"When" Writing - Graduation

After practising our “what” writing, and then adding the element of “who”, we will now go a step further and introduce “when”. Today we shall be writing in the context of “graduation”. Place your mind into the scene and write descriptively for ten minutes using all of the senses. Have fun!

A long note, two short notes, building to more long notes, four-four time, the floor vibrating to the militaristic waltzing of soon-to-be breadwinners. No one thinks of Edward VII or Edward Elgar. The thoughts from the floor are filled with pulsating blasts of after-party bliss, a sun rising to forgotten poor decisions. The stands glow with pride, some moreso than others. The stale sweat is so thick, everyone can taste it. Loud whoops come occasionally from forgotten manners and uncontrolled larynges. Miniature single-story flat roof buildings balance atop a wave a ocean blue faux silk. The floor is smothered with girls and crossdressers, matching dresses from some supply store run by someone who has never had the opportunity to sport the wares. After the marching subsides, the tiny low-slope head houses launch ceiling-ward, ending up in confusion. The now-ex-students carelessly crush through the doors. The bum who lives outside the auditorium is excited, he will make his annual earnings tonight from taking a percentage of every alcohol purchase he makes for the younglings.

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Students proudly parade through the town, dressed in rented robes, walking a little straighter than usual, their heads held taller, like peacocks broadcasting their feathers. Handshakes and hugs blend a thousand perfumes. Shining jewellery and polished shoes reflect the sparkle of these blossoming young adults, intoxicated by their achievement. They have unclamped their worldly oyster, and now set off to find its hidden perl.

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I really like how you have re-captured the tradition of it, such as Edward VII and Elgar, and then acknowledged that all of this is lost on the students who just want to party. You’ve described their hype and excitement really nicely.

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Good job reflecting the students’ feeling of achievement, and comparing it to an ostentation of peafoul. And that blend of perfumes, is really vivid, like being stuck on an elevator with boomers. Ha.

Chairs line the halls like the terracotta army of ancient china, scratching the floors with lines similar to an oil paintings brush strokes throughout. Dust fills the room reflecting the light like the mist of morning waves rolling off the ocean, endless possibilities and opportunity awaits the newest lot of life adventurers. In they march to the sound and energy of proud parents, excited heartbeats begin thumping in unison. Anticipation building, the taste of freedom fills the room. Black fireworks of crippling debt fire towards the roof of the hall, initiating the young soldiers for the oncoming war.

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Your first sentence has good imagery, but you could try to tie it together a little more. Instead of a terracotta army, you could say they were lined up like the attendees at the Last Supper or some other painting reference so that the reader is enveloped in the art atmosphere within the line. I really like both images, but they don’t tie together clearly, and are not different enough to make an ironic contrast. The ocean with endless possibilities is a really neat use of metaphor and symbolism. That is a good example of a sentence tying things together: the dust is like the ocean mist, and the students have an ocean of possibilities, so now the reader is enGULFed (pun). The black fireworks of crippling debt is wonderful and really fluid with the war symbolism. Nice writing.

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I really like the military aspects of it; the marching, the ceremony etc. It adds a really nice colour that after the training camp we are now sending these young soldiers out into the war that is the real world.

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I could feel the sweat pooling between my legs, the satin robe, and the plastic chair. My vanilla deodorant was working overtime, and I’m sure everyone could smell it. The sun was unrelenting, beating down and suffocating every person in it’s path. My breath felt labored. I squinted to see into the crowd, but it was all blurry against the harsh direct sunlight.
I felt lightheaded, and excruciatingly bored. Flies buzzed around, landing on my cheeks, unaware of the importance of this day.
A song played in my head as the speaker droned on, callings names. I rested my chin on my chest and heard my heart beating in my head. I twiddled my thumbs and observed the head of the person in front of me, studying their dark hair, dry scalp and neck scars.
Time felt as though it had stopped completely.

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The really nice thing is the constant contrast, sweat pooling (not pleasant) and satin (pleasant); vanilla (pleasant) and suffocating heat; boredom and importance; earworm songs and droning name calling… All of that builds a lot of tension which interests the reader. The labored breath and boredom are really good internal senses we have. The subtle tactile sense of resting your chin on your chest and hearing your heart beat (but really more feeling it) is really great for those subtle sensory jabs that pull us in.

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My back is a sponge, collecting sweat pressed from my gown, long, draping, suffocating. Hundreds of anonymous faces I don’t care about break my eardrums as we march, grasping the clammy hands of a trustee smelling of persimmon and urine, I taste victory as I collect my diploma and $50,000 dollars of debt, one of which I have no interest in while the other collects interest. Teeth grin and in a flash, I am pushed through the system, another cog in another machine.

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Some lovely not so lovely imagery! I like the cynicism of it, and the wordplay on interest. I don’t think you need “that I don’t care about”, this is telling us information that we want to be implicitly shown through the descriptions. But overall good job!

Hundreds on hundreds of chairs littered the floor disrespecting the out-of-bounds tape on the newly waxed floor. Giant overhead fanblades ran in the futile attempt at combatting a year’s worth of 2-a-day basketball practices and all the axe body spray that entails. No need to focus on those though, it was the occasion that mattered, John’s graduation. What a special day! My eyes narrowed scanning the conveyor belt for our special 5’11”, 190lb, black clad son. Unsuccessful in my search, I turn to the student designed leaflet counting past the A’s, B’s, and C’s until the X’s—number 67. The belt lurches forward after momentary pauses with American Taylorist efficiency. There he is, our special boy! Wait, I miscounted, he’s next. My voice harmonizes with another 20 or so woo’s and yeah’s, definitely more than most of the other kids got.

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(Sorry for replying so late but I am new to the site and feel I should add feedback when I post even if you don’t check this)

I think you don’t have to add some of the tell words when you’ve already showed us.
For example, “I could feel”, “My breath felt”, “I’m sure everyone could smell it”, “Heard my heart”.
Even just changing these around slightly makes for a more confident read and more showing imo.
“Sweat pooled between my legs, the satin robe, and the plastic chair.”
“My vanilla deodorant was working overtime, and everyone smelled it”
“My breath labored.”
“My heart beat in my head”

Often, the audience can assume enough through showing so we can use that to our ability. Use words confidently and use the audience’s brainpower to your advantage. :slight_smile:

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Ha, I love the starting line that places us squarely on a basketball court. What a great image! The sweat and Axe really paint a wonderful olfactory sense too. Comparing the procession to a conveyor belt is a super impactful metaphor. And the final sentence does a great job of showing us that pride that a parent feels (thinking that the cheers for their son were definitely more than the others regardless of the reality). This is an amazing write up!

The Sun woke up under the grey sheet of clouds, looking down upon the flock of students in orange. There seems to be a strange activity going on down there. Eager kids rambling in unison, bodies interlocked, hands over each others shoulders, joyous laughter echo from the empty halls. Hundreds of caps taking wings, in a futile attempt to touch the sky, in a hope that the gentle autumn breeze would carry them, caught in the hands of students. Students jumping, stomping on the ground before someone can capture them mid air.

loud whoops from forgotten manners is a really interesting way to emphasise the excitement of the students.