Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Writing Exercise from Valentines Day

I've just dug this out of my notebook: I wrote it a couple of weeks ago at Writers Connect. Between the group of three, we had a sheet of paper each. We first wrote a character and age, then folded this back and handed the sheet to the next writer. On the next sheet we wrote a place. On the final sheet we wrote an activity, something the character is doing. With a final pass, we now had our scenario. I had Algernon Fauntleroy, a 12-year-old boy in Edinburgh Castle, and he's cooking.

He sharpens the knife and plunges it through the chicken, hacking off the bottom of the legs and eviscerating the spine. There is no adult to help him. Algernon Faunlteroy grips the bird by the outer sides and pushes his thumbs over the gaping wound in the bird's back, flattening it down. The collarbone snaps, echoing off the stone walls of the castle.

Edinburgh Council had assisted in funding the new kitchen, unblemished steel surfaces nestling up to the exposed uneven stones of the old castle walls.

It's really only instruction-following, he knows; anyone can do it. He carefully slices grooves into the skinless chicken, and firmly smears the marinade deep into the wounds, the extractor fans leaving only the faint odour of traditional Indian spices. Another contrast to the Gaelic setting. The walls slick with condensation, the castle kept the cold Edinburgh air out.

The Hairy Dieters Cookbook, something I've been dabbling with for a few years now, inspired the detail. I cooked masala-marinated chicken, a recipe from the book, some years ago now, and what I could remember found it's way in.

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