Writing fiction is best illustrated in terms of examples. Here is an excerpt in which I employ several of the features of “creative writing”, another expression for “fictional writing”.
Bridie, in the pink calf-length dress, tight-belted at the waist, and raised up on stiletto heels, was the belle of the ball, her dark hair twirling. She’d noticed the man, towering over most of the other men at the dance, as she’d entered the hall. It was hard not to notice him.
Bridie had no time to accept or to refuse his invitation; he’d spotted her as soon as she came into the hall, and swept her up in strong arms and guided her around the dance floor with confident strides. She thought she could feel his heart pounding against her breast, as he swirled her around the corners of the dance floor, holding her tight.
She looked up into his shiny face and realised that he was good-looking. Muscular with moulded features. His thick dark hair had a russet tinge. His eyes lit up now with a spark.
A thrill ran though her body at the sight of the rugged features beaming down at her. Warm hazel eyes and…those lips… She couldn’t take her eyes off his mouth. There was something about the intelligent bearing of the man, his self-importance; something manly and gentle all at the same time. So different from her loud-mouthed brothers. She felt that she had seen him somewhere before, had noticed him. He wheeled her around the farthest edges of the floor towards the door. Once outside, on the steep bank overlooking the river, he grabbed her in a fierce embrace and crushed his dry lips against her wet ones.
‘I don’t even know your name,’ Bridie stammered, savouring the touch of his mouth, dry and salty, and secretly wanting more. She pulled back.
‘Will Featherstone. It doesn’t matter, I know you, Bridie O’Toole.’
‘H.how?’ she stammered. ‘Where?’
At that moment, Johnny came out and joined them.
‘This is my…brother,’ Bridie shook a little as she tried to say names. ‘Will Feather…’
‘I know, Bridie, he’s my cycling mate,’ Johnny laughed.
‘Cyclone Johnny,’ said Will, shaking his hand with vigour. As if he and Bridie had not, a few minutes earlier, been locked together like one. An irresistible force.
Bridie blushed as she turned her wide pools of eyes, fringed with black lashes, towards Will. ‘Is that how you knew who I was?’
‘I’ve seen you for a long time, Bridie. I think… like… always I’ve seen you around the town. You went to the convent, didn’t you?’
‘Yes, that is where I went, Bridie exclaimed. ‘How did you know? Where did you go to school, Will?’
‘Karrana Public School. Then to the high school.’
‘You’re from the north side, then? Haven’t seen you about these parts at all.’
‘Yes, I live in Karrana,’ he said indicating with his hand, ‘directly opposite here … as the crow flies.’ He was pointing towards the river, way off through the gum trees, the same river she loved so well back at Hilltop.
‘Lucky you, then, Will Featherstone. That’s where I’d … like to live.’ She was nearly going to say “bugger”, when she thought better of it. He seemed a well-bred sort of young man.
‘I saw you once, years ago,’ he said, a faint image, infused with light, seeming to startle him. ‘You were walking along River Street, outside St Josephs’ wearing a navy tunic and a little beret perched on your head.’
‘That sounds like me,’ she said, ‘but… how could you remember, after seeing me just that once?’
‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you, even then. Twelve or so you must have been.’
Bridie smiled. It all fitted in so well with the image she had of herself. Everyone in the family telling her how lovely she was. With her long dark hair. A swan neck, they said. And the jealousy from other girls in her class. She even revelled in their envy, seeing it as further proof of her assets, rather than as something mean and nasty.
‘Another dance?’ And he swept her up in his solid arms once again, and she felt her perfume infuse his body, like heady flowers on her mother’s vines.
After that, no man managed to come between Bridie and Will. As they danced, and in between dances, Bridie told him about living with her mother and brothers since her father died five years ago. How her mother had ordered her older brother to take over the role of father, and how he watched her like a hawk. ‘Dadda was a lot easier,’ she said, ‘let me do whatever I wanted.’
Will told her about his family: his mother, father and two sisters. He told her how he worked in his father’s garage, behind the counter, and that he hated it. ‘Dad tries at every turn to show me neither fear nor favour,’ he said. He’d taught Will how to swim as a three-year-old by diving into the river with the child on his back. ‘I thought he wanted to drown me,’ he said, ‘but it toughened me up, I can tell you. When I was fifteen, I could dive from the footbridge into the river, a great yawning drop below.’
Bridie imagined the mother, anxious, running to take the petrified infant from her husband’s back.
‘Dad favours the girls,’ he said, ‘always has. Mum’s more for me, but I just want to get away, become independent.’
‘Why’s that?’ Bridie asked, wondering at the force behind the words.
‘Mum’s always wanting to know who I’m with, what I’m doing.’
How could this excerpt be improved? One suggestion is by including more dialogue in the interaction between the young couple at the dance. Instead of, “Will told her… ” this could be turned into direct speech, instead of past indirect, as in the example above.