Qwiller Writing Room

Each week we give you writing activities based on a particular genre and invite you to share your writing with us to read, comment on, be inspired by and enjoy.

This is a place for all to share their stories.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Writing from within

We are going to experiment with a way to draw out your internal world in a creative way. Below is a piece of ‘free writing’ about the exploration of internal feelings. The phrase ‘I feel’ has been used to help access the internal world. You will notice I have used figurative language.

Figurative language is language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. The use of figurative language prevents the writing from being over emotional and sentimental.


As you read the example of writing from within, take note of how figurative language is
used to express feelings. Think also of how grammar, punctuation and correct sentence structure are secondary to allowing ideas to flow.

I feel the longing in my feet squeezing my veins gently like the rhythm of a heartbeat, the hole in my heart seeping out air at a rapid rate, the light that constantly burns in the tips of my fingers like a candle almost expired. I feel the pain sitting on your shoulder making you snappy, it sinks into my gut and sets up home, even though I scream it’s not welcome. I feel the juices flowing freely past the mechanics of me within, delighting the senses, awakening them, making me hum vibrations.

I feel the echo of your voice from the ether soothing my sad eyes, mellowing the hollow gap in between breathing. I feel the soft sticky flesh of you like mango caressing my skin cooling the humidity. I feel the flow of the breeze whispering to greet me at the door and let me in.

Did you notice how sound and visual imagery, created through techniques such as similes, metaphors and onomatopoeia, give a sense of the internal world of the writer? The writer expresses feelings without needing to repetitively use words associated with describing feelings like angry, happy, depressed, frustrated, etc.


a          Free write your feelings right now using figurative language to describe the emotional impact they have on you. Through your language try to capture your emotions and the impact they have on you on some level.

You might like to start with ‘I feel’ but you don’t have to. You could start with a heading like ‘Black Rocks’ or ‘Heavy Rain’ or ‘Music Crushing’. Let the headings inspire the focus of your writing.

Write for five minutes continuously. 

Talking back to a text

‘Talking back’ to a piece of writing is a postmodern technique that opens up new ways of looking at an original piece of writing. It is also a process of creating new texts based on existing texts, which offer fresh perspectives on the original.


Below is a piece of writing that explores the unreliability of perspectives by critically ‘talking back’ to Berlin’s ‘Point of View’. We cannot believe with certainty any voice that is presented. This is similar to Berlin’s story where we are unsure of who the narrator actually is. As you read this piece consider how the writer positions the reader to perceive the narrator, but also present a different perspective on the character.

You might like to read Lucia Berlin’s ‘Point of View’. See the link below.

Saturday woke Henrietta up in the early hours of the morning. It rolled her over, peeled open her eyes and wouldn’t let her go back to sleep. 12:10 am flashed on the fluorescent green digital clock on the side table next to the bed. Her routine was annoyingly broken. The warmth of her new Intelligent Electric Blanket had failed to keep her asleep for the full eight hours she required to be alert and diligent during the day. Despite the cold she could feel in the atmosphere, Henrietta pulled back her covers and slipped out of bed. Her feet creaked on the wooden floors.

Hearing a car pull up outside she went to the window, pulled the curtain back. Foggy windows. She moved her hand back and forth like a car windscreen wiper. The warmth of her hand melted the steam, revealing in the streetlight the urban landscape and a car chugging to a halt. She watched intently.

The driver reclined his seat and took rest for the night. He tightened his jacket and crossed his arms then turned his head, as if forgetting something, to listen to the purring of cars in the distance. The moon cast foreboding shadows over the driver and lit up the back, revealing a child sleeping in a car seat, blankets strewn across the body. An old fashioned suitcase sat in the space beside the child like a passenger. It was even locked in by a seat belt.

She remembered a local news report of a father being accused of child abuse for sleeping with his son in a car. They were on their way to visit family and stopped off to rest for the night out front of an IGA, saving on a night’s accommodation.

They’re runaways though. She just knew it.


a          Choose a character in the story to write about. Below are some possibilities:
          the narrator
          Dr. B.
          the person driving the car     
          the old man in Chekhov’s “Grief”
          Shirley, Henrietta’s predecessor
b          What cultural ideas are being explored through the way Berlin represents this character. What are your thoughts about her perspective and the way she explores this perspective?
c          Talk back to ‘Point of View’ by creating a piece of writing from this character’s perspective (about 500-800 words) using an authentic voice. Reflect on Berlin’s perspective and the way she has presented this perspective in her story, but offer fresh insights into Berlin’s character.

You might also like to use similar writing techniques to Berlin such as raw description of the everyday, dialogue and the transcendental mixed in with description and truncated sentences.

Writing the transcendental

Writing the transcendental requires you to think differently. Accessing that which is outside the conscious mind will also help you to write the transcendental. You have also looked at how nature is often used symbolically to explore the transcendental.

Let’s have a closer look at what it means in writng.

  •  Refers to aspects related to the nonphysical realm, metaphysical or the spiritual
  • Modernism represents the thought that art and the imagination can transcend us to beyond the everyday
  • Allows the writer to link what is happening in the text to something greater in order to represent universal ideas.


Below is an example of how the transcendental could be incorporated into your writing. Take note of how the everyday experience of lying in a hospital bed has a greater significance when blended with the transcendental. Minute details also bring the scene to life.
Molly wriggled over onto her side and stared out the window onto the rooftops below. The moon crept up out of the verandah. Its yellowy arc, muted by the film created by the heat. The flow of it like lines on a map. Framed by the window. Like a grand painting occupying a wall. She wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand and rubbed her hand on the white linen gown.

Beside the bed lay a copy of Lord of the Flies. A patient must have left it there. It sat on top of the bible. A faded orange cover with a circular pair of glasses on the front. Piggy’s glasses watching. She felt him tumbling down the cliff, his bones cracking against the stone. The children watching him in shock at what they’d done. That they were capable of murder. She remembers her teacher pausing when she said this and looking at the class as if they too were capable of such heinous acts.


a          Think of a narrative you have already started writing. Write a list of ways you could incorporate the transcendental into your writing. You might like to add description to these things on your list. For example, the moon creeping up over the verandah.

b          Free write a scene including one or more of the transcendental aspects you mentioned above. Try to include the everyday and/or minute details in your scene writing.