Weekend Writing Warriors: 7th July 2013

Firstly and for anyone that stumbles upon this post who isn’t part of the fabulous WeWriWa group already:

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog-hop. Each week, participants sign up HERE at Weekend Writing Warriors, then post 8 sentences of their work, published or unpublished, to go live between 12:00 noon Saturday, and 9:00 AM Sunday EST. Then we visit each other, read, comment, critique, encourage–all those great things that do a solitary writer’s heart good.

Secondly, my eight sentances this week are from a piece called ‘A Lack of Color’ that I posted last weekend in honour of UK Armed Forces Day. It is a look at BBC Sherlock’s John Watson right at the start of the first episode of the first series, when he is dreaming of his experiences on the Afghanistan front line. I’m hoping for some thoughts on the realism of this, since I’m currently trying to pull together an original novel set in the Afghanistan conflict and this was sort of writing practice for that!

It is quiet. Too quiet. Somewhere off to the left a door creaks in response to what little wind there is but there are no sounds to indicate this cluster of buildings are still occupied.

Doesn’t mean they’re empty, though.

He smiles broadly, not caring that his dry lips crack and split; there isn’t anywhere he’d rather be or anything he’d rather be doing.

Staring out from under the rim of his helmet he squints through midday heat, that creates a shimmering haze above the golden beige dust of the rough roadway, to focus on what is hemming them on the right; a stone specked, clay coloured ditch, rough hedge and the lush fields beyond. He’s aware that it’s beautiful – the chest high crop of poppies a verdant green interspersed with flashes of white and purple flowers that glint and glimmer in the glare of the white bright sun that floats high in the startling azure sky – but that isn’t what he sees.

All John’s appreciation for the landscape is set aside as he focuses on spotting the hints of clothing between the covering greenery that would indicate the presence of dickers or actual insurgents.

NB: A Dicker is an Afghan local who has been paid by the Taliban to spy on the soldiers and report their movements so the Taliban can attack and ambush them more accurately.

If this snippet has intrigued you enough to want to read the rest of the story, it can be found here – please feel free to leave comments on the whole thing there as well as comments below on the eight sentences.

14 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: 7th July 2013

  1. Well it seems pretty real to me! From the bits I've heard from soldiers, most of them are so dedicated and focused on the job at hand that John's feeling of not wanting to be anywhere else seems to fit.

    And I think I know what you mean by being aware of something in your vision but not being distracted by it.

    I like this excerpt 🙂


  2. Intense. Very descriptive. I think the colors do stand out when a person is in a stressful situation. Makes me wonder if he's on patrol alone or where are his comrades?


  3. I love how this soldier notices beauty in the midst of searching for and identifying insurgents. I have two nephews in Afghanistan but from their Facebook posts it just sounds like all they want to do is come home. So this soldier, seems to me, is unique… that he loves his job. Whether it's war or a desk job on the home front, it's unusual to find someone who loves their job, so I really like this guy and want to find out what happens to him next! I wish I could help more with the realism, but I don't have experience and my nephews aren't allowed to share much on Facebook. Good luck!


  4. Thanks so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it. And it's funny isn't it, with the colour of the poppies. I always thought of them as red until I started looking into the Afghanistan conflict and the poppy harvest and discovered that the opium poppies are often purple or white.


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