A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more. "Every hour is saved from that eternal silence, something more, a bringer of new things." – Tennyson

A Little Family Scene (Fiction Exercise)

Lovely hydrangeas blooming at my friend’s house

I’ve been immersed in fictional worlds lately, both in my writing and reading. (I’ll update you with a “Mind Cleanup” post soon.)

Here’s a little family scene—actually, just a setup of a scene—that I wrote for one of the fiction exercises in the back of John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction.

The exercise:

“Write the opening of a novel using the authorial-omniscient voice, making the authorial omniscience clear by going into the thoughts of one or more characters after establishing the voice. As subject, use either a trip or the arrival of a stranger (some disruption of order—the usual novel beginning).”

I went a little overboard and dipped into the thoughts of almost everyone in the family!

My setting is inspired by Pride and Prejudice.


It was a humid June morning, and the Galbraith family was walking to the parish chapel for church, because one of the wheels on their carriage had broken the day before.

The eldest daughter, Helen, trudged silently in front, fretting that the mud would ruin her new shoes, which she had bought herself with the money that her aunt, Lady Charlotte de Vincey, had given her for her birthday.

Behind her walked Penelope and Charles, arguing, as usual, about which of them was right—this time on the question of whether the king ever ate porridge. Charles was secretly persuaded by Penelope’s argument that kings ate the same food as everyone else, but more of it and prepared more finely. However, he was determined not to yield to his sister, regardless of his actual opinion.

Little Clara walked beside her mother, holding her hand and looking at the trees; and Mr. Galbraith walked on the other side of his wife, to whom he was recounting—yet again—the story of his successful management of their servants through a recent interpersonal crisis among them. Mrs. Galbraith smiled and nodded, knowing it was she who had really brought off the feat of reconciling John and Timothy.


Now, that’s just a scene setup…what do you think should happen to start the actual story?

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2 comments on “A Little Family Scene (Fiction Exercise)

  1. emilievardaman
    July 8, 2015

    Good opening. For some reason what I see next is an out of control carriage headed right toward the family and everyone initially freezes in fear.
    I already like the family, though, because you have already given them some distance qualities, and I don’t want anyone to get hurt. So beyond that I don’t know!

    Like

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2015 by in Creative Writings and tagged , , .
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