It seems like everyone is doing a word of the year. This year, mine is “fiction.” I have been a freelance writer for 13 years and have written hundreds—maybe even thousands—of nonfiction blog posts and articles, but somewhere in the back of my mind is this dream of being a published novelist and children’s book author. That is never going to happen if I only write nonfiction.
So my big goal for 2021 is to try to write a little bit of fiction every day, even if it is only a writing exercise. Yesterday, I did a 15-minute timed writing exercise and ended up with this:
Trisha trudged slowly through the snow as she approached the main road, where she parked her car in the winter. She had cut through the yard instead of following the winding driveway. This path was not suitable for vehicles, but for walking, it was shorter and faster. She had snowshoes on to keep her from sinking into the foot of snow that covered the ground.
Suddenly, her right snowshoe caught on something and she fell forward. As she stood and brushed herself off, she noticed a bit of red fabric peeking through the snow. She used her gloved hand to brush away the snow, exposing more of the red coat.
She stiffened. It felt hard, like there was something inside of the coat. This wasn’t just a coat; it was a person. Frantically, she dug at the snow in the area where the head would be. She’d heard of people surviving for long periods of time in the cold. Maybe the person was still alive.
She brushed away more snow, exposing the victim’s slit throat. Definitely not alive. And definitely not an accident. She pulled out her phone and dialed 911. Then she continued walking toward her car.
She waited in her car until the police arrived, running the heater to keep warm. About fifteen minutes later, the first cruiser appeared, and she told the officers what she had found. She explained that she parked her car at the road during the winter because the driveway was treacherous, and she had been walking to her car when she stumbled over the body.
They asked her a few more questions, then took her number. They told her to keep her phone on in case they had any more questions, then proceeded to turn Trisha’s yard into a crime scene.
Do you have a word of the year? What is it?