A Recent Writing Exercise: Beach Prompt

Some time ago I pulled this prompt from Writer’s Digest University’s “Showing Character Emotion“. As an exercise I recently wrote a snippet in response.  It resonates with me because of the beach experiences of my childhood. The snippet is in draft form; I’ll be returning at some point to polish it by convey more emotion, directly and indirectly.

“Create a character who’s favorite place is the beach. Describe her thoughts as she stands on the sand and looks out at the ocean; use specific, imaginative, and active verbs.”

My response:

Her strands of hair moved as if with a will of their own. The hot sun beat down from overhead, but the wind careening at her, flattening her sundress against her legs, cooled. She curled her toes into the sand, relishing the pressure of the sand against her arches. Sea gulls arched and glided over the waves in front of her. Their raucous cries carried over the pounding of the waves.
She had missed the water – the way the waves rolled in, one after another in an endless stream, the way the sunlight made the water dazzle. The corners of her mouth twitched and tugged upwards. She could feel the long-tense muscles in her neck and shoulders start to loosen their tense hold.
The scent of salt welcomed her as she breathed the air deeply. In every other windy place she had lived, save one, the smell of salt in the air had been absent. She had missed that, too.
She was alone, but, then, she tended to feel alone even when she wasn’t. The faint smile tugging at her face changed to a grimace. She shrugged. Doing a slow pirouette of a turn and breathing deeply, in and out, she took in the shoreline, the far-off buildings the dunes, before returning her gaze to the waves.
Grateful. She felt grateful.
It was good to be back.

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