My third attempt at creating character description without dialogue. My intended focus here was Emmy, but things kinda got away from me. Now I’m worried that these exercises are encouraging “telling” as opposed to “showing.” Although, part of me doesn’t really care if that’s the case because I hate the show vs. tell rule. Well, I did until I started reading The Wings of the Dove by Henry James. Now I totally get why showing is better than telling. If you’ve read even the first page of that book, you’ll know what I mean. I’m only finishing it because I spent money buying it and feel like I have to or I might as well have trashed the $10 bucks I spent.
Anyways, all thoughts on this exercise welcome. I think tomorrow I’m going to focus on a character from a book I actually intend to finish writing, The Death Effect. I know the excitement is killing you…
Emmy was the most beautiful child Aribelle had ever seen. She wasn’t just cute- she was absolutely gorgeous. She had thick, curly blonde hair with just a hint of red undertone. Aribelle could tell it would darken as she got older and eventually match her father’s. But instead of grey eyes, Emmy’s were bright blue, wide, and sparkling with long blonde eyelashes. She had the prettiest plump little lips and to-die-for dimples on her chubby cheeks. Aribelle adored her instantly.
And she adored watching Tom interact with his daughter. They laughed and teased and tickled one another. She had never pictured him as the father type, but seeing him with Emmy, she wondered what else she’d been wrong about.
Of course, if she asked him about it, she’d find out she wasn’t entirely wrong. At any point before Emmy was born, Tom would have said he didn’t like kids and never wanted any. He and Julia agreed that they didn’t want a family.
Emmy was a blissful accident.
But, even during the pregnancy, Tom had doubts. He never believed he could be a good father or love any child, even one of his own.
It only took a second, though, for him to fall madly in love with Emmy. The nurse handed her to him, all pink and new, and he’d never felt an emotion so powerful. He couldn’t even name the feeling- it was too overwhelming, too all-consuming, to be described by the simple word “love.”
Loving Emmy made him love Julia even more and Julia claimed the same was true for her, but things still fell apart. Not because of Emmy. No problem in this world could stem from such an angel, all smiles and laughter as she was. But Emmy couldn’t help the situation, no matter how much they tried to grow their relationship around her. Love wasn’t enough. Tom didn’t think it ever could be.
4 thoughts on “Day 3 of the Writing Exercise”
Actually, as a father of a little girl, and who’s marriage fell apart under essentially the same circumstances, mostly this was just painfully accurate.
Good writing can touch a nerve, and this certainly did for me.
Very well written.
ah, thank you so much! As a woman, and therefore most definitely not a father, I wasn’t really sure if I was capturing Tom’s circumstances very well. Also, having never been married, well, I had no idea about the relationship stuff either. guess sometimes it just pays to be an observer! Thank you so much!
I really like the last paragraph and how it grabs this happy family image and yanks it into the realm of “things will now completely fall apart and you, the reader, will sob throughout the rest of this story.” I think the transition is very startling and well done.
One thing I don’t like: “and she adored watching Tom interact with his daughter.” The word “adored” sets me up to expect something warm and fuzzy, but the word “interact” kills the warm and fuzzy feeling instantly and makes the next visual image feel flat, like Aribelle is trying to enjoy this scene, but she really doesn’t.
Good luck with your next one!
thanks! I’ll look over that sentence. Perhaps a simple word change: She adored watching Tom play with his daughter?