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"A Little Scene" & an Announcement

I'm going to be a jerk and make you wait until the end of this post for my announcement. teehee

Exercise #64 : "A Little Scene"

The aunt loves to play the piano, but she has arthritis. Her niece comes to visit. The niece offers to play the piano. Write the scene.

This seems very mundane to me. Or... at least it has the definite ability to be verrrrrrrrry boring. So I guess I'll just try to spice the crap out of this prompt and try to add as much conflict as possible.


Maria Petrakova slid her hands gently over the ivory keys of her antique Steinway. The keys were well-worn, but that was to be expected. She had played on it since she was young. Closing her eyes, she began to play Rachmaninoff's Nocturne - op. 10, n°1 - feeling the music rush through her like a tidal wave, making the tips of her fingers tingle with excitement. A few minutes into the piece, she neared the climax. The notes became more dense, the dynamics rose dramatically, her breathing intensified, but she could not continue. Her hands, crippled by severe arthritis and age refused to go on, spasming in protest. With a sigh, she removed her hands from the piano and lowered the lid to cover the ivories.

A few seconds later, there was a knock at the door. Raising herself from the piano bench, Maria walked to the door and opened it to reveal her niece, Amelia, smiling brightly with a bouquet of flowers wrapped in cellophane.

"Hi, Aunt Petrakova!" she beamed.

"Hello, dear," she said. "Those flowers are lovely."

"I know, right? They're from Mom and Dad. Where do you want them?"

"I'll take them," she said. "Come on inside."

Maria took the flowers and disappeared into her kitchen to retrieve a vase which she then placed on her coffee table, the flowers triumphantly bursting from the mouth. When she looked back up at her niece, Amelia was looking intently at the Steinway, slowly perusing its glossy surface.

"I've had that piano since I was a little girl," she said. Amelia was startled by her aunt's comment but immediately smiled.

"Really?" she said. "It's beautiful. Mom and Dad had me start piano lessons a few years ago, and, you know, I actually really love it."

"That's wonderful to hear."

"I actually heard you playing as I was walking up to your door," Amelia said sheepishly. "I stopped and listened for a little while, but you stopped so suddenly that I thought you'd heard me so I knocked." She chuckled as she looked at the ground.

"Oh, no, I didn't," Maria said, looking at her enlarged knuckles, the twisted fingers. "My hands. They've just gotten too old for playing the songs I used to play so well."

"Oh," Amelia said. Her cheeks blushed slightly. "Would you like me to play something? I'm not nearly as good as you, but I have some songs memorized." She looked earnestly into her aunt's eyes.

"Of course!" Maria said, a wide smile blossoming upon her face. "I would absolutely love to hear you play."


I liked that one. :) And it makes me miss playing the piano. I should get on that.

And now for my announcement!


I will be taking part in NaNoWriMo in November!! Oooooooooohhhhhh... hah It's something that I've hesitantly thought about taking part in it for a few years now, but my trepidation of the whole idea (writing an ENTIRE novel - at least 50,000 words - in a single month) overwhelmed me. As a result, I chickened out. So this November I will be driving myself crazy with this lofty goal for the first time ever! Ahhhhhh!!!

Is anyone else taking the plunge into NaNoWriMo? Or are all of you seasoned veterans with years of 50,000-word novels under your belt? Do you have any sage words of advice for us newbies who are scared out of our minds?

Would love to hear your viewpoints! :)



Yeah, the NaNo will be a real challenge. I too am a NaNo virgin. I haven't signed up yet, but am leaning in that direction. I have a story idea, but was hoping to be farther along outlining the thing. Biggest issue it balancing that with family time and a 42 hour work week.

Perhaps we can set up a club to whine together...
GunDiva said…
I'm not that brave yet. Good luck and keep us posted as to how it's going. I'm just re-wetting my writing feet, so maybe next year I'll jump in with both feet instead of just splashing around.
Roni Loren said…
Good luck with NaNoWriMo! I'm not sure if I'm up to that many words in one month. I just finished a 55k novel and it took me a solid couple of months.
Stef Howerton said…
Alan, a whining club sounds like a great idea!!! :-D You're a lot further along than I am for NaNoWriMo. I mean, I have an idea... sort of... but not really... haha I did the math, and in order to finish, you'd need to write approximately 1,666.666 (etc) words per day. Totally doable! And when you get on a roll, you might even get to finish ahead of time! From what I've heard, it's mainly about moving forward without self-editing. Who cares if your first draft sounds like crap? Write it and then go back and edit it! Just as long as you get the basic idea down on paper. :)

I'm very optimistic, but I'm sure that will change soon enough. hehe

Thanks for your comments, guys!
Hey, Stef - good luck with NaNoWriMo

There are so many great dramatic scenes set around the piano, aren't there? I think of things like The Page Turner and The Piano Teacher.

Maybe I'm having a weird Thursday, but I se this scene as one of reciprocal cruelty (I can almost SEE Bette Davis!) - the niece rubbing salt into the aunt's arthritis; the aunt leaving shards of brk=oken glass between the keys she knows her niece will have to play at the end of the piece shje asks for, severing a tendon and a dream in one.
Stef Howerton said…
Wow... That's just... wow. Cruelty, thy name is Agnieszkas Shoes! hehe That would make for a terribly interesting scene, however. :)

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