Posted in writing

Nannowrimo Warm Up Exercise #19


Set your timer for 3 minutes and write a story. Then ask questions about it. Here is mine:

She stood on the shoreline looking out at the breaking waves and at the sun slipping into the sea. Taking a deep breath, she failed at shrugging off the weight of the stresses of the day. So without thinking, she took another deep breath and dove into the awaiting ocean. The undertow was strong, and the waves were rigorous. It took all her skill, her strength, and her concentration to swim purposefully toward the floating pier. This was what she needed – to solely concentrate on the moment, the now.

 He stood on the deck sipping a tall, cold one. It has been a long, dusty day. He looked out to the sea, taking in the sunset and all its colors. Then he noticed the woman on the shoreline. She breathed deeply twice and then dove into the sea. What was she thinking? Didn’t she know the dangers of riptides and rogue waves this time of the day? Was she trying to kill herself?

The last idea stopped him cold. He jumped over the railing that held the wind break glass barrier in place and ran toward the shoreline. Leaving his deck shoes on the sand, he dove into the foaming water and began swimming furiously toward the woman. As he swam, he wondered about the woman.

Who was she? What troubles created such weight shoulders and such deep breaths, such solitude and desperation. And what was he doing swimming like a maniac toward this unknown woman? Who did he think he was – Superman?

  •  Who are you in the story?
  • Who is the other person?
  • What does the swim mean?
  • What does the floating pier represent?
  • What does the misguided rescue represent?

True story: 10 minutes after I finished this exercise, a friend called and asked me to go to the shore for dinner.



Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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