The Writing Lesson


With my quill in hand, I attempt to put pen to paper writing on the occurrences of the day. Spontaneously, the ink splatters over my entire page. Where is the blotter? It’s here somewhere. I am sure of it. Could Cassandra have tidied up and stashed it away? Nasty, nasty girl. I must warn her. Meddling into my things is not acceptable.

Jumping up with a quick jolt, my apron pocket catches the corner of the table. The inkwell tips … black ink spilling unto the floor, blotter nowhere to be seen. Mama will be furious. ‘No supper tonight’ I can already hear her bellow. I fear the red room. I will be escorted to it and shall be ordered to sleep there overnight.

Scurrying up the stairs to find Anna, the governess, my eyes spring upon Cassandra. She is fast asleep on the carpet in Mama’s room, next to the cradle where Katie lies. Oh, that unscrupulous child. How can she sleep denying her duties of caring for Katie?

I returned to the mess I had just perfected, hoping to clean up before Mama’s return. I must be going mad. The blotter sits neatly on my writing table, ink-bottle in its cavity and paper strewn on the top. However, the mess has completely disappeared. Perhaps …..


What errors in writing have you noticed? Tense chances? POV issues? Anything to make this better in your mind?

The writing is intended to be 18 or 19th century style. Are there any words or phrases that would work better to make this more believable in that era?

Thank you for participating!







5 thoughts

  1. You do a pretty good job here, Drew. It’s clearly written but still maintains an air of that time period, Edgar Allen Poe-ish. I actually used the first paragraph of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” recently in one of my tutoring sessions, to demonstrate how physical descriptions can mirror a character’s internal spiritual state—bad idea. Analyzing that intro made us feel so depressed we had to make up a new story just to feel better, about escaping from a haunted diamond mine. Poe’s still a great example of the style and tone you’re going for though, he’s just profoundly gloomy sometimes. I think he wrote from the part of his soul that ached the worst.

  2. I think you did a marvelous job with this piece. The only thing is…now I want to know what really happened with the ink!!

  3. I also think that you did a marvelous job depicting the era. Before i noticed your questions, I thought I was expecting to read that the passage came from Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte. Well done.
    Also, I found the shift in tense subtle. It works well. …to be cont’d…:)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts

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