Setting The Scene – Delight at Dawn


This writing challenge is from Write On Edge .

Instruction :This week we asked you to take us somewhere . Where was up to you – fiction or creative non-fiction – but we asked you to use your words to paint the setting as vividly as possible . In 200 words . Here is a snippet (fiction) from a story I wrote a while back .

At the break of dawn , she negotiated the narrow , rocky path which led down to the water's edge . This rendezvous was a familiar daily routine . Running along the pier , swift and nimble , she jumped over the edge and disappeared , then re-surfaced to join a group of girls as they frolicked about in the water .

The sun's rays beamed as it hovered along the horizon , almost as if it were hesitant to disturb the girls at play . It revealed their irridescent bodies . Their fragile scales molded together , shimmered and twinkled as if composed of hundreds of precious stones . Their laughter reminded him of melodious bells , an aural delight . Drops of water glistened as they rose into the air . They arched their tails in the back-flip position and then slipped under the water , five graceful water gymnasts , bodies in perfect symmetry , in tune with the ebb and flow of their surroundings . It was a breathtaking moment .

They performed their ritualistic dance , slipping and slicing through the water to the sounds of unplayed music ; it was music that lived in their hearts and souls , undetected by the human ear ; music that united them , as ancient as time itself , passed down from their ancestors .


  1. John on October 8, 2011 at 12:18 am

    A group of dolphins, I imagine?
    The oddities in punctuation made this a bit difficult to read – is there a reason for the spaces before commas?

    • mish on October 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      No , not dolphins , mermaids . I don’t know why , but I’ve always typed punctuation with spaces … I just imagine that the work will appear less cramped … thanks for popping in .

  2. just words on a page on October 8, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Hey there – I wanted to stop by and tell you how much I enjoyed reading your meme.  I love snippets about water — I am not sure why I love water so much but I do.  Your descriptions were lovely:)

    • mish on October 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks so much . I suppose that water has a calming/therapeutic effect and that’s why you love snippets about water . I’m glad you enjoyed the piece .

  3. Carrie on October 8, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I'm guessing…Mermaids? I really love the imagery of them playing together in the dawn, surfacing for just a moment before disappearing again.
    I'm not sure if it maybe just the style of font used but there shouldn't be spaces before the commas. And it;s a bit long for one paragraph, maybe break it up into two?
    Beautiful piece, I'd love to see more of this story

    • mish on October 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      Yes , mermaids . Thank you for the concrit . I really appreciate it . I’ve sorted out the paragraphing problem . I will address the comma spacing issue as well .

  4. Galit Breen on October 8, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I adore the gentle cues that you give- scales, yes. But irridescent, shimmered, twinkled. Lovely, truly.

    • mish on October 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      I love words, especially the “sounds” of words. Thanks Galit .

  5. Cheryl @ Mommypants on October 8, 2011 at 4:30 am

    I liked the image of the mermaids. I'm also wondering who is watching them?

  6. Kimberly on October 8, 2011 at 4:58 am

    I'm guessing they're mermaids? I like the imagery you used here to create this scene. It makes me want to jump in the water!

  7. Anastasia on October 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I love the imagery, I can see the sun and the water. I am confused, are they mermaids? How did she run on the pier then? I know it's just snippet, but I'm curious! 🙂

  8. earlybird on October 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    A lovely picture… I particularly liked this: 'Their fragile scales molded together , shimmered and twinkled as if composed of hundreds of precious stones '

  9. Debbie on October 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I love your imagery! Very beautiful! With a few edits for punctuation and paragraphs as mention in some of the other comments this is a perfect piece. The words paint the picture in detail and tell of the delight and beauty of the scene.

  10. Renee on October 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Good images,  I am now curious to know more.  A changling?  A half-blooded mermaid? 
    A bit of a shock when suddenly a "him" showed up.
    I'll have to look for more.

  11. angela on October 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I enjoyed reading this, though I also would've liked to see it broken into at least two paragraphs. 
    I found myself wondering who was watching them dance in the water. 

  12. CDG @ Move Over Mary Poppins! on October 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I especially like the way you use the girls/mermaids to show the quality of light.
    One or two small things caught my eye: "the sun's rays beamed" is a little repetitive. We know the sun has rays, we often think of the sun as beaming. Trimming down to one idea might clean it up. The other is that the POV seems unclear. At first "she" is controlling the narrative, slipping down to the water and joining her playmates, but later their ritual "reminded him." We have no reference for him. Does he watch her negotiate the beach?
    The physical movement does a great job of establishing the setting as well as the other senses you touch on. You really embraced the spirit of the prompt.

    • mish on October 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks for the comments and concrits. With regards to the questions on POV : because this is a snippet, there’s a part of the story that explains who ‘he’ is. He actually watches the activity from a hidden spot, and with a heavy heart as well, since she has chosen to return to the Merpeople and leave her earthly family . There’s nothing he can do about it.

  13. Sharp Little Pencil on October 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Oh, I love my mermaids! I always imagined they heard differently from other creatures… could detect whale cries and their meanings, and pitches one only hears listening to shells.
    You're right – nothing he can do about it.  She's gone home, where she belongs, really.  It's like sailors – once they get a little salt in their veins, they always yearn for the sea!
    Lovely, Mish, and thanks, Amy

    • mish on October 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      Who knows, perhaps you’ll be a mermaid in your next life ? LOL ! Thanks for sharing Amy.

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