Writer’s Workshop #1 – A Box of Discounted Chocolates

It’s Fuck It Wednesday.

What’s that? Never heard of it? Well, let me enlighten you. Fuck It _____day is the day after Valentine’s Day. A day when all of the romance is over, and what matters is that Valentine’s Day chocolate is super discounted. And hey, maybe you’re on a diet.

But eh. Fuck it.

Why am telling you this? Well, I woke up today with an intense urge to turn one of my writing habits into an ongoing series here on the site.

You see, sometimes, I want to write, but I don’t have my WIP handy. At those times, I buckle down and write something insubstantial anyway, just for practice. As a really intense editor, one of my favorite aspects of writing is problem solving, so I often take these WIP-less moments to try to describe something I see in one clear, evocative sentence. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

But either way, I’m here today, on Fuck It Wednesday, to share a box of chocolates with you by trying to describe a few pieces in as few sentences as I can. Just to warm up before the day’s writing session.

My rules: I’m going to take more than one sentence here, because I think it’ll make for a better read. I’m also going to pretend I don’t know what some pieces are, because I’m a fantasy writer, not a food critic; my entire deal is describing new, strange things, not reporting on the quality of $9 nougat.

My hope: I get the one really, really gross piece before I’m done.

Let’s get to it.

First Piece:

wwi-firstpiece

Immediately, he knew he’d made a mistake. The first bite was anti-flavor embodied, coming in slow rushes as he chewed, making his own mouth betray him. There was chocolate, yes, but inside of it waited a clinging mass of chemicals. It tasted like a color. He decided that color was Pink 12, and somewhere, in the heart of a factory, a machine had been too generous with it.

Comments: Oh God. That was it–immediately. I got the gross one. I think it was supposed to be cherry, but it never is. Ugh.

Wait. Hold on. The box has one of those cheat sheets . . . “Roman Nougat.” There it is. When in Rome, eat disgusting candy.

Okay. Moving on.

Second Piece:

ww1-secondpiece

He expected to bite it, but broke it with his teeth instead. A fragile piece of candy that was oddly mute. Safe. Meant to be a buffer between him and its brethren, perhaps, but incapable of impressing on its own, without a doubt. It was only arguably remarkable in the shadow of other chocolates.

A strange thing for a piece of candy, he thought.

Comments: I think that was nougat? Wait. Checking the cheat sheet. “Chocolate Butter Cream.” Hmm. If you say so.

By the way, it feels weird to be giving this much attention to a box of chocolates. But, to be honest, I had no idea what I was going to write for this second chocolate, so at least I’m actually warming up.

Third Piece:

ww1-thirdpiece

It refused to be eaten.

He tried his best, even mouthing a determined grunt as the chocolate fought back. Eventually, he won, rewarded with a mouthful of chewy molasses, clinging to his teeth so long that he wasn’t sure the chewing was ever truly over.

Comments: That one was clearly caramel, so the challenge was not just saying, “It’s caramel.”

Although I’m finding it interesting that I’m getting weird with all of these. I guess it’s just my reflex to make descriptions strange? To personify chocolate and make it contentious?

Whatever. I’m having fun.

Last Piece:

ww1-lastpiece

He was off guard the moment he started chewing.

The candy wasn’t bad, but he had no idea what was in it. No, it was somehow worse than that. The candy didn’t want him to know what it was. There was a crunchy bit that made him think of almonds, but there was only the one–a ghost in a sharp affair of other flavors, all of them rushing in, too strong for him to taste anything but sweet.

Comments: Oh yeah, that’s my last piece. I’m assuming it was almond something? . . . “Chocolate . . . Butter Cream.” What the hell? Well, that was the last thing I expected to happen here. I realize now that this piece does look like the second, but they genuinely tasted really different.

Maybe that means the second piece of roman nougat isn’t as vile? I’m not gonna find out.

This last piece says a lot about paying attention to individuals in a group. Of not assuming that one leaf, for example, will look exactly like another leaf. I’m a big fan of paying too much attention to everything, so I’m glad to put an admittedly bizarre example of uniqueness out there–especially because experiencing it was so easy to miss.

Maybe I’m just being weird, but I would’ve had a much more boring experience if I’d just looked at the cheat sheet and known this last piece was chocolate butter cream before eating it. I’m glad I didn’t.

Especially because I think that, as humans, we naturally do that all the time. We know that each leaf is different, but we dismiss them as identical on a daily basis. I don’t want to get all meta here though, so I’ll just say this:

Don’t forget the small details. They’re beautiful and they matter.

~~~

And also, if you have a box of chocolates, why not have an existential crisis over it? That would make a weird afternoon, you say? I agree.

But eh. Fuck it.

As always, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this one; there will be more Writer Workshops in the future for sure.

Until then, thanks for passing by. And, as always, write well.

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