Composite Scene

I did this exercise to practice story beginnings.  The idea is to describe a routine in a composite scene, rather than just as a vague narrative.  I might continue with these characters and create an actual story, but for now, enjoy.

Once again, this is from The Fiction Writer’s Workshop, by Josip Novakovich.

Every Saturday was spent bike-riding through the park, followed by a picnic.  They would each have a small, light breakfast (a thin onion bagel with liberal amounts of veggie cream-cheese for Sarah, and a small bowl of almond granola for John).  When they’d finished breakfast, Sarah prepared the picnic—usually something simple like sandwiches and grapes—while John cleaned up breakfast.  The running water, clink of dishes in the sink, and loud then quiet hum of the refrigerator after its door had been opened and closed, were the only sounds they made in the kitchen.  Sarah and John had a way of communicating without words.

When everything was packed—each of them carrying their own lunches and water-bottles, John carrying the blanket—they would leave the apartment.  They always left as the sun was rising; as it was better to bike before the heat of the day set in.  Sarah would start giggling as they left, already excited for the day ahead.  She covered her mouth to try and suppress her mirth, as their apartment building had paper-thin walls, and most people preferred to sleep in on Saturdays.  John would try to shush her at first, and then grab her love-handles to get her to laugh—if she shrieked too much, he would shush her again while trying not to laugh himself.  By this time they’d reached the bike rack, so then they’d mount up and pedal to the park.

Again—save for the sounds of spinning tires, clicking gears, and increased breathing—Sarah and John were mostly quiet.  They knew the route to the park.  Once there, they would decide which winding path through the trees they would take this week by swaying slightly one way or the other on their bikes.

When they’d finished with their ride, Sarah and John would have their picnic at the entrance to the park, usually in the shade of the oak tree.  After that, they’d sit a little longer to rest, digest, and enjoy the day, before they hopped on their bikes and went home.  Their conversation was usually brief, as they were both tired and recovering their breath.




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