Writing Wednesday: Dinefwr Literature Festival: Description Exercise

I attended a workshop recently at the Dinefwr Literature Festival, run as a taster for Literature Wales’ residential writing retreat Ty Newydd. I found the exercise very useful, and thought I would share it with you. It was intended for creating a poem, but I think it would work for prose description too.

Imagine you are looking through a window. Describe what you see, hear, feel, think etc. Take several minutes to get into the scene.

Now take seven steps and write two lines on each:

  1. What can you see through the window?
  2. What can you see if you look to the left?
  3. What is different about the scene?
  4. Describe the weather without naming it.
  5. What are you thinking?
  6. Someone else comes in. What do they say?
  7. What is your reply?


Here are my results. I’m not sure if they will led directly to anything, but maybe the first one is almost a poem.


I sit in the bay window in our living room.
Curtain pale gold, patterned, with the fancy gold swags I wanted for so long,
until we had a window big enough.
The terraced street is unnaturally quiet –
the students have gone home.
Soon the shouts and laughter of the few resident children
will echo back and forth along the street.
Now, it is midday and they are still in school.
I treasure the peace…
until a delivery lorry passes on the way to the shop around the corner.

7 Steps Exercise

Through the window lies the quiet street
terraced houses in a row.
To the left I can see the untidy bushes in next door’s front garden,
that annoy me every time I come and go.
The street is unnaturally quiet –
the students have gone home.
The street seems pleased, a bright smile on its face
the dull spring days have gone too.
Not a flower stirs, all basking in the peaceful warmth.
Each year I feel the parties and loud conversations will never end
it is always a surprise.
My husband brings tea, looks out and says,
Wouldn’t it be great if it was always this peaceful?”
I nod and smile, but then say,

What if we had bad neighbours?”


About Ann Marie Thomas

Married since 1974, Christian since 1986, 4 children, 4 grand children, disabled with fibromyalgia but was working almost full time until a stroke in May 2010 changed my life completely. Writing poetry and making up stories since I was a child, I only started to write seriously when my children were grown. My main ambition is to write science fiction, but along the way I got distracted by local history and poetry about my stroke. Taking early retirement gave me the chance to concentrate on my writing. My book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, was published in print and ebook at Easter 2012. The success of Alina led to the publication of Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John in September 2013, and The Magna Carta Story at Easter 2015. I am still writing science fiction - a series of novels called Flight of the Kestrel. For all my author news, see me author blog at www.annmariethomas.me.uk
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2 Responses to Writing Wednesday: Dinefwr Literature Festival: Description Exercise

  1. suesj says:

    I think the second is quite poetic. A useful exercise though for either. Thanks for sharing


  2. Thanks for the encouragement!


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