Writing 101 – Day Two: Escape to Venice…

Venice Picture

The soft Tuscan sun warms my face, enhancing the beauty of my wife’s smile with its gentle glow. She closes her eyes and inhales deeply, drinking in the scent of honeysuckle and fresh-baked stromboli, hot out of the oven. Without a care in the world, she lies back in the wooden gondola and lets her hand drop lazily into the rippling current, which flows between her fingers like cool silk.

Every eye seems to have a special smile for us today. The gondolier rows us along even as he sings an Italian love song with gusto, filling the air with the announcement of our honeymoon. Beside him, his companion beams with happiness as his fingers flow deftly across his accordion. The village springs to life as our tiny gondola passes by – an elderly woman dropping her bags to dance in the street, and a mother bursting her head through her upstairs window to sing along and congratulate us.

We want the world to know that we’re in love, and all of Venice rushes over for a small taste of this magical romance. Later we’ll stroll among the chocolate stores and flower shops, letting our nose lead us to the perfect restaurant. Later we’ll laugh to our heart’s content as we run, hand-in-hand, to grab “one more” creamy gelato before the sun dies out. Later we’ll watch the river drift by sleepily as we spend hours talking at a coffee shop, with all the time in the world. There will be time for that.

But for now, I close my eyes and soak it all in. The music, the smells, the sounds, the excitement of a young, budding marriage. “Always remember this,” my mind whispers softly. “Don’t ever let it go.”

And my eyes open to the dull glow of my computer screen, as the quiet hum of my office returns to my ears. For a moment I was there. It was absolutely real… but now, it is nothing but a memory that helps me through the day.


“And now, these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – I Corinthians 13:13


Question for Fellow “Writing 101” Participants:

I’ve always struggled with descriptions. There’s so much I want the reader to experience, but I tend to get too wordy. How was the length of this setting description? Did it feel too short, too long, or about right?


11 thoughts on “Writing 101 – Day Two: Escape to Venice…

  1. I’ve been to Venice and your descriptions took me right back there. My one suggestion would be to replace phrases we may have heard before, like, “without a care in the world,” or “to our heart’s content,” with creative and sensory phrases like you have here: “the rippling current, which flows between her fingers like cool silk,” and “letting our nose lead us to the perfect restaurant.”

    It’s absolutely lovely – and now I miss the creamy gelato and rich, smoky coffee more than ever! 🙂


      1. (whew!) Glad you took that well. I was a little nervous doing so, but love your blog so much, John Mark. And I just this week had the experience of someone lovingly editing my work, which was an absolute pleasure.

        Glad to return the favor.


  2. If you’re someone who has trouble with setting then I’m straight up doomed haha. You, quite successfully, brought me there with you. I felt I was on the streets watching the gondola go by in my own state of rewarding relaxation that would come with that setting.

    I particularly liked “Without a care in the world, she lies back in the wooden gondola and lets her hand drop lazily into the rippling current, which flows between her fingers like cool silk.” it just oozes a calming vibe.


    1. Ha! Thanks Zachary… in the past my descriptions got a little lengthy (Jane Austen style), so I’ve tried to work on describing several senses in a short amount of space. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this writing sample!


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