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Scene: Contemplating the Stranger

Exercise 3 – This is a creative writing exercise that I wrote in May of 2021.

Scene: Rewrite the following story…

I stopped short in front of the stranger. They sent me interrogate him, and I was on the case. I mulled over my approach. I didn’t want to judge a book by its cover, but this man looked very plain, like a stick in the mud. He had a chiseled jaw that seemed to look down on me. I questioned him, but all I got in response was a tight-lipped mouth and a stony expression. Something about him made me do a double take. I could not believe my eyes. This may be a round-about way of saying it, but I think someone pulled the wool over my eyes. The identity of the stranger dawned on me; he was no stranger at all. I was on a fool’s errand! He wasn’t even half the man I was; he was no man at all. He wasn’t just statuesque—he was a statue!

…replacing as many words with synonyms, sayings, or simply their entire definition.

I desisted from or paused in my course of action in front of the stranger. They sent me to interrogate him, and I was actively engaged in investigation. I turned over (an idea) in my mind; reflected, thought over, and pondered my approach. I didn’t want to make assumptions about someone or something based on appearance or on superficial characteristics, but this man looked very plain, like a person who is resistant to change; an unprogressive or unadventurous person. He had chiselled jaw that seemed to regard with me scorn or contempt. I questioned him, but all I got in response was a determinedly reticent or uncommunicative mouth and an expression having the character of stone or rock. Something about him made me at first react unexpectedly or inappropriately to a given situation and then, as if more fully realizing the implications, react in an expected or more usual manner. I was in shock and surprise at what I saw. This may be an indirect statement or expression, but I think someone made me blind to the facts. The identity of the began to be understood by me for the first time; he was no stranger at all. I was on a task or activity that has no hope of success; a fruitless undertaking! Like a shadow of what he once was compared to me; he was no man at all. He wasn’t just someone with the qualities reminiscent of a statue—he was a statue!

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