Below you will find a page of fiction text. Your task is to copy it into a Word document and then print it out so it’s all on one page. Lay the page in front of you. Grab a pen and close your eyes. Let the pen fall onto the page. Circle the sentence that contains the word your pen has stabbed. Write about that sentence. Feel free to construct a story, rant, dissect, rearrange, or perhaps come up with a poem using that one sentence. It need not have anything to do with the characters or situation on the original page.
* * * * * * *
Randolph snapped his fingers for a servant who loosened and removed the corselet. His big head looked down at her, his blue eyes not moving about her face to examine it, but remaining fixed, his thoughts trapped elsewhere, impaled on memories. He shuddered slightly, as if buffeted by blows from an invisible hand.
Esmeralda waited, frozen to her small patch of ground, ignoring the men around her, and praying for a sign that might mean deliverance. Long silence filled the air in the hall like the echo of a message that has drifted away.
“Attend me in my chambers.” Randolph turned and walked stiffly to the door that led to his south tower.
Esmeralda’s muscles let go of their cold tenseness. New warmth rushed through her body. She wanted to run after him like a boisterous child. Instead she took a long breath and let it out before following his retreating shape. Her heart outpaced the measured rhythm of her feet on the stairs.
The heavy doors to his suite lay ajar, and she took that as a sign she might enter. She had never been allowed inside the rooms of the castle’s oldest tower. She gazed shyly around.
A fire had recently been lit in the wide hearth. The smaller tinder and branches burned and crackled, sending a roaring blaze up around the larger logs. A row of shuttered windows curved above the bare stones of the floor. The royal bed looked cold and hard with its deep red spread.
She looked about, hoping to gain warmth from her father’s personal possessions, but none lay about for her to pick up or caress. The room was empty of life’s clutter.
Randolph emerged from a curtained doorway wearing a draped robe of black, belted at the waist, and trimmed with a thin band of silver. He barely glanced at her when he walked over to the fireplace.
Esmeralda waited, barely breathing, hands clasped demurely in front of her, head down. She had never seen him without battle garb or ceremonial dress. In his soft robe, without crown or helmet, he seemed more human, less of the exalted person of the king. Heavy creases ringed his eyes; three vertical lines marked his forehead between the brows; whisker stubble shadowed his jaw.
He waved her toward the fireplace and held his hands out toward the blaze, warming them, speaking with his back to her. “Tell me what you want.” His voice held no friendly edge, no invitation.
She shut her eyes and absorbed the pain of his battering tone. This was the scene she’d imagined hundreds of times. She must take her chance no matter what the cost.