Alex Miller Inspiration

I’m reading Autumn Laing by Alex Miller, two-time winner of Australia’s premier literary prize, The Miles Franklin award. He writes beautifully, intelligently and with wit and like all good storytellers he understands how to keep the reader reading.

Last night I was just placing my bookmark into the crease of the page but my eyes flicked across a sentence that immediately kept me reading. I was very tired after a busy weekend, and sleep was beckoning, flirting, but couldn’t compete with the seductiveness of a sentence that had me reading for another half an hour.

‘Something of great importance to me happened two nights ago.’

Really? I asked myself, and of course I had to know. So today’s prompt is this sentence from Alex Miller. I think it’s a great opener, but if you want to incorporate into  your piece, that’s fine too.  Set your timer for 5 minutes or write about 500 words. If you’re looking for specific feedback, please let us know. Otherwise – enjoy the writing.

I chose to set my timer and see where my pen might lead me.

'Two Nights Ago'

‘Something of great importance to me happened to nights ago…

…It was, as these things often are, unexpected. The moon had  hung in the sky, a yellowish orb, casting light across the water. The boat wallowed, inelegantly instead of  skimming over the surface. He sat across from me, nervously pretending to busy himself with a sinker, threading the green prawn along his hook. He cast his line, cleared his throat and then said nothing. A disco boat, all UV lights and pink glow sailed by. The woo-hooing of the women shrill and penetrating. We both pretended not to notice.He glanced across at me as the disco boat rounded Peacock Point, leaving a pink fan in its wake.

‘Patience and quietness are what’s needed for fishing.

‘Yes,’ I agreed.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box of blue velveteen and placed it on the seat between us, ‘Good for a wife too.’

‘Yes,’ I agreed.

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9 thoughts on “Alex Miller Inspiration

  1. You have done such a great job with this. Beautifully written with such attention to detail.it really brings it alive.

    • Thank-you Kate. We live very near there, & My youngest had a school excursion there during the day – that’s the way my brain works! Although the gentle rhythm was not inspired by corralling 20 5 yo’s all morning!
      Jennifer

  2. Stunning piece. I love that the woman notices that the man is anxious, but doesn’t let on she thinks something is going to happen. I am a sucker for romance, and you killed it in this prompt. The relatable flow of your words is beautiful, and you did a great job with the prompt. My favorite part was that you didn’t put in a cliche proposal, but left it at the perfect time so the reader could really imagine the rest.

    • Claire, what a wonderful comment! Thank-you very much. Re the flow – I write with a pen on paper & I’m sure that, combined with the timer, really helps the flow of words.
      Jennifer x

  3. I love that this is where your pen led you. I agree with the other comments – your words have a natural flow and rhythm, I often find your pieces comforting, somehow reassuring and this was no exception. I could just keep on reading….

    I really enjoyed the “yellowish orb” and the link between fishing and a wife. Thanks so much for hosting, Jennifer! x

  4. Great job. I must admit I was not entirely sure I knew what your character’s final “Yes.” meant, but reading the others’ comments confirmed my suspicions, which in turn made me happy. I agree on you having done an excellent job at avoiding the cliché, something which I, at least, find extremely difficult when writing romance (and that’s one of the reasons I tend to avoid the subject).

    / Rain

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