Exercise 0004 – Language Use


Writing Exercises for Creative Fiction Writers

(Characterization, Prose, Style, and Language)

3.  Write a scene of a short story without using any adjectives. How does your approach to description change when you are unable to rely on traditional modes of description? What aesthetic choices does that limitation encourage you to make? (I dislike being unable to use adjectives. Limiting adjectives seems to slow down pacing and lessen description-clarification leaving the writing to be more open for the imagination, but yet not stimulating visualization directly, I am – also – not used to excluding them :I).

Marigold awoke like every day. First, she uncurled her limbs. Then, she reached upwards to the sky. The sun shone in her face. Dew clung to her body.

Something was different about today. The moisture in the air felt different. Twisting in the wind, she realized. She wasn’t rooted to the ground anymore.

Rubbing her eyes, Marigold couldn’t believe it. Instead of roots, she had feet. Instead of leaves, she had arms. Reaching up, she gasped as she felt hair instead of petals.

“Huh?” The noise cracked from her throat.

What of her family and friends? She looked around. No, there were no other bodies with her. Just grass and moss and flowers. Slumping against a tree, Marigold sighed in confusion.

She wasn’t sure what to do with herself. She could go walking. But why would she want to? Marigold was content with her spot on the world. It seemed wrong to get up and leave. Still, would she have legs if she weren’t meant to use them?

After some thought, she stood and prepared to head across the field.

A step made her wobble. She almost fell.

Another step caused her to actually fall.

Marigold didn’t understand why the limbs weren’t working. In her life, she’d seen creatures walking on their legs and knew what they were supposed to do.

Wind blew across her skin. She rose to her feet again.

This time, her step was stable. Holding her arms out at her sides, she continued on her way.

4. Try to write one sentence (either descriptive or describing an action) more than three hundred words in length (without using conjunctions).  Now try to write a scene of similar length using sentences that are no longer than six words each. How did your use of language change as you shifted between these modes of writing? (difficult to do without using conjunctions since technically it’s anything that joins parts of a sentence together… but I went with as many obvious ones as possible. I feel like I just ended up using commas more, where if I edited, I’d make sentence breaks. 300 words is a lot for this! For the second part, I changed to present tense for a different kind of challenge.)

As the storm raged, darkening the sky, causing the world to shake underneath dramatically, demanding to be brought that which it had always wanted, what it craved, the storm was out upon its furious path with wind gusting around torn-apart firs and pines, the majestic trees had stayed up longer than the dingy houses, the storm recalled this with glee, surging with energy, it wanted the lives it came to claim, summoned from the deepest depths of the unknown and vast reaches of the human morphic psyche or what is better known, by the primal forces, as reality or sometimes, portals to where they could finally be nourished, fed by the sweetest – savoriest – tastes that exist, o, the human flesh pod, better than any plant on any planet in any galaxy, the storm crave it, the salty blood, if charming was a taste, that would be the meat of the human and the great storm demanded to once again get a bite from it, regardless of what the other forces might do or say or believe or anything of that nature, the storm did not care, even if the floods and quakes did not announce that they agreed, storm knew that they also could not help themselves, could not resist the satisfaction that came from devouring, consuming, claiming, and the other animals were okay, but they were not as sweet or vivid as the flesh pods, these humans that called to them, then feared them, watched them and spoke of them to one another with such fear, yet admiration, what else could the poor creatures do, but stand and stare when they come in direct contact with the fearsome primal energy that was Storm, what else could they do, they run when they slowly realized or not, when some would simply lay upon the ground or raise their hands in prayer, grateful to be sacrificed to the all-mighty Storm.


The storm rages, darkening the sky. The world shakes underneath dramatically.

It craves. Storm is upon a furious path. Wind gusts apart firs and pines. Majestic trees, no longer. Yet, stronger than the dingy houses.

Storm surges with gleeful energy. It wants more lives to claim. Summoned from unknown depths, vast reaches. The primal forces, summoned to nourishment.

The sweetest – savoriest – tastes that exist. O, human flesh pod! Better than any plant. Any plant on any planet. Any planet in any galaxy.

Storm craves it, the salty blood. The great storm once again demanded. Demanded human meat. Regardless of what other forces say. The storm did not care.

Flood and quake did not agree. Storm knew they could not resist. The devouring called to them.

The flesh pods feared them. They watched them, spoke of them. They had such fear, yet admiration. What else could the creatures do? They stand and stare. What else could they do? They run when they realize. Some lay upon the ground.

They are grateful, sacrificed to Storm.


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