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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Writing Challenge Week 2 cont...

And the all seeing eye keeps watching..

First day of a new school term here in Edinburgh and I'm much relieved at having some normality back in my life :)

Well here goes - my first ever rough, raw attempt at a vignette ('we meet again' as a prompt). I don't even know if it qualifies as such..

The silent, invisible, bitter winter air enveloped Jane's body, gnawing away at her already chewed up, tobacco stained fingers. She exhaled slowly and watched her breath transform to frost before it slowly dissipated back into the night air. She drew in another breath and let it out hard and sharp, moving her jaw around trying to make a love heart shape. It didn't work. Perhaps a shot of whisky would keep her warm until her next hit? If Willie was in a sharing mood that was. This was her third, and by far the harshest winter in the cardboard haven of street living. Death dodging. 'Deck the halls' came screeching out of the nearest shop and the street was a bustle of Christmas shoppers carrying wrapping paper and tinsel. But they didn't see her. She couldn't think, feel, see them, not really, not outside her cardboard bubble. Safe haven. But she did see him. Her frozen breath was stuck in her throat and frozen tears were stuck behind her grey-blue eyes. Why was he walking past without a care? He looked right at her but didn't see. Couldn't see through her cardboard shell and emaciated frame. Maybe he'd forgotten all about her. His only daughter. She tried to speak, call out, reach. Nothing worked, she was frozen, inanimate like the snowman at the park across the road. He saw the snowman though, he didn't see her. Too late, he was gone. Words had escaped her. she'd forgotten how to talk, just like he'd forgotten her. All you ever needed to say in her cardboard world was 'any spare change?' She'd even stopped saying that a long time ago. She just sat with a vacant face for months now, with the words etched on cardboard by a thrown away bookie's pen.

Help!!! Is it a vignette?? I don't do prose :( Aaargghh. Be kind but constructive..I need all the help I can get. haha.

Laters bloggers, T xx


  1. Kind but constructive coming right up!
    Firstly, I'd say this does qualify as a vignette, yes. So, good job on that front! I can imagine how daunting it was for you, not being used to writing prose. It's great that you even attempted it.
    As for the actual piece; there are parts that I really like. I particularly like the first two sentences and think you have described her really well.
    I love the concept of her feeling invisible against the backdrop of a bustling city at Christmas time, and the relationship (or non-relationship) with her father adds a poignant element.
    I do think that you have over-used the 'cardboard' image a little. As a reader, I found myself thinking "Yep, I'm aware she lives in a cardboard box". I'm only pointing this out because (a) you asked and (b) I would want to be told. I totally get where you were going with this, and with some editing and tweaking I think it could be fantastic. Have a think about all the things that one would associate with living on the streets; the sights, the sounds, the smell.. Try and encapsulate some of the different senses that would be involved. I agree it is important to drive home the message that she is living in a cardboard box, but you did that perfectly well here: "This was her third, and by far the harshest winter in the cardboard haven of street living" and that's where the use of 'cardboard' could have ended, save for the last line which I also love :)

    I hope you don't take offence, and I'd love for you to tweak this and make it fantastic instead of good :)

  2. Tansy, I think that you've done really well here. I agree with Paula about teh cardboard image, but it is a great basis for a story and I wnat to know more about her and her history. Considering your lack of confidence in doing this it's come out really well. If you ever do more with it I'd really like to read it :D

    Rae West (it won't let me sign in on my profile!!! :S)