Focus on Sound – #FlashFiction

The other day I was at the library browsing through the non-fiction section on the craft of writing, and I picked up Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft. I’m going through the exercises, which has been really fun so far, and I thought I’d share them with you over the coming weeks.

The first exercise is about focusing on sound (onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition, rhythmic effects, etc., but NOT rhyme or meter). What follows is a short piece of flash fiction that I wrote for this exercise.


The seaweed sits on the beach, strung like a strand of pearls of varying size and imperfect shape. A glowing amber against pale sand, soft and gritty between my toes. A slimy sheen reflects the blinding white sky. Fanned feathers create circling shadows of relief from the sharp glare. The deafening crash and whoosh of waves assaults the sandy shore, leaving uneven trails of salty foam wiggling across the tide line. Damp footprints cast from bare skin lead up and down and in and out of the surf, disappearing, melting away, then forming again, first soft, then more defined. A toe dragged in the sand draws a line, a curve, a face at once playful and knowing. Paw prints dance a swirling samba circumnavigating driftwood, punctuating the damp beach next to trailing vines of kelp. The aftermath of a crashing wave laps cool, salty water over exposed toes and stings the freshly cut skin of my sole.

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