t like to lie in. I have tea and a slice of toast in my pyjamas. Then I get dressed and go to Woolies for my shopping. Yesterday I was meeting Susan for a coffee as well. I haven’t seen her for a few weeks. Bunions can be very painful you know. We went to the new cafe on Juliet Street. I avoid King Street. All that awful pollution!
Detective Lugurie: Margaret, is this your scarf?
Margaret: Yes it is! I was so disappointed when I found it was gone. Thank you for bringing it back for me. I must say I’m surprised they send a Detective to return lost property. But I’m very grateful. Anyway yes. Poor William. I guess he finally got his wish.
Detective Lugurie: Margaret please tell me exactly what happened yesterday morning. How did you lose your scarf?
Another creative writing update soon …if I can bear it.