(Inquisitive) “Win” – Enrich your writing

“Win” by Harlan Coben

 Created using images from: Pexels.com – Cottonbro.

This excerpt is taken from “Win” by Harlan Coben. A crime thriller published by Cornerstone Digital (2021).

Chapter 3
Young and Lopez want an explanation. I start with the complete truth: I had not seen the suitcase in many years. How many years? Here my memory becomes foggier.

Many, I say. More than ten? Yes. More than twenty? I shrug.

Could I at least confirm that the suitcase had belonged to me? No, I would need a closer look, to be able to open it and look at its contents. Young doesn't like that. I didn't think she would. But can't I at least confirm the suitcase is mine just by looking at it?

I couldn't for certain, sorry, I tell them. But those are your initials and your family crest, Lopez reminds me. They are, I say, but that doesn't mean someone didn't make up a duplicate suitcase. Why would someone do that? I have no idea. And so it goes.

Simplification (the "bare bones" of the text):
Young and Lopez want an explanation about the suitcase: it’s been missing for many years. They interrogate me. The suitcase has my family crest and logo on it. Why can’t I confirm it?

Rewrite the excerpt to give the agents a more inquisitive tone

An inquisitive person is someone who is very curious, asks a lot of questions (perhaps an inappropriate amount of questions). Persistently quizzes people for information. It's not necessarily a negative thing; an inquisitive person can be playful and eager to learn.

Young and Lopez sit me down. They gaze into my eyes as if they are attempting to decipher a puzzle. “I know the truth is in there!” Young says in an almost playful manner, “I’d love to know what it is!”
“So…” says Lopez “Spill the beans. Tell us all you can about this suitcase. We want to know everything.”
Well, my memory is a little foggy. I hadn’t seen the suitcase in years. They press me for a bit more information.
“I’ve not seen it for many years” I say.
“How many years, would you say?” Lopez retorts.
“Oh, I don’t know.” I reply.
“More than 10 years, for example?” Lopez suggests.
“Oh, yes. More than 10.” I reply, helpfully.
“What about more than 20?” Young joins in.
I shrug. “Well, maybe.”
The line of inquiry continues as they search for the hidden treasure of knowledge they are seeking.
When did I buy it? Why? Does it have any distinguishing features? Does it have any intrinsic value? Have I gone on many journeys with it? What was my favourite trip?

They seem transfixed on getting as much information as possible. I told them that the one they found was not necessarily mine. “It could be a duplicate.” I suggest, tentatively.
Well, they didn’t really accept that. “For what purpose? What would they get out of it? Can’t you discern your own suitcase when you’ve had such a life with them?” And so it continues…
Eventually the grilling ceases and, I must confess, my brain does feel like a bit of melted cheese, though they were not mean or annoying in their approach.

Your turn! Why not give it a go?

Rewrite the excerpt to give the impression that the two agents are very inquisitive.
Aim for 150-250 words.

Click on the speech bubble to join in (Comments on all 3 exercises will appear at the end of the lesson.)

When students have submitted work, the teacher will choose examples to show here along with corrections and suggestions.

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