This next exercise comes from Brian Klems at Writer’s Digest.
Turn on your TV. Write down the first line that you hear and write a story based on it. The line can be the start, the middle, or the end. Your choice just let it flow!
My first line for this exercise was “I like to keep things as dark as possible”. I turned on the TV and Bigfoot America was on. Don’t judge me! 😛
My exercise is not going to be a stand-alone story. As I started writing, my exercise fell right into becoming a scene in a book I have been working on off and on, of course after I clean it up! Sometimes with exercises, you get lucky and write something that will be perfect for another project you have going.
Inspiration from TV
A potential chapter for my murder mystery.
It was a cold and rainy afternoon, the kind of afternoon that forced you to wear a jacket and carry an umbrella. Less than a month here in Silvercrest, and already the detectives were sending their new coroner out to do interviews while they stayed warm and dry in their office.
“This is cocked up… this isn’t my job,” She muttered to herself as she loaded her destination address into her GPS. She turned on her radio, and as Adelieta’s Way “Ready for War (Pray for Peace)” blared out of the speakers, she pulled out of the parking lot. She was a skilled investigator, but she preferred to work and speak with the dead. Live people annoyed her. They talked too much and never said what you wanted them to. The dead spilled every detail, as they lay silent on her table.
Daisy parked her Mustang in front of a dilapidated old house on Chandler Street. She held the steering wheel tight, surveying the scene. The house wasn’t much bigger than a proverbial shoebox, the windows were boarded up and siding had come away from the exterior walls.
What have I gotten myself into? She thought.
She opened the car door, sliding a perfect silver heel onto the road as she got out of the car. Her eyes narrowed as the splash of muddy water she put her foot into flew up, creeping its way inside her shoe. She thought about taking her shoe off and wiping it out with the microfiber clothes she kept in her glove box. It would only happen again. She stood up and closed the car door.
Daisy walked to the garden gate, it was as dilapidated as the house, barely holding on to its hinges. She pushed it open, and as the hinges gave way, it fell onto the walk, shooting more muddy water up onto her clothing. She closed her eyes and shook her head in disgust.
An old rusty car sat up on cinder blocks, prominently displayed in the middle of the bramble and weed-covered front yard. She studied it, recognizing it to be an old Studebaker. “Even in Colorado…” she muttered to herself. She took a deep breath and continued her walk to the front door.
As she raised her hand to knock on the door, it opened before she had the chance to bring her fist to the wood. The older balding man standing before her was sharply dressed, not someone she expected to live in a house in this state of disrepair. As he extended his hand out to her, she noticed the dirt under his nails. Daisy smiled at him pleasantly, and with reluctance shook his hand.
“What can I do for you, Miss?” The man asked.
“I am looking for a chap named Gordan Hillenson, would you be he?” Daisy inquired
“I am, but my friends call me Gordie. You can call me Gordie,” He said.
“May I come in and speak with you, Mr. Hillenson?”
“Gordie, call me Gordie. Mr. Hillenson has been dead for thirty years.”
“Very well, then, Gordie. Are you not curious about who I am or why I am here?”
“No, Miss. I don’t get many visitors. I am glad to have some company.” He smiled at her with a toothless
Daisy smiled and followed him into the house.
“I like to keep things as dark as possible, Miss. The sunlight hurts my eyes,” Gordie declared as Daisy walked into the sitting room. “Please, sit down. I will put on some tea.”
Daisy sat down, the room was dark, but as her eyes adjusted, she could see the Victorian decor in the room. It reminded her of her own house, only in a disarray. Her OCD would never allow her own home to be in this state. She tapped her pen against her chin, waiting for Gordie to return with tea.
Gordie hurried back into the sitting room, carrying a tray with two teacups and a teapot. His smile was big as he sat the formal tea tray on the ottoman next to her.
“Mother used to use this when we had guests. I haven’t had guests since mother’s funeral. I hope I remembered how to make a proper pot of tea, you being British and all.” Gordie poured a cup of tea and handed it to Daisy.
“Thank you, Mr. Hillenson, pardon, Gordie. I am sure your tea will be just lovely.” She took the teacup, balancing it on her knee. Surely he doesn’t expect me to drink this swill…
“Gordie, the reason for my visit today. You called the precinct regarding an ongoing murder case. You said you have information?”
“Oh, yes, Miss. I know who chopped up those people.” Gordie sat his teacup down on the ottoman and leaned into Daisy. His breath smelled of rot.
Daisy sat back in her chair, trying to remove herself from the stench of his breath in a polite manner. “And who would that be?”
“The only person here that can chop up meat like the killer did, Mr. Ameson, the butcher. Don’t you people know anything?” Gordie slammed his fist into his palm.
Daisy sat her teacup down on the ottoman as she wrote the information down in her notebook. Mr. Gordie Hillenson had no real information to help their case. Detective Luke Platt had already interviewed the butcher after she had told him the weapon was a meat cleaver. His alibi had checked out, besides, almost everyone had a knife set with a meat cleaver.
Bloody… this has been a waste of my time, not to mention ruined shoes and a dry cleaning bill. She thought.
“I thank you for your time, Gordie. I will have the detectives look into your information.” Daisy stood up to leave.
“You haven’t finished your tea,” Gordie said, handing her back her teacup. “It’s rude to leave before you finish your tea. Mother will be angry.”
Daisy took the teacup and chugged the tea down as quickly as she could muster. She didn’t want to anger Gordie’s dead mother.