What’s your “Writing Room/Space” like? Working spaces are vital to many writers. What kind of place feels like home to your writing?


Learning to describe physical spaces is imperative in creating a story and giving characters a place to interact with. The same applies to poetry. Physically describe your dream home or office or a space that has left a deep impact on your soul, in a way that makes the reader feel it, rather than see it. Show us, don’t tell us. 

Instead of describing my dream room I decided to focus on the current short story I am trying to weed my way through. In this scene, Esther is walking through the house of Kazuo who has been relocated to the Japanese internment camps.

Excerpt from short story entitled, A Smuggler’s Remorse:

She answers yes, licking her lips, staring at her reflection in the window. Eyes closed, she takes in the scent of cedars and bleach, wondering if her response ever mattered.

When she goes upstairs, bottles dripping stale contents lay on their sides in the empty hallway. Ashen spots dot the white walls, cigarettes rest beneath them. Smoke, stale ale, sweat and gin cause Esther to cough, choke back the bile rising in her throat. In the master bedroom, a mattress surrounded by candles, wax melding them to the hardwood floor, is placed in the center. Magazines of naked women, pillows with feathers poking out, blankets and sheets covered in yellow stains. A half filled bottle of red wine catches the light in the windowsill.

The next room is locked; three padlocks all reveal scratches and dents. The door is cold to her touch, his father’s study, his bedroom or maybe his mother’s prayer room hidden on the other side. The house creaks again, louder this time. To linger would risk being caught with the other trespassers, to be captured and taken to the mattress that seeps with the fluids of others.

In a smaller room at the end of the hall rests a card game in progress, chips collected in the center. A dresser with all the drawers pulled out, cigarette buds resting in scattered ashtrays. Shadows where dust begins to gather mark the outlines of bedposts, posters, a large rectangle by the door, a chest or another dresser. She moves to the dresser to push the drawers back in, hesitates considering who might be coming back.