Writing exercise…

A simple exercise I do to sharpen my narrative skills…

I would watch a movie or television show and recreate a scene in novel or story format.

I don’t pause the action. I let it play and try to catch what I can, visually and by ear, as it plays.

This is what I got from a Twilight Zone episode I watched as I wrote this blog.

No edits.

Jeff entered the cabin.

“Hey Kiddo,” Jeff’s father called as he sliced vegetables for his sandwich.  

“Nothing,” Jeff replied. “Mike’s showing me around the woods.” 

Jeff noticed a peculiar look on his father’s face.

“Oh… Well wash your hands so you can eat a sandwich,” Jeff’s father said. 

“Okay,” Jeff said. 

Jeff took a sip from a glass of milk on the counter before taking off to the bathroom to wash his hands. 

Jeff’s father put his son’s favorite cheese on the sandwich before adding the bread. 

“Jeff!” He called.

No answer. 

Something was wrong. Something he couldn’t… His son was upset with him about not letting him play outside after dark, but it wasn’t like the boy to ignore him. Normally the anger would be in his son’s snarky or sarcastic reply.  

“Jeff!” He called again. “Sandwich is ready!” 

No reply. 

His heart was racing. 

He thought of putting down the knife but a gut feeling urged him to keep it. For his search. Something told him he may have to use it.

He left the house and made his way through the woods.  

“Jeff!” He called. 

A collapsed tree house ahead. 

His heart skipped a beat as he dropped the knife and approached the collapsed structure. 

Jeff, he thought. His son was under there. He couldn’t see his boy, but he knew he was under there. 


Not the best story in the world. lol.

The challenge with trying to transcribe what I’m seeing on TV –without pausing– is I’m not going to get everything on screen. It all moves so fast. No time to stop and think before writing. Just have to write.

Anyway… That’s one exercise I do to sharpen my skills.

Hope it helps.



Darrion J.






Pace under Pressure… How schedule and life changes altered my writing style.

Seems like I do my best writing when I’m overwhelmed.

Seems like every waking hour I am bombarded with life, relationships, adult responsibilities, and worst of all, my job.

My (place horrible description here) job.

More like a windowless prison for hours upon hours of excruciatingly boring, mind-numbing, repetetive tasks for 40+ hours a week– not including commute.

I digress…

The point of this post -I think- is in the midst of all this pressure, angst, and suffocating busy-ness, I not only find a way to complete, edit, and build manuscripts and short stories; they often turn out better than when I have the hours to dedicate to my work.

Not sure what it is…

Maybe I write better under pressure. Maybe it has time to do with my stint as a freelance journalist where hard deadlines and quick turnarounds were a common thing. Maybe I’m so used to gritting and grinding for what I want that I don’t know what to do with a little freedom, quiet and peace of mind.

Turning my 45 minute commutes into word-sprints…

Using my lunch hour and scattered minutes between work assignments to edit content… (This actually gets me in trouble quite often. Try to be discrete in the office environment. Especially an office with nosey coworkers in close proximity).

Using the few hours before bed to develop and create…

I’ve grown more comfortable in tight creative spaces, because that’s all that’s available to me. All I have to work with.

I was even forced to refine my writing style to meet deadlines in-spite of my usually busy schedule.

No {more} excuses for me. I’d rather change myself before I change a deadline.

I read some of my stuff the other day. Compared the old stuff from a decade ago, to the new more recent stuff.

Wow… The pace of my writing -prose, dialogue, and all- has change. Tight, quick, and very to the point.

My older writing was very exposition-heavy with long and drawn out dialogue. Not saying the writing was bad… Just saying it was a lot more drawn out. The type of writing a person would need lots of free time to read and digest.

What changed?

I was younger. Few relationships. Fewer responsibilities. No 9 to 5…

I had more free time. And my writing reflected it.

Guess my writing style/voice is a reflection of my life and my time. In a hurry…

I’ll find out soon enough whether that’s a good thing.