Hey You: Story Time

Ahh, romance

Ahh, romance

I kept playing with that story.  It started with the idea of a twisted nod to the pressures of “romance” and idealizing others.  Sounds so modern, so 2014, right?  Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet over 400 years ago.  You know the one where a 13 year old girl and a 17 year old boy decide they’re in love, and within days both of them and several others are dead.  Who wants a glass of champagne?

While I was thinking about it and before I began writing it kept changing, of course.  Filling in some parts and omitting others.  I had the idea to put it in second person POV.  For readers who aren’t writers and well past grammar classes, second person is  when the protagonist is referred to as “you,” as opposed to “I” (first person) or he/she (third person).  Not a popular narrative choice, it can be disastrous, calling attention to the fact that you’re reading a story (as opposed to getting lost in it) or, on rare occasion, it can work very well.

I’m still undecided as to how well it worked, but it was an interesting exercise for me.  I’ve never tried it before, and it brought me very, very close inside the main character’s head, and left me feeling a little breathless, even while I felt the breath of the protagonist.  Strange.  And nice to stretch a bit while I created some new characters.

It’s got a touch of magical realism, which I might or might not leave in if I ever change or expand it, one of the bits inspired by a photo I took on the street recently of a dead rat next to a cigarette butt.  I was going to put it here,  but Husband tells me that would tip the scales from edgy to tasteless and gross.  My gut tells me at least half of my readers would agree with him, so I’m leaving it out–I’ll let Husband know you all said thank you.

Tentatively titled “The One,” I’ve added a page above (cleverly titled Fiction II), you can reach it by clicking up top or the link right here.  

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14 comments

  1. First of all, I want to see that rat photo, dang it. I think you should take a poll.
    :)

    Second of all, once again, I herald your willingness to push yourself, try different things, put the results up for public viewing. You are a brave soul, Mrs Fringe.

    I read it. This makes the third time and you know what I’m thinking. On da fence about that particular POV, but that’s likely because I’m not used to it. The unbalanced son/mother relationship dynamic thingie is there; clearer when you pointed it out to me. As for the unspoken commentary relative to trying to live a fantasy that doesn’t exist–for your mc: perfect wife and perfect life–I’d want to see more of the story, see how you zero in on that, make a real statement. Or maybe you’d nibble the edges of it, worry it from different angles. . .

    Your writing is surprising, thoughtful, and fresh, Mrs Fringe. It gives me pause, forces me to think. Looking forward to more.

    xoxo kk

    1. Thank you kk! <3

      While it's open to the public, I see Mrs Fringe as my living room. I like to use company manners, i.e.: don't post something you *know* is complete crap, but not take myself so, so, seriously I never take a chance.

      As for the story itself, it's a picture, a moment. Readers don't (and shouldn't) know every bit that I know about the characters. I always hope there's just enough to set the stage, but not so much readers can't project their own thoughts and experiences. :)

  2. First off, you’re a writer. Therefore, the rat picture could be posted as a message. Think anti-smoking or the dangers of wandering too close to traffic during daylight hours. It could be a conversation piece for school-aged kids if nothing else. Hell, you could run around the city, camera in tow, and snap gross and disturbing shots that to *writers* can be visual commentary on careless lifestyle elements. In other words, I want to see the picture, too!

    Keep pushing yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else enjoys while you’re discovering your own characters. — Says the writer who can’t seem to get into her second draft. Shhh…I can still give advice even if I don’t take it. :P

    1. LOL, yup, you and I think alike. The photo is interesting! It isn’t like I killed the thing, it was already dead when I saw it. And yes, I went back home to get my camera. :p All part of the process, no?

      Thank you for the support and kind words–now get to work on your draft! :D

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever written in the 2nd person. That would be difficult for me, although normal if I was speaking to someone who had lost their memory??? Maybe??
    Diana xo

  4. I remember having to write a 2P piece in school…I’m pretty sure mine was a miserable failure. As a writer I find it difficult to inhabit the narrator so I admire those who can do it and pull it off. I think your description of being able to feel the breath of the protagonist is a perfect way of thinking of it. Close, oh so close, but not within.

    It’s wonderful that you’ve challenged yourself to do something uncomfortable.

    As to the rat, well, when I’m in NYC I choose not to see them, so thank you for not robbing me of my idealization of the city. I would have had to go cry in a corner. :D

  5. I enjoyed that quite a bit. It was odd, because I can’t remember the last time I read anything in second person (hell, I just wrote down a recipe for someone and realized after the fact I’d done it in third past). It took me a while to get into it, which I’m pretty sure is just because that voice is so foreign I’m not used to those pronouns. Once I did, it began to disappear (which means I think you did a great job with it). I don’t know if it would help or hurt, but you might want to try easing in — using sentences with fewer personal pronouns initially if you can.

    I could be dead wrong, too, and that might just extend the time it would take to get into the flow.

    That was a fantastic exercise, though. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you! For reading, and taking the time to comment. :)
      An interesting idea, would fewer pronouns in the intro make it easier to get into, or more difficult to orient yourself? One of these days, I’ll play with it. I think a lot of people have a “fallback” POV/tense that feels most natural–for me it’s 3rd person present. I’m guessing from your grocery list yours is 3rd past. ;)

      It felt very satisfying to do something different. To say yup, I know the rules and I’m doing something different just to see how it plays out.

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