Journal 14: 2-3 page excerpt.
This section is from my paper is a flashback. I am not entirely sure if the way that I switched back and forth between viewpoints is effective and I also think this scene may be more confusing, but it is difficult to tell as the writer. I was trying to allow for the first-person narrator to have a memory which would help explain her discomfort at being back at the house. However, I am not sure if it makes sense-if the transitions between the women upstairs and this character who has broken in to her mom’s old house is fluid. I also am not entirely sure if this flashback works to explain anything but what I was trying to do was show some background into who the character is based on her history. I also wanted to leave everything kind of confusing/unfinished as well. I am hoping the impact it has on the story is to add some explanation and some context but I am not sure if it does this or not.
The section of my short story that I’m choosing to look at with a peer review group is the very beginning. The story starts in a dream that the main character is having while he’s sleeping before his shift as a bartender. It is kind of meant to be a twisted flashback to his wedding. The day itself was amazing and magical and thus I describe things like fluffy, warm fog, mouth-watering perfume, and his wife’s beauty. I’m unsure about the future voice, maybe I should just frame it as more of a whisper in his ear. It’s intended to allude to what’s coming next. The tone shifts to a colder and more unsettling scene after he closes his eyes to kiss his wife. It’s meant to seem like things can change in a blink of an eye if you don’t value and pay close enough attention to what you have. Basically, the narrator started to become negative and dissatisfied with his small apartment with his wife because he’d always wanted to be successful and do big things. So, he ended up not appreciating what he had and his wife couldn’t stand it. Once he wakes up from the dream, I’m trying to show how miserable and numb he is as he gets ready to continue his routine. The idea for the story is to make the main character seem kind of bland and then each new person he meets at the bar each night adds something to and reveals his personality. This first character is meant to be an optimistic and naive young girl. It’s meant to reveal how negative the narrator has been and is. I wonder how I could make this more explicit that it’s alluding to why his wife left him. A flashback to her leaving/saying something?
With this scene, I’m trying to show the tension between the two characters, and how neither of them is really ready to see the other. The two characters, James and Ben had known each other previously, and neither expected to see the other again. But they end up meeting again when Ben is charged with a crime, much to his own surprise. Along with the tension of James and Ben being snarky and condescending to each other, I want to convey the utter confusion of Ben’s character. I want him to be the “villain” that everyone roots for. It’s supposed to be an introduction into mainly James’s mind, as it’s his P.O.V, but also slightly Ben’s as well.
I’m honestly not sure what impact I’m trying to make either. I want the reader to have a sense of doubt about everything that goes on, not really knowing the exact reason the characters are so tense after their breakup, and also to not know who to believe. Both characters make good points consistently, but you don’t know who’s in the right. I’m trying to keep it slightly vague, so the characters seem real and authentic, having them say what they want, but not necessarily what they mean. I don’t want to give everything away within the first few pages, which is something I always seem to struggle with. I want it to be engaging as well.
What i was trying to portray with my 2 pages was the type of world the character lives in. A world where every day is a struggle to survive, no a incredibly original setting but still something important to establish. In addition to this i felt it was important to establish why the character does what she does and what she is willing to do to do it. As well as attempting to show how this world has damaged this character to the point where being in life and death situations is the only time she feels fulfilled.
The excerpt of my short story that I’m choosing is Wheatie’s flashback to the times he shared with his daughter. I’m a little bit uncertain of what I want Wheatie’s voice to be, because the goal is to make him completely unchanged so it’s clear that there’s tension between him and his idea of fatherhood, but that his daughter doesn’t experience the same tension. Ideally, the audience would be unsettled by Wheatie’s idea of how to entertain children, but ultimately surprised by his association of Mercy with the sound of the stream. I’m not really sure how to convey this, or how to utilize dialogue and Wheatie’s interpretation of body language to show the depth of the relationship. This also foreshadows the nature of the letter Wheatie receives from Mercy later on in the story. I’m also not really sure how to manifest Wheatie’s voice overall, as I can’t seem to balance or identify his accent during casual conversation, but amplify it during dialogue. Additionally, I don’t want to overwrite the story with flashbacks, but I do want this flashback to juxtapose another one where Wheatie is remembering his own father. I’m not quite sure if these should be switched, but as it stands, the first flashback with Wheatie’s father occurs on the way to Herbs’, while the second one (Involving his daughter) occurs on the way back from Herb’s.
In these sections, I am trying to show the later parts of the relationship between the main character who is narrating and the other character who is only referred to as “you.” I am hoping to get across the idea of a relationship gone wrong told in reverse, though I am not sure that this could come across in such a short amount of the story. More specifically, I am trying to convey the more problematic aspects of the relationship as well as provide a flashback to highlight one of the major abusive moments in the relationship and provide a sort of turning point but in a unique way (as I have never seen a turning point in a story given through a flashback).
The part that I pulled from my story takes place after the initial introduction of the story. In this scene, the main protagonist Beatrix is wandering the hospital after her first major surgery, bored with staying in her room. This is where she meets the secondary protagonist, Guy. This scene was made to show what Beatrix does in hospital when not interacting with her surgeons, sets up some important plot points later on, and introduces Guy to Beatrix. As an introduction scene, the audience learns why Guy is in the hospital and what Bea thinks of him upon their first meeting. I don’t want to give away too much, but this scene is also important for comparing Bea’s interaction with Guy, and her reaction to her, in comparison to Guy’s caretaker Nurse Goretti, and her reaction to Bea.
My excerpted scene is part of a flashback. I was so happy with the flashbacking exercise we did for last class that I’ve decided to make it a pivotal part in my larger work. My problem so far is that I don’t feel as though I have done enough to characterize my characters with enough detail. The major thematic question is also fuzzy at the moment. I’m hoping to capture the confusion of young adulthood by using an array of flashbacks, vague dialogue and description, and by perhaps addressing some major societal issues. The story is told from the perspective of Val, who has just graduated from college, as she unpacks several events from the last four years in an attempt to process how she has changed and how she should move on. This flashback alludes to her discovery that she had indeed been sexually assaulted in her past. In a similar fashion to “Whose Heart I long to Stop With the Click of a Revolver,” I want to use flashbacks to aid in giving context as well as creating a larger impact on scenes taking place in the present. I’d also like to give Val a more distinctive voice in order to make her story more interesting and compelling.
I chose the beginning for my excerpt because I find beginnings to be the hardest. I never know if I’m leading in too suddenly and that a sort of soft entrance is required. I know it depends on the story, but I’ve always felt like I begin right and a high strung point. Maybe it’s appropriate in short story fiction. I also want to consider the fluidity of my writing. I rewrote my entire story today and compared to the first “first draft” I feel that it connects much better and gives a scene in the reader’s mind rather than a power point slide show. I had a friend read the two copies I’ve produced and that’s exactly how he described the two. The first was well written, but felt janky and disconnected. Each sentence was descriptive and pleasant, but felt more like slides in a power point. I think this second attempt is better, but being written in a single day obviously leaves room for some major error. I hope my imagery gets across well and isn’t too much. I have a deep love for imagery and have a tendency to over use adjectives and adverbs. I’m simply hoping that the beginning lays out my character as being this nervous woman, walking home.
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