Category Archives: exercises in style

The same story written in different styles.

The original Story:

The 8:08 train to London stopped at the platform under a wintry sky. A woman, who was dressed in a beige overcoat and black boots, got onboard and moved quickly to find a seat. Upon sitting down she was confronted by a man, with curly hair, who was holding her scarf that she had dropped. She blushed a little, said thank you. He lingered, it seemed like he had wanted to say something, but didn’t and walked off. The next morning they were seen exchanging smiles.

34 Last Letter First Letter

The last letter of the previous word is the first letter of the next…

Carriages stop platfom
Madame escalades
Scarf falls
She establishes seat
Then! Neckwear returned.
Dashing Gentleman!
Not talkative enough
Her reddening
Giving gratefulness
Suddenly young gentleman not there.
Subsequent time: exchanging grins.

33 Reverse lipogram

A reverse lipogram is a type of constrained writing where each word must contain a particular letter. In this text each consecutive word has the next letter of the alphabet. First word must contain a. Second word must contain b and so on.

After daybreak, carriages stand beside platform. Gloomy overhead, wintry.
Majestic, striking lady climbs onboard looking rapidly, quickly for seat.
Gentleman, unanticipated, arrives with extremely, curly, fuzzy hair bestowing scarf
dropped moments before. Thanking the samaritan justly, pinkness gently blossoms on
woman’s aspect. Quietly, bestower dawdles, wanting communication, however, walks expeditiously away, dazed. After daybreak (succeeding day) they fling glowing honest smiles.

32 The Letter D

Daylight. Dreary, dismal.
Direction downtown does downtime.
Dame’s dress: dusty drapery. Dame dashes, discovering davenport.
Duly, Don delivers dropped drape direction dame.
Dame directs delight, demonstrates demure diffidence.
Don doesn’t declare diddly, dilly-dallies, disappears.
Daylight. Dame, Don dealing delectation.

31 No Verbs

The 8:08 train to London, at the platform, under a wintry sky.
A woman, in a beige overcoat and black boots, on the train, on a seat.
Then a man, with curly hair, her scarf in his hand.
Her words of thanks.
The man, silent, awkard.
Her face, carmine.
The man, all of a sudden, absent.
The next morning, smiles.

30 The Letter C

Cold clouds covered creation.
City compelled carriages ceased.
Cream-clad chick climbed carriage-wards covering chair.
Curly-cut chap comes clutching clothing, cream-clad chick conceded.
Crimson cheeked chick conveys credit.
Chap’s chops closed; can’t converse.
Changes cold condition: canters.
Consequent commute chap casts contentment concerning chick, chick correspondingly casts contentment concerning chap.

29 Relative Clause

The 8:08 train, which was bound for London, stopped at the platform, which was full of people, under a sky, which was wintry.

A woman, who was dressed in an overcoat, which was beige, and boots, which were black, got onboard and moved quickly into the carriage, which was full but where she found a seat, which was vacant.

Upon sitting down on her seat, which was comfortable she was confronted by a man, who had hair, which was curly and who was holding her scarf, which she had dropped. She, who blushed a little, said thank you. He, who lingered but didn’t speak, soon walked off.

The next morning, which was the following day, they were seen on the platform, which was busy again and where they were seen exchanging smiles.

28 Past Simple and Past Continuous

As The 8:08 train pulled into the station a woman was waiting to get on. When the train stopped, the woman got onboard as the doors were still opening. Just as she was sitting down a man approached her. While she was wondering what he wanted, he handed her her dropped scarf. She offered thanks as the train doors were closing. While he was standing there like a lemon she blushed.
It looked like he was going to speak but he didn’t and walked off. The next morning while they were passing on the platform they exchanged smiles.

24 Pi (Pilish)

Pilish is a style of writing in which the lengths of consecutive words match the digits of the number π (pi)

It’s a grey, a bleak firmament so placed above.
The train trundles:
And so the commuter, lady, boards in winter wear
And she reclines,
sat on seating available there.
He suddenly, standing, with a misplaced garment,
a curled hairstyle; she reddening, gratified
her garment found!
A pause, dawdling so, gentleman waiting
then wandering away very quiet.
Following on,
the morning repeated,
a shared look:

23 No Letter E

That 8:08 morning train to London hung about on platform four; looking up you could spot a cold, wintry sky. This woman, who was sporting a brown coat and black boots, got onboard and ran quickly to find a spot to sit down. Upon sitting down, this guy, with curly hair, stood holding a scarf that this woman had lost without knowing. With a slight crimson glow, said woman said thank you. But this guy stuck around a bit, possibly hoping to say a word or two but didn’t and swiftly split. That following day: both smiling on platform.

22 The Letter E in every word

The eight-minutes-gone-eight passenger vehicle, direction ‘the smoke’, stopped beside the elevated concrete under grey winter skies. One female, wearing her beige overcoat over darkened footwear, embarked before heading speedily seat-wards. While resting her backside, one male, whose hairstyle coiled, approached her. He held her neckwear she’d dropped unaware moments before. She blushed somewhat, offered her gratitude. He lingered, seemed like he wanted some conversation however, he maintained silence before stepping aside. The next daybreak they were seen exchanging smiles.

21 Alliteration

The sunrise city service stopped at the station under a silvery sky.
A woman, who was wearing an off-white wardrobe with waders, wormed her way in and went with whip to where waited a window seat. Simultaneous to sitting on said seat she was suited by a swain with spirally strands who sent back her scarf she seemed to have scattered southwards.

Beauty blushed a bit, but blessed the beau. He lingered, longing then lurched off. The subsequent sunrise they were seen sending smiles.

20 Simile

The 8:08 train to London stopped at the platform under a sky as wintry as a frozen windscreen. A woman, who was dressed in an overcoat as beige as a sandy beach in southern climes and boots as black as a river of spilled ink got onboard and moved as quick as a dolphin dancing through the waves to find a seat. Upon sitting down she was confronted by a man, with hair as curly as a bowl of kale who was holding her scarf that she had dropped like a handkerchief in olden day films. She blushed a little the colour of pink sky in the morning and said thank you. He lingered like a pimple, it seemed like he had wanted to say something, but didn’t and walked off as quick as he had arrived. The next morning they were seen exchanging smiles.

19 Triolet

The man had returned a scarf she had dropped
Onboard the 8:08 train
But he didn’t speak and away he had hopped
The man had returned a scarf she had dropped
She had blushed and then time had stopped
Then they had smiled the following day
For the man had returned a scarf she had dropped
Onboard the 8:08 train

18 To Do List

Get on train
Find a seat
Blush when confronted by man
Say thank you to man
Smile at the man the following day

Get on train
Pick up scarf
Confront woman
Give scarf back to woman
Linger, say nothing
Walk off
Smile at woman the following day

17 Text Speak

Da 8:08 train 2 LDN stopD @ da pltfrm undR a wintry sky. A wmn, hu wz dressD n a beige overcoat n blk boots, got onboard n muvD qkly 2 fnd a seat. Upon sittN dwn she wz confrontd by a mn, w curly hair, hu wz holdN her scarf dat she had dropD. She blushed a lil, sed thx. He lingered, it seemD lk he had wntd 2 sa somit, bt didn’t n wlkD off. Da nxt AM dey wer cn xchangin :)s.

16 Film Trailer

(Fade from black) to clip of train rolling into station. (fade to black)

VOICEOVER: “It’s another day on the commute to work”.
TEXT ON SCREEN: From The Consequences of Inspiration…

(Fade from black) to clip of woman watching train as it rolls into station (fade to black)

VOICEOVER: “The wintry sky reflects the ordinary.”
TEXT ON SCREEN: …Comes an astonishing first movie production

(Fade from black) to clip of woman getting onboard train (fade to black)

BLACK SCREEN VOICEOVER: “But today is different..”

(Fade from black) to clip of the scarf falling (fade to black)


(Fade from black) to clip of man staring at woman. (fade to black)


15 Unreal Conditional

If the 8:08 train hadn’t stopped, she wouldn’t have got onboard.
If she hadn’t got onboard, she wouldn’t have dropped her scarf.
If she hadn’t dropped her scarf, he wouldn’t have picked it up, given it back and she wouldn’t have blushed and said thanks and he wouldn’t have lingered awkwardly and then walked off and the following day they wouldn’t have exchanged smiles.

14 Sonnet

Was eight past eight when came the morning train
As under wintry skies onboard she went
Black boots beige coat played out the so mundane
But this was no run of the mill ascent
For as she got onboard her scarf so fell
without her knowing it was then in hand
A man had picked it up and just as well
For now he went to her and made his stand
Returning it to where she had sat down
A blush, a smile, thank you was sent his way
He stood, quite still and felt much like a clown
Could not utter a word as off he made
When next they met upon their morning trials
They saw each others eyes and traded smiles

13 A Play

Scene ONE
 (on the station platform)
A train pulls slowly into the station under a wintry sky at 8 a.m. in the morning

Scene 2
(platform / train)

WOMAN dressed in beige overcoat and black boots, not smiling, gets onboard quickly. Her scarf falls off behind her.

MAN following behind bends down and picks it up.

(train carriage)

MAN approaches WOMAN who is sat down and hands her the scarf.

WOMAN: “Thank you.” (looking at man, blushing a little)

MAN stands for a couple of seconds, suggests he wants to say something but doesn’t, makes his exit.

(platform the next morning)

MAN and WOMAN exchange smiles when passing.

12 One Syllable Words

It was just past eight of the hour and the sky was grey as the train came to a halt. A girl, who wore a beige coat and black boots, got on the train and with haste found a seat. As she sat down she was met by a guy with curls in his hair, who held her scarf that he had seen fall as she got on the train. Her face went quite red as she said thanks. He stood for a while but said not a word and then he went off. The next day their eyes met with a smile.

11 Horatian Ode

Oh scarf! belonging to her
on the 8:08 train that morning
you fell gentle from her shoulder
while winter skies were yawning
Yet you were found amidst the rush
And returned by a man who stood a while
in fact lingered for something like forever
Oh scarf, you had made her softly blush
and the next day they at each other smiled
Was it your plan to bring them together?

09 Reported

An observer of the event at the time (a male commuter) said that it had happened onboard the 8:08 train. He said that the weather was wintry and that the woman in question had been wearing a beige overcoat. He said that as she had got onboard, she had dropped her scarf and that a man close behind her had picked it up. The commuter continued by saying that there had been a giving back of the scarf just after she had sat down. The woman had apparently blushed and the man, who had curly hair, had been at a loss for words before he walked off. The next morning the commuter told us that he had seen them smiling at each other but no attempts had been made at conversation.

08 Metaphorical

Soon after dawn, under a sheet of cold iron, a brown female rat squeezed into a toilet roll with others of its plague bound for the sprawling metropolis.

When snug, the rat was opposed by another of the plague. This one, a male with a coiled tail was returning her neck wrap, which she had unknowingly abandoned.

Her face, a sudden soft rose left him stuck in the mud, on mute, before he hopped off.

1335 minutes later, two motionless lighthouses were observed beaming at each other.

07 Fortunately Unfortunately

Fortunately the 8:08 train was on time.
Unfortunately a woman dropped her scarf as she got onboard.
Fortunately she found a seat.
Unfortunately she was confronted by somebody.
Fortunately it was a man who had picked up her scarf.
Unfortunately she blushed.
Fortunately she said thank you.
Unfortunately the man lingered too long and said nothing.
Fortunately they saw each other again the next morning and exchanged smiles.

06 Word Play

I inserted the following random words into the story. In order.
(spring / medicine / trailer / bus / madman / well / junk / resort)

The 8:08 train stopped at the platform under a wintry sky. A woman, dressed in a beige overcoat and black boots got onboard with a spring in her step and moved quickly to find a seat.

Upon sitting down she realised she had forgotten to take her medicine that morning as she was confronted by a man who was holding her scarf that she had dropped. It was like a trailer for a film. She blushed a little, said thank you. These kind of moments couldn’t happen on a bus she thought. It had to be a train.

He lingered, it seemed like he had wanted to say something, but didn’t. He felt stupid, like some kind of madman as he walked off. The next morning, surrounded by the junk and debris of everyday life, they were seen exchanging smiles that lifted their spirits for a moment much like looking at beach resorts in glossy magazines does.