Okay my dear writers, time for a Wordplay!
Now for this Wordplay to work you will need a book that’s been on your reading list forever (read: all of you, being writers you must have stacks of unread books waiting to land on your head out of neglect) I want you to appease this angry god of neglected books and open a lucky book, page one. Now don’t start plowing through it just yet, just read the first paragraph* just nice and slow, like how you’d read to little kids, who would no doubt pester you to read Thomas the Tank Engine and not one of your boring grown-up books.
As soon as the last word of the first paragraph has been read, stop reading. Don’t skim your eyes over the rest, close the book, stop.
If you want read it again, then read it again, but no more.
Repeat until your grasp on it is quite good, and that you have some idea of what the second paragraph is like.
Then get out pen and paper, or put keys under your fingers and write out/type out said second paragraph.
If you are on a subway to work or to this writers group, even better, now you don’t have to stare at the other gormless commuters, hoping that the old weird guy trying to make eye contact with you isn’t going to try and sell you the secret numeric code of the Da Vinci Code.
Finish it and show it to your lovely and supporting North York writers for the next group meeting.
For those needy few who don’t have unread books I’m just going to assume that you read them faster than you can buy them (Hot tip: we meet at a library after all, and a librarian will weep for joy if you ask for their advice on what’s a good read.) then I got a couple paragraphs for you
This is authentic, Crystle thought. The turquoise scrubs, the sky-blue smock. The military watch and the brush cut. The man spoke slowly, deliberately, gestured emphatically with his hands. She noted the fine polish of his fingernails, his trimmed cuticles, the skin softened by constant scrubbing. This is a man who cares about his appearance, she thought. That’s refreshing; I could talk to this man.
Dom paused at the bottom of the hill, took a swig of warm water and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Above him the sun blasted down through the hard blue sky, harsh and yellow and hotter than anything he’d ever felt. Below him the desert sand and red rock told him nothing he needed to know, so he closed his eyes and rubbed the baseball in his pocket, muttering multiplication tables under his breath as he traced the stitching.
This exercise will let you get a feel for a different writing style, will let you read better, and in the end enhance your writing (not to mention supplement your daily word count if you have one)
BTW if you want to be awesome, why don’t you share what you wrote in the comments below? The first paragraph, your second paragraph and the original second paragraph, would be nice, and if you want the title of the story as well.
By a North York writer
*Note: If it’s one of those books written by an author with cute ideas and has no paragraph or the paragraphs are ungodly long or ungodly short, then just the first 4-5 sentences is cool.