This exercise has thoroughly confused me lol. The task was to take a piece of my writing, remove the 'adjectives' and replace them with 'descriptive nouns'.
Hmmmm.....now as I understand it a concrete noun is the name of a real thing or person: tree, rock, earth, water, sky, umbrella etc. An abstract noun is the name of a thought or emotion:love, hate, rage, compassion etc.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun: green, fur, long, rough, wet, trembling etc.
Sooooo if I have the phrase 'the purple umbrella' and I take out the adjective it becomes 'the umbrella'. How do I now add a descriptive noun in the adjectives place?
I've tried Googling 'descriptive nouns' and just keep getting directed to adjectives....
mansion - townhouse - apartment - building - home - dwelling -
abode - base - family - residence - place - lodging
Man: father - son - brother - grandad - husband - lover - boyfriend -
child - teen - uncle - prince - king - sibling - guest - singer - actor -
detective - (all jobs ie banker, accountant, solicitor) - adult - male -
human - gentleman - individual - person - someone
Book : paper - volume - record - script - ledger - collection - facts - publication - text - words - writing - register - product - handwriting - play - drama - journal - diary - information - language
Spaghetti: food - pasta - flour - eggs - water - dinner - lunch - meal - dinner party - belt - hair
Fowlers Usage & Abusage..... How does it relate to my work? Do I use abstract, far fetched and romantic words and phrases? Is my writing filled with overlong words and circumlocutions?
I decided to use the short story entitled What Lies Beneath to redraft, following Fowlers Guidelines. The funny thing was....there wasn't any lol
My style of writing is quite simplistic, I don't try to over compliment things. If I want to say "Tom walked into town" I'll just say that.....I wouldn't say "Tom preambulated into the municipality" that's just not me ;o)
The light floods the room and makes Kate scrunch up her eyes to avoid being blinded. Spencer jumps as he turns around.
'For fucks sake Kate, what the fuck are you doing sitting in the dark?'
He sits down in the armchair opposite hers and removes his shoes.
'I couldn't sleep' she lies.
He stares at her, intently, suspiciously. His eyes wandering from her face to her feet and back up again.
'Why are you fully dressed? And what fucking time is it anyway?'
Kate winces. She hated to hear him swear, it made him appear all the more menacing. Before she had time to answer his questions he demands another.
Panic rises in her chest but she does her best to sound calm.
'Hes in his room, asleep, and it's just gone two'
He stands up, swaying slightly, and peers at his watch.
'Yeah, well, i got talking, didn't realise the time'
Kate smiles and scoffs.
'Its ok Spencer, you can stop feeding me the crap. I know you've been with her. Sam called, just after 10, said you'd left your mobile at the restaurant'.
He searches frantically in his trouser pockets then picks up his suit jacket and pats it in places.
'Fuck,fuck,fuck!' he shouts.
'Shhhhhh, you'll wake Charlie' Kate pleads.
'I don't fucking give a shit.....I've lost my phone!'
Kate wants to laugh, how pathetic he looks, but knows what a mistake that would be.
He stops searching and looks up at her.
'Sam has got it, he'll drop it round in the morning'
He grunts and walks over to the sideboard, leaning against it for support.
'So why are you still dressed?' he asks.
Kate had spent the last 2 hours rehearsing this scene in her head. She was prepared for it and stood up, her hands behind her back.
' I can't do this anymore Spence.....I want you to leave'
Her heart pounds in her chest and her legs feel weak. She keeps telling herself to be strong, that she has to do this. She is determined he wont bully her into staying this time. He glares at her in disbelief.
'Yeah, right, if you say so Kate'
He wags his finger at her and slowly walks across the room.
'How many times have I told you.....you can leave anytime you fucking like darling, but Charlie stays with me'
The wagging finger turns into a point.
'If you take him.....I will hunt you down and I will fucking kill you!'
Kate stays rigid, frozen to the spot. The 5 foot coffee table is all that stands between them, her only defence. She chooses her words carefully before speaking.
'Spencer, we can't go on like this, it not good for Charlie. I don't love you anymore, you've killed that. Please, just go to Sams, and we'll talk tomorrow, when you're calmer'
She stands firm and manages to keep the emotion from her voice, but a tear escapes down her cheek. She wipes it away quickly with the back of her hand.
Spencer lunges across the coffee table but she manages to dodge his grasp.
'You fucking bitch!' he yells.
They swap positions. Kate sees his eyes flash with rage. She produces the mobile phone from behind her back and shows him the screen. She'd already entered 999 so that all she needed to do was tap the screen to connect the call.
'Please Spencer, just calm down....I'll call the police, I mean it'
'You fucking ungrateful bitch! All that I've given you? Look at this house Kate, your fucking clothes. There are women out there who would kill for your life, wonder what your fucking problem is' he laughs. 'You'll never leave me darling, you couldn't cope on your own'
Kate's resolve weakens. She's tired, scared, and concerned that Charlie could wake up any minute. She makes a last attempt to get him to leave, not knowing what she will do if he still refuses.
'Please Spencer, just go now..... I will call them'
Her finger hovers over the number on her phone screen.
Spencer grabs at her and as she pulls away he catches the bottom of her long flowing cardigan. Her instant reaction is to scream but nothing comes out. She tries to pull away but he's too strong and reels her in like a fisherman landing his catch. Sheer terror grips her and she lashes out with her hands, dropping the mobile phone onto the deep shag pile carpet. She embeds her perfectly manicured nails into his cheek. He gasps and lets go. She knows from bitter experience this will only make matters worse. Every muscle in her body is telling her to run from the house, but her solicitor had said under no circumstances was she to leave.
As she backs away he charges towards her and her hands brush against the fire irons. She grabs the poker and holds it out In front of her.
'Dont touch me!' she spits.
Spencer stands motionless and smirks.
'Oh Kate, really? You haven't got the fucking guts!' and with that he charges.
He grabs her around the waist as Kate raises the wrought iron bar and brings it down as hard as she can on her husbands semi bald head. Time seems to stop for a few seconds before Spencer's grip on her loosens and he falls to the ground.
Kate looks down and sees the blood spattered up her grey cashmere cardigan. She drops the poker and calmly steps over her husband to retrieve her mobile phone from the floor.
I take the last mouthful of my tea and survey the damage. Empty cups, their contents dried and sticky, remnants of the night before. The overflowing ashtray and discarded socks compete for my attention.
I stumble over trainers and shoes as I make my way to the kitchen and stare at the huge pile of washing up in the sink. The smell of last nights spaghetti bolognese hits my nostrils and turns my stomach, making me feel nauseous. I place the cups retrieved from the dining room next to the sink and as I step back I stand on a squeaky bone. The shrill scream makes me flinch and alerts the dog to my presence. Rushing in, she grabs the bone and takes it back to her basket. At least she's capable of tidying up after herself!
I make my way upstairs to the lounge and turn on the light. The blinds are still drawn so no one can see in. From the outside it must look as if we have been burgled! The sofa is strewn with items of clothing. I can't tell if it is their owners intention for me to wash them or not. The coffee table is strewn with used cotton wool balls and spidery false lashes. Shopping receipts and items of fashion jewellery lay scattered on the floor, along with hairbrushes, hair clips and items cascading from an open makeup bag. I turn off the light and exit quickly.
As i make my way down the hallway to the bathroom, i step over my husbands T shirt and pull the cord to turn on the light. A pile of wet towels lay on the floor by the bath and the bath tap drips onto a shampoo container that's contents is leaking out onto the white porcelain.
I go into my bedroom and although I wasn't last out of bed, the duvet is at an angle, one side draped onto the floor. Pillows lay on the floor on top of yesterday's underwear. The cup of coffee on his bedside table is still warm, but only half drunk. Running late as usual. I slump down in my reading chair and pull my dressing gown tighter around me. There's a definite chill in the air this morning, even though the heatings been on all night, no one bothering to put it on timer.
I look at the 2 baskets of clean washing that need to be divided into piles, for the children to take to their rooms. So that they can then be slung on their floors, no doubt, to be given back to me again in a a few days. Unworn, but indistinguishable from the genuinely dirty laundry. I've given up going into my teenagers rooms. I'm never quite sure what I will find. It's safer to be blissfully ignorant.
So here starts another average day. The house is quiet, they've all gone, and somehow, it seems that I'm the one left to pick up the pieces of their lives, literally. The question is.....where do I start?
Aged 38, brought up in a working class household on a council estate in a nicer part of
South East London. His father was a plumber, his mother worked in a local fish and chip shop part time. After leaving school he went to work at an accountants as a clerk and has been there ever since. Educated at a mixed sex comprehensive he was bullied by both girls and boys, as he wore very thick lensed glasses. Had corrective laser eye treatment 5 years ago. First girlfriend in his late 20’s, he worshipped her but she dumped him. Lost his virginity to that girl. Finds it hard to relate to women,
doesn’t like them, thinks they’re all out for what they can get. His mother left him and his father when he was 5, she ran off with another man. His father abused him physically and mentally until at the age of 18 he walked out and never went back. Socially inept, due to mistreatment in childhood, women are attracted to his good looks and piercing blue eyes. Smokes roll ups, drinks cider and bites his nails when he’s nervous. A loner at work, he lives on his own in a bedsit above a bookmaker's. Very calm and calculating, almost emotionless, he trusts no one.
The smoke from his cigar curls round his fingers and swirls up to the ceiling, fogging the room. He takes a deep drag and blows the smoke skywards, as he stands at the bottom of the blood spattered bed. The purple silk bed covering lies in folds on the floor by his feet. I can taste the smoke and I realise just how badly I need a cigarette. I watch, as he walks towards the bedside cabinet and taps his cigar on the crystal ashtray. His black pinstripe suite looks expensive, handmade in Saville Row perhaps? I can tell by the soft black leather brogues on his feet that he is a very wealthy man. Just the type that come into the office with their designer brief cases, thinking they own the place. I try to keep my breathing short and shallow. Sweat is beginning to gather at the back of my neck and on my upper lip. My heart is pounding in my chest as I try to stay silent. He reaches out and places two fingers on the ivory skin of her neck and sighs, then turns, and looks around the room. His slicked back hair reminds me of a 1950’s gangster, and there is something familiar about his tanned face. I screw my eyes closed as he glances in my direction, as if closing them will help conceal me. My legs are aching and I’m determined not to faint. He picks up her red patent clutch bag that she had placed on the coffee table only an hour earlier and removes her mobile phone. He checks the screen and then places it back inside the bag, which he tucks under his arm, inside his suit jacket. Glancing around the room one more time he moves towards the door and places a gloved hand on the brass handle. He pauses. I’m willing him to leave. I’ve got to get out of here. I swear he can hear my heart beating. I cover my eyes with my hands and wait, expecting the worst, but instead I hear a soft click as the door closes behind him. I breathe deeply and lay my head back against the hard wood, the relief overwhelming me. Tentatively, I push open the wardrobe door. My legs have gone to sleep making me struggle to my feet. I move towards the bed and stare down at my work. Not one of my best, a bit too messy, but then, this is what happens when I have to rush. It wasn’t an ideal scenario from the beginning, but I was desperate. I shut the wardrobe door, and grip the door handle, anxious to leave, aware that the police could be here at any moment. I leave the plush hotel room as silently as the previous visitor and make my way down the corridor towards the lifts, with a smile on my face.
This exercise was about writing for a particular audience.....who is my audience? I tend to write what I would like to read, is that a bad thing?
I wrote a short story entitled "What Lies Beneath" which is about a 40+ woman who is married to a successful, charismatic and attractive author. He's just about to publish his eagerly anticipated 9th novel....and I'm afraid I can tell you no more lol ;) I've decided to use it in a competition.....
At the moment it's just over 1000 words, so I need to pad it out a bit ;)
I think I have already developed a distinct voice. My husband can always tell stuff that I've written, and if I try to write differently, it stands out as not feeling quite right.
I'm practicing 1st person narration quite a lot (as I tend to be most comfortable in 3rd person) and that's working well :)