Writing exercise – “setting and mood”

Hey, I know, its been a while. School holidays is a hectic time for anyone, me not exemption. But as we approach the end of the week filled with little adventures, unlimited movies, hugs and sleeps in, and getting ready to get back to the usual school routine, I’ve decided to post another of the exercises I did at my writing class.

So, on a week two, we have been looking at Settings and how important they are for creating the right mood and the atmosphere of the story. My home work that week consisted of several parts. Part one was to find a familiar place and spend there 10 minutes. Observe. Listen. Take in. Part two was to write for 10 minutes a description of that place. Once the parts one and two were completed, it was time to proceed with Part three – the most important part of the work. The task was to add the mood and re-write the description of the same place with that mood in mind.

When most of my “class mates” used the description of the rooms in their houses, rooms filled with furniture, books, CDs, toys, photos, and other memorabilia, I decided to be clever (well, not really) and write a description of the hallway that greets me every day when I come to work – yeap, 2 walls, 2 doors, floor and the ceiling, nothing much in between!

When I finished , it was not as bad, as I thought it would be. I managed to come up with over 400 words describing an empty space. Too late I understood my mistake. It was when the teacher announced the homework for the following week. The task was to take the SAME PLACE, change the mood and add a character into that setting and write another description of the SAME PLACE with that character in mind. Oh that was fun! What ever came out of it, I leave for you to judge.

Below you will find two sets of description of the same place (hallway between 2 doors, probably 5 m long, 2 m wide) from the different people (personalities’) point of view. Hope you like it. Feel free to let me know what you think 🙂

Description 1

empty hallway with lights turned on
Photo by Cedric Lim on Pexels.com

A buzz, a click, a little push and you’re in.

As it opens, the heavy door lets the sun in and the space is filled with bright light. It gushes in, bounces of the walls and blinds you for a moment, but as the door closes behind, you’re trapped in the darkness of a narrow hallway.

The ceiling is high but there are no windows, no lights. And a small gap underneath the door is covered with a piece of rubber. A good intention, at first thought, it’s probably there to keep the draft out, but, as it happens, it also keeps out any light that may creep in from the outside.

They weren’t very clever, were they? I mean people decided to paint the walls of the inner hallway in this strange colour of slate, dirty water and lay these depressing grey carpet tiles.

It’s a startling experience, as, all of a sudden, you’re swallowed by darkness. Cause, after all, it’s just you, the sound of your beating heart thundering inside your chest, and that old scary monster from your childhood nightmare.

There supposed to be an emergency green light, indicating your way out of the building in case of danger, but it either wasn’t planned, perhaps by the same clever-heads, who approved the colours of the wall paint, or it’s broken, but in any event, this hell-hole is pitch black.

It smells in here as well. The old buildings have specific odour about them, but it’s not just that. It’s been raining all day before with heavy thunderstorm lashing through the night, and now the air is dump and it stinks of cheap coffee, burgers and chicken nuggets – all thanks to the dirty takeaways that litter the street.

Hyperventilating, yet very carefully, trying to dose the intake of the stenched air, you move your hands about in a complete darkness, addressing all the saints that you can think of. You may even consider selling your soul to the Devil, especially if he is as good looking as you saw yesterday on Lucifer.

As your eyes adjust to the dark, you begin to see a little clearer. The saving barrier of the inner door that will take you out of this misery is just a few steps ahead and so you rush forward and push what apparently needs to be pulled and after this exertion of pushing and pulling, you are finally free, out of breath but free.

Description 2

brown wooden photo frame at gray concrete wall
Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

It’s warm in here. A little dark, perhaps, as the entrance door, bright blue on the outside is painted marble grey on the inside. Usually the doors are white, but this clever designer move has its charm and it matches the colour of the walls and carpet. The space is not grand, a meter wide and probably 5 meters long but that’s what makes it special.

This street has never been quiet. the tourists, noisy busses and never-ending road and building works which seems to go on forever, just migrating from one part of the street to another. One feels strangely happy having made it to the saving door, from the tube and through the street alive and in one piece. Outside there is no one escape from the cacophony of sounds, but you can always hide away in this grey little box.

There is not much here in this hall. There is nothing really but 2 walls, 2 doors, and a ceiling. A brown door mat, a red fire extinguisher, a big red and white “non-smoking” sign stuck to the grey wall, a light grey box of the fire alarm system, shinning happily with the green and red lights. But the heavy door keeps the elements at bay, as well as shields you from all the people outside. The fire door, placed at the end of the hallway, preserves the peace and quiet, separating this place of tranquillity from the chaos of the legal office that awaits you upstairs.

The green emergency light on the wall shines like a guiding star, pointing the way along this narrow hallway towards the sea of stairs and landings, chatty people and noisy printers, computers, constantly ringing phones and boxes. Boxes and boxes of papers stalked up against the wall, their towers reaching up to a height of a grown-up person.

You stand there, bracing yourself for a day ahead, noting all the small, minimalist’s features of this hallway, trying not to think of what awaits you behind the second door. But divine smell of coffee and freshly cut sandwiches, coming from a shop behind the wall to your right calms you down and a gives a promise of an easily assessable lunch. You can nick in and out, beating the crowds and then again retreat to your happy little place.

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