Third-person narrative

I have an interesting writing exercise for you. It is one I use to stimulate creative word use. Take an everyday happening and describe it in a third-person narrative. The length does not matter. It can be one sentence to 250 words. Have fun! I look forward to seeing your stories.


For example, the following is a writing exercise I did while in Malaysia:


Though she missed the opportunity to spend a few more minutes with her husband, keeping him company down the elevator ride from the 24th floor to ground level and following him through the hallway, up two short flights of stairs and through the large parking garage to the front of the complex where he catches his ride to Kulim, she chose to take a morning walk anyway. Usually, she sits on the stone chairs around the concrete table on the front patio, reading the free paper provided to the residents and talking with her husband until his driver arrives, and from there embarks on her morning adventure.

This morning is different. It has taken longer for her to get cleaned up and dressed than she anticipated. Shortly after he leaves, armed with her camera, bus pass and a few ringgits she follows the asphalt street around the side of the condominium complex she calls home. The street leads her past a neighborhood of small single-level homes, several wandering chickens, an Islamic cemetery and a small several-hundred-year-old mosque on her way to the pedestrian bridge that crosses over the highway, the main barrier between her and the ocean. The path leading to the bridge leads her between a neighborhood dumpster and a burn pit, through a chain link fence gate and up a few crumbling concrete stairs.

She circles the concrete platform and mounts the long flight of stairs to the bridge, crosses the highway and descends the stairs on the other side. A dirt footpath cuts through the tight-cropped grass to planks of wood stretching over the deep concrete gutter and continues through the woods on the other side. Walking alone through the woods in an area where there are few pedestrians often sends a shiver up her spine, but not this morning. She notices a light lavender flower she has never seen before, and then another and another. They are the size of a small stone, and their layers are supported by arrow shaped green leaves twice the size of the flowers. About 10 petals form the first layer, with yarn-like fingers above them spread out like the teeth of a comb stretching out from the center. The next layer is a yellow pinwheel, with three white antennae stretching from the center peg.

The ground is moist, and drops of water free themselves from the plants lining the trail, leaping to her legs as she brushes past.

As she emerges from the woods, the sun strokes her face, beckoning her eyes to close. Acquiescing, she absorbs the tender warmth, mending the broken peace inside her heart.

A private smile touches her lips as she opens her eyes and continues her journey toward the ocean. The concrete sidewalk was etched to look like stones and leaves, and then given a coat of brick red paint. Dampness from the previous night’s rain generated an oil-like slipperiness under her tennis shoes. Rather than slowing her gait, she stepped onto the asphalt street where footing was sure.

Turning to look at the woods, her spirit was lifted on the wings of hundreds of large black dragon flies fluttering around the tops of the trees. A couple of them flew closer to her, checking out the white woman in a dark-skinned world.


Speak Your Mind