Exercise 3 for fiction writing course

The paragraph below is based on a very brief video clip. I’ve extended the description beyond what was in the clip. I noticed that the writing on the books was Japanese, so I placed her in Tokyo’s Shinjuku shopping district (a place I have visited years ago). The exercise was about using description to make a scene rich.

What do you think, is there potential in this little chunk? Does it make you want to read more?


She stood in the biology section of the bookshop, sandwiched between the bookcases lining the aisle. Her her fingers danced rapidly over her magenta phone. The corners of her lips tightened. She tipped her head forward, letting her hair fall around her face. A cloud of pink perfume wafted upwards, and there was a faint sound of air suddenly puffing out from her nostrils – not quite a snort. Where was Kazuo? He said he would meet her here half an hour ago.

There wasn’t even room to pace in the shop. She gave a little stomp and then slipped her earbuds in, turning up the volume as loud as it could go. That was better, a little bit of thrash. Then she strode out into the centre of the Shinjuku shopping district. The street was as bright as day, even though it was already 10pm. The neon signs made everyone in the street look like cartoon characters, in red and green and yellow.

She swung her arms at her sides as she walked through the crowd, and nearly bumped into an elderly gentleman on the corner. She wasn’t sure where she was going, and she didn’t even care. Coffee, that was what she needed. And maybe a new boyfriend.


Here is a picture of Shinjuku

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One thought on “Exercise 3 for fiction writing course

  1. Another exercise that links to this one:

    She was always too tidy, everything had to be lined up precisely, the paper lined up to the edge of the table, her fringe lined up to her eyebrows, his chopsticks lined up at a 45 degree angle to the corner of his plate. It drove him mad. He wanted to kick a pile of raked leaves in all directions over the pavement and grass, maybe break some twigs while he was at it. It was the right time of year, he could probably find some. Instead of heading to the bookshop, he turned into the park. He was prowling, prowling for dried leaves.

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