Creative Writing

In February and March of 2017, I am / was following a course at university called Creative Writing, and a few other courses made creative projects mandatory in order to get a passing grade. These are the things I wrote. At the end of each piece will be a bit of feedback given by the supervising teachers.

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3. The Caravan - bag of words exercise

 

Introduction: 
During my first class of Creative Writing, we were each asked to write three words on three slips of paper: an object, a character type, and an action. The paper slips were then dumped into three separate bags and we had to draw a slip from each of the bags. From the three words/phrases we got, we would have to write a story in 25 minutes that we could then revise at home. My words were a belly dancer, a pan, and dancing in the rain.

 

The Caravan

Just like so many other stories, this one took place once upon a time in a land far away. More specifically, it was in a remote desert region where visitors were a rarity and every man with grey hair was considered an old-timer. Days, weeks, months, years, and even entire lives passed in this corner of the world without much change or distraction from the daily rhythm. With new faces being so rare, it was no wonder that each time one appeared, it was cause for great celebration.

It was a dark and gloomy day with thick clouds looming overhead and heavy drops of rain throwing themselves at the yellowish, sandy ground, but to the population of a tiny village, it was the best day in years. A caravan from the fresh, green lands on the other side of the mountains had materialized out of the barren landscape and set up shop in the main square. Wagons and booths were stationed in a half-circle, almost like a pair of arms welcoming the villagers into its warm embrace.

With the weather being what it was, there was no real reason for any of the natives to visit the square. Precipitation would be collected in buckets outside every single hut, making the pond in the center of town largely useless. Yet find one excuse or another they all did, for they all wanted to see what was going on.

A young man had taken it upon himself to fill already half-full buckets with water from the reservoir, which was favorable because the position provided an excellent vantage point from which he could see everything that was going on. Soon enough, the entire village had gathered, lingering along an invisible line spanning the diameter of the semicircle.

The strangers had disappeared into their wagons, and an expectant silence settled in the square, thick as the clouds above.

Then sounded a loud boom which marked the most magnificent show many of the villagers had ever seen. The foreigners were experts in the art of entertainment; some of them sang like nightingales in the deep of night, both in tones of joy and sorrow; some of them did reckless acrobatics; some juggled sticks of blue fire, which did not seem in the least bit put out by the rain; and yet others told jokes that sent tears of amusement running down the villagers’ cheeks.

The most spectacular sight of all, however, was when a young lady, clad in light fabric the color of the sky at sunset, stepped into the center of the square and started moving her hips from side to side. When she did her belly dance, it did not seem to matter that it was pouring, or that the threat of thunder was looming overhead. With each jab of her hip in this or that direction, the villagers became more and more enchanted with her. They were under her spell, seduced by the soft, skillful dance she lured them into.

Soon enough, everyone was dancing save for the young man at the waterhole. He stood there, awed in the true sense of the word. There was something magical about the woman, something beautiful and frightening, and he had to know more.

1*When she stopped swinging her hips and the spell broke for most of the townsfolk, he followed her along the outer perimeter of the crescent to a wagon. She must not have noticed him, for she kept her back turned 2*to him as she started rummaging around inside, humming a tune unfamiliar to his ears.

Through an opening in the curtains, he could see her hips, tanned and rounded like the cheeks of a ripe peach, swaying from side to side as she made 3*a fire and put a large pan on a makeshift stove. This was a woman for him. She looked like a fairy tale and could obviously cook, and her movements took his imagination to places it had never gone with the village girls before. He would ask for her hand right away, and she would bring sunshine to even the rainiest of days for the rest of his life.

Eager, he pulled the curtains aside with confidence and force enough to startle even a seasoned warrior. Inside the woman gave a startled shriek, grabbed the white-hot pan from the stove and swung it at his head with skull-shattering force just as a clap of thunder sounded in the distance. Sadly, there would be no happy ever after for them. 

 

Feedback: 
1* Original: So when... - comment: transition? 
2* Original: turned in his direction... 
3* Original: she made fire and... - comment: typo? missing article? 

Overall comment: Very beautiful writing, though the end is rushed - remember to focus not just on plot. 

 

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