Wednesday, 22 December 2010

ETMA 1 Part 1

In 500 words, write a mini portrait of a character, in either the past or present tense. In this story, note, there needn’t be any significant plot; concentrate instead on describing both character and place, and on conveying a particular mood – and state this mood as the title of your story. (For example: Happiness: Jane had short red hair and ...)

Sarah got up from the sofa after another sleepless night and let her unshaven legs carry her to the bedroom. She looked out of tear sodden eyes into the room that she and Dan had once slept. It had been a month since she’d been widowed and a month since she’d seen their room. It looked grey despite the fact that they had only recently painted it a warm terracotta colour. Dark dankness swallowed the warm glow that had once occupied this room. The floor creaked below her aching feet as she leaned against the door jamb, its sharp edges pressing deep into her bony side. She caught her reflection in the dusty mirror and held out a moisture starved hand, pressing against the glass as though it might lead the way into another world. Her roots no longer matched chocolate brown tresses and the ends were withered and lifeless. She looked older than her forty years but she felt like a child who’d lost her way. The room stood still, and she echoed its sentiment as if cemented to the spot. A tear threatened her eye as she stepped over Dan’s pile of washing to pick up the crime thriller she had leant him. Holding it close, as if it were her last link to him, Sarah sunk down onto the unmade bed and opened the book to where he had turned the corner of the page down. She hated when he did that but she left it as it was and replaced the book in the position it had been left in.

A flicker of an autumnal ray made its way through the slit in the blinds and the warmth lit up her pale and tired face. Sarah’s eyelids hung low as if protecting her from the light of day as though she might disintegrate under such brightness. Her body lost itself in the empty double bed as she curled herself into the foetal position and hugged the bear that perched on her pillow. Her mobile called out for the fifth time that morning. She didn’t rush to it, what would be the point? It wouldn’t be him. She only kept it charged so she could call his voicemail whenever she missed the sound of his voice. It would be her mother again and immediately she felt guilty. She would call her back later and tell her she was fine; she’d be back to working in the shop as soon as she had time. Sarah wiped away yet more tears, as if her tear ducts had sprung an endless leak.

Sarah rose from the bed and trudged bare footed into the living room. She cranked up the heating; she wasn’t especially cold but Dan always liked it warm in their flat. She could hear the noise of continuing life outside and felt her heart ache. Sympathy cards lined the work tops just next to his mail and his unwashed coffee cup. Everything would just stay as it was.

A few cliches aside it did rather well with a 40 out of 50.  It was based on the strength of this piece that I managed to get a Good Pass.  I think a lot of us were more in tune without part 1 - not sure why but I agreed with the comments made.  I will publish part 2 in my next post.


  1. Ohh well done you! Love it. Caroline x

  2. What a moving piece. I could see why it did so well. Loved the part where she picked up the book she had leant him but left the corner he had turned down as it was. Funny how when you lose someone you are desperate to hold on to any final link you can. Loved it!

  3. Thanks Caroline x

    Thanks David, I'm glad you liked it.