I designed the Brocade exercise to help writers improve concentration; develop emotional capacity and complexity; and evolve the ability to write with a unique voice. Above all, this exercise encourages writers to create emotional tension. The intertwining emotional threads create rather shimmering moments of writing (hence the name Brocade) that often seem as though they might appear at the beginning or ending of a short story, or as a plot point in a longer narrative.

To create a new "Brocade," look at the two randomly generated emotion words and at the photo below. Then write a short narrative that simultaneously evokes both emotions in relation to the photo.

Try to manifest this mixed emotional narrative fabric without directly naming the emotions. Instead, convey the mixed feelings by carefully choosing concrete, descriptive details that imply what is felt. Feel free to focus only on those details of the photo that will help you project the right feeling and attitude. (If you would like to get an idea of what others have done with Brocade, go to the Brocade Gallery category.)

If you don't like the combination of photo and words you see, click the Refresh button until you're dealt something that arouses your curiosity. Challenge yourself. If the combination seems strained, refresh the page. If the combination seems obvious (like you would have thought of it as soon as you saw the picture), again, refresh the page. If the combination is unusual but isn't strained, that is probably an excellent mix.

Have fun!

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