This week’s exercise based on Shore Leave by Lynda Hull
Write a descriptive 3rd person scene between two people. The main character is experiencing something that is distressing, but the tone is celebratory and lyrical.
I just finished reading The Once and Future King, and it formed the inspiration for this week’s exercise. Just in case you were wondering, I did not come up with the excellent name Bruce Sans Pitié, but it is rather a minor but symbolic character in T.H. White’s amazing book.
This assignment was pretty tough, as I’m never really good at descriptive scenes, not to mention the celebratory tone, although I think it didn’t turn out too bad in this exercise. I did have one misgiving about the assignment though. In my attempts to make Sam feel as celebratory as possible towards Bruce Sans Pitié, I made him just as unsympathetic as Bruce is. The story would have worked out better if Sam felt some ambiguity about the situation he is in.
In a sense it is a shame that I didn’t notice that sooner, because the moral ambiguity in the characters’ actions is what makes The Once and Future King such an amazing book in the first place. And anyway, you always want to strive for shades of grey in your stories rather than black and white. So if I ever plan to rewrite and expand any of the stories I’ve written for the workshop, this one would definitely be very high on the list.
By the way, I apologize beforehand if I make too many references to the Once and Future King in the coming period, but that is because it has quickly become one of my favorites. I might write a review of it somewhere in the short future.