writing-with-penI took a fun creative writing class a few months back and the teacher gave us the following short writing exercise…I encourage you to try it:

Creative Writing Assignment

Go to a public place, somewhere with enough ambient noise that you can’t really hear specific conversations.  Pick a pair of people sitting far enough away that you can’t hear what they’re saying, but close enough that you can see their facial expressions and mannerisms well.

Observe these people for ten minutes or so.  Jot down notes if you like.  Try to figure out what they’re saying.  Imagine the dialogue that goes with the actions and facial expressions you see.  After your ten minutes are up, sit down and write the scene, dialogue and all.  You have 20 minutes to write it. Go!

Here is the one I wrote:

14883751-couples-in-cafeBen and Emily, technically on their third date, awkwardly sip coffee and stare at the local art adorning earth tone painted concrete walls in a coffee shop each of them has seen a million times and never ventured inside. Still in the fumbling infancy of courtship, they both find it difficult to make eye contact. He pull at the fringe of the cargo shorts he bought his sophomore year at Penn State while she scratches her ankle just above the tattoo removal scar on her ankle. This slight itch reminders her she owes her father money for the procedure which painfully wiped away an image of a kite – a symbol of her sorority days not more than a decade ago.

“It’s true, most Ethiopians are basically on the South Beach Diet – they only eat fruit,” he said.

“Shut up! You are so gross,” she said with a laugh.

“Think about it, it wouldn’t have been as popular if it was called the Ethiopian Diet – but that’s basically what it is,” he said.

He confidently sips his coffee as she laughs at his politically incorrect hypothesis. As her laughter subsides, they both make eye contact for what seems like an eternity. He thinks about where to take her to dinner on their next date while she wonders if he’s any good in bed.

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