Monday Morning Blether

Trying to Emulate Hilary Mantel

Description must work for its place. It can't be simply ornamental. It ­usually works best if it has a human element; it is more effective if it comes from an implied viewpoint, rather than from the eye of God. If description is coloured by the viewpoint of the character who is doing the noticing, it becomes, in effect, part of character definition and part of the action.

Hilary Mantel

Pete and Suzi have a slightly uneasy relationship, they are quite different people. They planned to meet tonight, but due to a misunderstanding each has gone and let themselves into the other's apartment. Describe what each person's apartment looks like through the eyes of the other.

Suzi called out Pete's name but no one answered. She looked cautiously around, her first impression was that the place was abandoned, that he had taken all of his belongings and absconded in the night. There was a table and two chairs, a television on its stand, a single sofa that might have been newly delivered from a showroom, but no sign of life. There was no coffee cup, no clothes, no photos. A picture on the wall surely came from a hotel foyer, no one would have chosen it themselves. She put her head around the kitchen door and it was the same, all countertops and white goods newly purchased, no sign of plates, cups or food. She shivered slightly, pulled her jacket around her. The place felt cold, although a storage heater in the corner hummed away, masking only slightly the echo her heels made on the floor. She walked back to the front door in bemusement. It was an intrusion. She should leave.

Pete called out Suzi's name, but no one answered. He looked cautiously around, his first impression was that a party was in full swing, he had interupted an orgy. Plates, cups, clothes were strewn in every direction, on the back of the sofa, on the arms of chairs, the floor. They were not on the table tops only because there was no room. Ornaments, candles, photos were everywhere. Literally everywhere. He stood in amazement, unable to contemplate one would dust such a room. The wall was streaked with colour, images and forms of every description, none of which was hanging straight. He put his head around the kitchen door and it was the same. Surely the cupboards must be empty, everything was spread out on the counters in front of him. He walked back to the front door in bemusement, he couldn't even count the knick knacks and bric a brac by which he was surrounded. It was as if an entire life was laid out in open view and he hardly knew where to look. It was an intrusion. He should leave.