Writing with Colour

Day 19

The exercise – Choose an emotion (happiness, anger and so on).  Choose either an indoor or outdoor setting. Write a piece describing your chosen setting from the point of view of a character who is feeling your chosen emotion.


I sit on the drab plaid armchair while the old man sits at the table eating his crackers and cheese. He offers me another cup of tea but I turn it down,  I’ve drank two already.

The old man is bent over the table slowly chewing his crackers and sipping his tea from a chipped old-fashioned china cup.  He wears a dull green corduroy jacket that he must have had for decades.

While I am waiting for him to finish his food, I take in the room with its frayed brown carpet and faded pale pink and green floral curtains. There are so many old ornaments, dusty and tatty.  There are hundreds of academic books, old leather hard backs in dulled red, brown or green spines.

I wonder when he’ll be done.


This is another  exercise that I found quite hard and I am not sure I got even close to convey the emotion I chose (boredom). But the whole purpose of these exercises is to keep pushing myself.


Last Line Triggers

Day 18

The exercise – Pick one of the last lines, from published stories, provided by the author. Use the line as trigger, either for an ending, or alternatively the opening scene to a flash back story to which you can return at a later date, safe in the knowledge that your ending is in place.


I stood outside for the longest time, staring at the door with the key in my hand, unable to move away.

Memories of the past kept flashing through my mind.  I knew I had to let go, those cozy family scenes were well in the past now, nothing could ever be the same again.

Dad went first, now mum. And my brother had moved to the other side of the world with his own family, years ago.  I was alone and that house was far too big for the cat and me.

I had to let go, even though those happy images from the past kept me rooted to the ground.  Tomorrow the viewings were starting, I had to go and give the keys to the agents now.  I locked the door for the last time.

I turned and walked away through the rain.


I thought that having the last sentence would make this an easy exercise but it turned out to be quite the opposite.  I spent a lot of time before I started writing wondering what kind of scene this would fit.

I only checked which book this line comes from after completing the exercise – it is the closing line for The Eagle has Landed, Jack Higgins.

Truly Sumptuous

Day 17

The exercise – In your mind create a room, a fantasy place in which you’d like to stay for a short while.  Furnish the room in whatever style you like and include luxuries to help make your stay as comfortable as possible.


I have never had the desire for opulent luxury.  For me, large private spaces are much more important than expensive and luxurious items.

My dream place, to stay for a short while, would be on a island with warm weather, sunny blue skies and emerald green sea.

The house I would stay in would be away from other buildings, it would face the sea and back up to woods. The smell of pine, sea and jasmine flowers would permeate the air.

There would be huge windows in all directions.  The rooms would be large with white walls and wooden floors.  The furniture would be of natural wood and all soft furnishings would be silky smooth and in pale tones.  Splashes of colour would come from large modern paintings hanging on the walls.

My absolute must have would be a pool on the patio between the house and the sea. The  first thing I would do each morning would be to go for a long walk on the soft sandy beach followed by a swim in the pool.  Then a wonderful breakfast of fresh, tropical fruits would be served by the pool.

Time After Time

Day 16

The exercise – To get ideas for a time-associated piece of writing, do a creative search using time as your trigger.  As an alternative, choose a specific time for your creative search and write a piece, using that time in the first sentence.

Note: Creative search, sometimes called semantic mapping, is the technique of writing a trigger word or topic in the centre of a blank page and using it to generate a galaxy of associated words, thoughts and feelings.


I always wake up around 5:30 am, no need to use an alarm.  This is the time I like going for a walk, no matter what time of year but my favorite season is winter.

I like that it is still dark out and there is no one around (or if they are we can’t really see each other). I put on a jacket, gloves and hat for extra warmth.  I feel the cold air as soon as I step out of the door and I can see my breath.

There is almost total stilness at this time – no cars whizzing by, not even birds chirping yet. I get a sense of freedom, I feel exhilarated with the brisk walk in the chilly morning.


I am not sure if I understood the instructions for this one and found it a bit hard to write up on the topic (time).

Fill in the Blanks

Day 15

The exercise – This is a variation of yesterday’s exercise.  Play around with ideas and see how the sentences alter, depending on what words you choose to fill in the blanks.


She only stopped ______ when ______.

She only stopped bullying the other kids when she was bullied herself.

She only stopped laughing when her stomach started to hurt.

She only stopped smoking when her father was diagnosed with cancer.

She only stopped worrying when they assured her son had arrived safely.

‘What is the use of a _______?’ she said. ‘It’s not going to solve anything.’

‘What is the use of a gun?’ she said. ‘It’s not going to solve anything.’

‘What is the use of a layer?’ she said. ‘It’s not going to solve anything.’

‘What is the use of a chat?’ she said. ‘It’s not going to solve anything.’

As a rule, she never _______ but _______.

As a rule, she never kisses a strange child but she made an exception with the neighbour’s niece.

As a rule, she never gets up before 8 am but she was told this sunset was worth getting up early for.

As a rule, she never holds a grudge but this time he has gone too far.

And sometimes, when _______ came home from ____ Mum would be ________

And sometimes, when I came home from college Mum would be passed out on the sofa, having polished off a bottle of wine.

And sometimes when dad came home from work Mum would be all dressed up and they would sneak up to their bedroom.

And sometimes when Penny came home from one of her long trips Mum would be so emotional, she couldn’t hold back the tears.

And sometimes when he came home from prison and insisted we all play happy families, Mum would be so mad and would scream that WE WOULD BE A HAPPY FAMILY if it wasn’t for him.

‘I am going to buy a ________’ he announced, while we were ________.

I am going to buy a dog’ he announced, while we were eating lunch.

‘I am going to buy a one-way ticket to Australia’ he announced, while we were watching TV.

‘I am going to buy a farm’ he announced, while we were in the board meeting.

‘I am going to buy a few of these paintings’ he announced, while we were visiting the gallery.

I was having so much fun doing this that  I carried on for well over five minutes.