How to avoid Rookie mistakes

First write up: filled with cliches and trite phrases

Time moved slow as molasses. The passport line was never ending and the line stood still. Restless children wandered around desperate to find something to keep them occupied.

The passport office had only one man working behind the counter. Though several employees passed, who could have lent a hand.  The man at the counter moved slow as if in no rush at all. As the clock continued to tick onward the line continued to grow longer and longer and people grew more and more impatient. Children screamed and refused to sit tight. The end seemed so close, yet so far away.

People’s faces clearly showed their disappointment at the long wait. Their faces glued to the screens of their phones. While some became impatient, others took notice of those around them and tried to help. They demonstrated kindness when others would not have noticed. One man gave up his chair to a woman standing. Another opened the bathroom door for a little girl who was too small to reach.

Second write up

After counting 605 tiles on the wall there was nothing left to do but listen to the screams of children while trying to escape to a world behind the phone screen. Many waiting in line had moved only twelve inches in the past hour. Though several employees passed through the door behind the line of those waiting, only one man stood behind the passport counter.

People lined the wall of the dingy office as they waited their turn. The clock ticked onward. With each tick the line grew longer and more impatient. The cries of children and tired babes grew louder and shriller with every passing second.

As each new person entered the office their eyes scanned the line. Their eyes continued onward. Their brow furrowed. A sigh was heard as one woman trudged her way to the end. Along the row, nearly everyone was on their phones. Playing angry birds. Texting a friend. Headphones in. While several ignored those around them, a few observed.

A man in a black leather jacket stood to let the woman in line behind him sit down. A father opened the bathroom for a little girl who stretched and pulled, but couldn’t twist the door knob.

What I learned

When I was trying to come up with cliches it was almost hard. The words I used weren’t descriptive and though common allusions, didn’t say much about the situation. The second write up was easier because I used my own personal observations and used my own experience to help me tell the story. My writing style works best when I use specifics and my own thoughts. Sometimes writers think that cliches sound grand, but using specific details helps paint the picture for the reader and help them feel the scene. The difference is reading a story and understanding, verses reading a story and feeling it. Using specifics and details to tell the story through images is more effective and interesting. I will continue to try to incorporate specifics that otherwise would have been overlooked and not included in the story.


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