Hampton Roads Writers


From Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady:

She was a neat, plump person, of medium stature, with a round face, a small mouth, a delicate complexion, a bunch of light brown ringlets at the back of her head and a peculiarly open, surprised-looking eye.

The following writing assignment is known as a permutation exercise. Using the above sentence/paragraph as your model and preserving the syntax as it is, you must vary nouns, adjectives, and/or imagery, etc.

For example:
He was an imposing, bony person, of gigantic stature, with a squarish lantern of a face, teeth like disarranged pegs, a moon-white complexion, not a single hair on his well-oiled head and a peculiarly intelligent half-lidded stare.

Do as many permutations as you can in fifteen minutes. When you've finished, circle the one you like best.


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