Exercise 1.6ii People passing during breakfast, final draft

Exercise 1.6ii

  • Return to the work you produced in the first few exercises.
  • Use the highlighter for the parts that are the freshest, the most focused. Focus in on the aspects of your description that you feel the most fresh and original.
  • Use the red pen on the weakest parts of your work. Tweak the bits that could be improved and delete those that need to go.
  • Some of the writing will be in the form of lists of words – use as much of your list in each case as you like – but also change and embroider it. It’s fine to re-examine the object or scene (if that’s possible).
  • Don’t feel this has to be a perfect, definitive descriptive piece. Just attempt to make a draft that you feel happy with.
  • Name and save your work.


This exercise should take you at least two hours.


People passing during breakfast

He was small for a bloke, elderly. He had a long, long stride looking like he meant business. He walked with intention, ramrod straight, even leaning back slightly. He moved very quickly this marching wooden soldier.

I poured coffee into both cups.

She ran slowly, laboriously, into the gale, each step an awkward movement seeming reluctant to take it. This was a young woman, not a runner but running, as if she felt she should on a wet and windy Saturday morning.

“Do you want more toast”, I asked.

“Just another slice, please,” he said.

This one was limping – a left hip problem, maybe. Her eyes were down oblivious to the stunning scenery – perhaps she sees it every day. She stooped forward, troubled by more than the strong wind. Her dull face, wet, red and frowning her body language speaking of problems. My husband looked across, “That’s Carol”, he confided, “she has cancer”.

I finished my coffee in silence.

Two young men, flowing the opposite way, athletes in hi-vis trainers, running with the same sinuous flow as the water now pouring down the window. Their liquid movements in total harmony, they float by effortlessly, the wind on their tail. One turns and laughs, they are brothers, you can tell. He draws his arm across his wet face to wipe the rain into the crook of his elbow.

“I think the rain is easing off, shall we take the dogs out now? “I say.


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