Novel Buddies for this week...Sept 19th - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-19-2006, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey there! Starting a new thread, to keep it fresh.

For those who were...confused by my two characters calm conversation, I'm posting the earlier convo between Lisa and her friend Julie. This is where Lisa first explains to Julie. Is it too long? Do I repeat myself? Does the conversation sound real? What could I add that would make the friendship between the two seem more real? As always, there is little of the five senses in here. Any suggestions of what I could put in and where?

ANd where the heck are my buddies??? We could use MORE. MORE authors, writing. THis is a darn small group!







Angie was napping. This was the best chance she was apt to get to call Julie. Making herself a cup of tea for courage, she curled up in her favorite chair before dialing.

This was not going to be an easy story to tell Julie!

“Hey, how are?” Julie answered.

“I hate Caller ID. Ruins the surprise.”

“But you know I love you! I always answer when I see your number. You’re not backing out on our plans tonight, are you?”

“Actually…”

“Aw, come on, Lisa! I’ve been dying to talk to you! You won’t believe who I saw last night!”

“Who?”

“Forget it. Wanna know, meet me at Rocky’s.”

“Julie, I can’t. Honest. Come here instead.”

“To your place? Why can’t you meet me at Rocky’s? You always just want to hang out at your house!”

“Really, Jules, I have a good excuse this time.”

“You’re not sick?”

“No.”

“Then, why?”

“I don’t have a babysitter.”

“You don’t even have a cat! Oscar will be fine. They’re serving free munchies from six to eight and there’s going to be a band playing on the roof. Nothing too crowded, you don’t even have to get dressed up. Stop being such a…stick in the mud!”

They both laughed at the phrase Mrs. Henner, their foster mother, had often used to describe Lisa.

“Listen, Julie, I can’t. Really. We’ll get a bottle of wine or make those raspberry Margaritas we had all last summer and sit out on the porch. You can put on any CD you want and we’ll turn it up loud, rock-the-neighbors-loud. Maybe some guys will walk by. It’ll almost feel like Rocky’s! Besides, I have company. Someone I want you to meet.”

“If you got a dog, I’ll kill you! You are going on that cruise this winter.”

“No dog,” Lisa laughed. “I promise. And I am coming on that cruise. But tonight-“

“Oh, my Goddess! Is it a guy? Do you have a guy there? Bring him! I promise, I’ll be good, no getting drunk and telling embarrassing stories!”

“No! Believe me, it’s not a guy. Boiled lobster? Corn on the cob? Margaritas, good conversation, my house? Please?”

“Fine. Okay. Whoever I’m meeting better not walk on all fours, though!”

“I promise. Six o’clock?”

“Yeah, six. I’ll get the booze. Lots of it.”

In between shopping and cooking and cleaning, she had managed to keep Angie up from her usual afternoon nap, figuring that the baby would go to bed early, and she could explain a baby’s presence in her apartment to Julie in her own time. She had scheduled her shopping trips at Angie’s naptime and had kept her awake until 5:00, when to Lisa’s horror, Angie had simply refused to stay awake another second. Now she didn’t know if Angie was taking a short nap or was planning to make this a longer stretch. She had thought to feed her at six and hope she slept until 10 or 11. Now her last bottle had been at three. Angie might wake up hungry anytime.

Julie arrived carrying more alcohol than the two of them could drink in a week. Lisa met her on the porch, and after an awkward hug around the grocery bag full of drink-making supplies, Julie asked,
“Okay, where is he? I brought enough booze to get whoever it is good and drunk.”

“I told you, it’s not a guy. And she doesn’t drink. At least, not alcohol.”

“Is your grandmother visiting?”

“No,” Lisa grinned, holding the door open, “she’s young.”

Angie lay on a big blanket in the middle of the living room, trying to catch her own waving foot.

“You’re babysitting!? Jeez, Lisa! Why didn’t you just refuse? We had plans!”

“Just put that bag in the kitchen and chill. It’s a long story.”

“It better be a long story that includes someone having an exciting Saturday night!”

But once Julie had put the bag down, she returned to the living room to stand over Angie. Within 30 seconds, she was scooping the baby into her arms, cooing softly. Lisa threw the lobsters into the boiling water and turned on the asparagus.

Julie always had been a sucker for babies. However, that wasn’t going to stop her from browbeating the truth out of Lisa.

Wandering into the kitchen, snuggling the tiny infant, Julie said, “Okay, she’s adorable. Sweet. A real love. But why the hell is she here with you? Spill. Now.”

“Okay, okay.” She turned to give Julie a big what-a-sap-I-am grin, before starting to explain. One look at her face told her that Julie expected the truth and sensed that there was trouble.

“Okay. First, though, if there’s any wine in that bag, we should each have a glass. I think I’ll need it”. How odd. I feel like a kid who’s about to get caught having done something wrong.

Sipping some Merlot and trying to crack and eat the lobster while she balanced Angie on her thighs, she told Julie what had happened, how five minutes had turned into overnight. About not being able to find the mother and not wanting to call social services.

“Have you lost your mind?!”

“I couldn’t just dump her off!”

“Oh, yes, you could’ve! I would’ve. Any normal person would! Hand me the baby,” said Julie, swallowing the last of her dinner. “I’ll hold her, you eat.”

“She needs to be changed.”

“Oh, joy. Then I’ll change her. Does she have jammies? I’ll get her ready for bed.”

“She needs a bath.”

“Lisa! I’ll wash her off good. I’ll change her, burp her, walk her. Whatever! Shut up and eat! As soon as she’s asleep, you and I need to talk.”

While Julie put Angie to sleep, Lisa finished her dinner and did the dishes. The instant the baby was asleep, Julie grabbed her purse, motioned to Lisa and headed out to sit on the porch, so tiny the two chairs bumped each other.

Julie fished around in her purse, pulling out a small tin box of mints and a lighter. She opened the tin, pulled out a joint and lit it. Julie scowled at Lisa as she passed her the joint. They smoked half of it before she spoke.

“I want to know everything you know. What do you know about the mother? Why haven’t you called the cops? What are you going to do Monday morning if she’s not back? Are you sure giving the baby back is the right thing to do? Some people shouldn’t have children, that’s why they have foster homes.”

Lisa took a long drag and held her breath for a minute, then slowly released it.

“I don’t know anything about the mother. She needed a bath, her jeans looked like they hadn’t been washed since she’d had the baby. She looked young, really young. Maybe 16. Maybe younger. She seemed to be alone.

“I thought about calling the cops. I’m still thinking about it. I guess, Monday morning, if she’s still not back, I’ll have to call someone.”

“What did your parents say?”

“I haven’t told them yet.”

Julie gave Lisa a sharp look. “Why not?”

“Because I’ve been busy, and because I already know what they’ll say.”

“That you need to make a call?”

“Yeah.”

They passed the joint in silence for a few minutes, then, in a quiet voice, Julie said, “Maybe they’d be right.”

“Maybe. It sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, doesn’t it? If it weren’t for knowing what happens, how long a kid can be in foster care, how scary it is.” Lisa stopped talking. Peering through the twilight to see her friend, Julie saw the tears coursing down her face. “How many homes? How many mothers? I had 47 brother and sisters before I was adopted. Forty-seven! You had at least that many, right? And never got adopted!

“No one else is going to understand this. You’re the only one. I’ve known you longer than my parents! Maybe her mother could leave her. Maybe mine could leave me and yours could leave you. But, I can’t do it. Even if it’s the right thing to do. Not yet.”

They sat quietly while Julie thought this over.

“Lisa, I’ve known you since we were 11 years old. You’ve always been a sucker for anyone with a sob story and until you moved here you brought home more stray cats and dogs and injured birds than anyone I know. Your poor parents thought they were running an animal shelter! But this is someone’s baby. Even if the mother didn’t want her, what about grandparents or the father? What if they come looking for her 2 or 3 months from now?

“Going to the cops sounds like a bad idea, but not going to the cops sounds like an even worse one! Getting caught keeping this baby and not even reporting what happened must be a crime!

“I only see two choices. Call the cops and deal with it. Or keep the baby and don’t tell. But you can’t really keep the baby. You aren’t married, don’t even have a steady boyfriend! Your neighbors will get suspicious. You’ll get caught or always live in fear of getting caught. Think! You need a lawyer. You need to talk to your parents.”

Lisa took a hit and blew the smoke out slowly. She knew that Julie was right, she couldn’t just keep Angie, she didn’t really even want to keep her, to be a single parent, to always be looking over her shoulder waiting for the real mother to show up.

But if she called the cops what would happen? She’d have to deal with whatever trouble she might be in, Angie would go to a foster home. And if the authorities found Angie’s mother, they might just give her back.
But then, where should the baby go? To a home with two parents would be great, people who would love and care for her. But how did someone go about finding a home when they weren’t even the parent?

They sat out on the porch for another few hours, until the breeze from the ocean got too cold, then they moved back into the living room. Every time Lisa tried to talk to Julie about what she might do, Julie shook her head and said, “I already told you. Call the cops.” At one point, she got up and handed Lisa the phone. By midnight, they were both frustrated and irritated with each other. They put their wine glasses in the sink, and Lisa pulled out the couch.

At 2 a.m., as always, Angie woke. Lisa got up, picked up Angie and headed to the kitchen. To try to keep from bothering Julie she took Angie into her bedroom and fed her there. When the colic started she began her nightly walking, back and forth, singing softly.

Angie’s fussing and Lisa’s soft murmurings awakened Julie. She knocked gently on the closed bedroom door, and pushed it open.

“Need help?” asked Julie.

“Colic,” was the one word answer.

Julie used the bathroom and disappeared; Lisa supposed she’d gone back to bed. Ten minutes later Julie was back, with a sheaf of papers in her hand.

“Looked up colic on-line. Printed off what they said.” Julie yawned. “Try switching formulas, could be a cow’s milk allergy. Oh yeah, all the sites said to check with your pediatrician. You might want to think about how you’re going to do that. Good night.” Julie staggered back to bed.

In the morning, over coffee and cheese Danish, Julie tried one more time.

“So, what’s the plan, Lees?”

“I’m not sure. I can’t just call the cops or social services.” She held up her hand to stop Julie’s immediate reply. “Listen for a minute. Calling the cops is scary. I don’t want to go to jail for…is this kidnapping? And I don’t want Angie to just get dropped off like we did.”

“Then what are you going to do?”

“What if I kept her for a week or two? Keep searching for her mother, find her family? Maybe she does have a grandmother or an aunt who would take her. Maybe her mother is scared enough to have wised-up.”

“Maybe not. What if no relative comes along? Or her mother comes back and clearly isn’t going to straighten up?”

“Well, that’s the part I haven’t figured out yet. I guess then I’d have to go to social services or the cops, but I’d have time to get a lawyer first.”

“You’re kidding yourself, Lees! You’ll just be more involved, more attached. It’s going to get harder, not easier!”

“I know you’re right. But I can’t live with myself if I don’t at least try. One home, with one inexperienced ‘foster’ mother is better than 3 or 4, while they look for her mother, or a more permanent home. At least I really care about her.”

“And I really care about you. I think the sooner you go to the authorities, the easier they’ll be on you.”

“I can’t yet. I need someone in my corner Julie. I need someone to talk to about this. You’re the only one who understands-“

“Oh, no I don’t!”

“You know what I mean. You understand me, even if you don’t understand why I feel I need to do this.”

Julie put up a hand to stop her from continuing.

“Obviously, you’re going to do what you want. You’re right, I do understand your point, even though I think you’re wrong. You need to talk to your parents. You’re lucky to have parents!”

“I’ll try”

Julie shot her a look of disgust.

“I’m going to see you in a few weeks, we have that pool party to go to, remember? By then, ‘Angie’ needs to be…wherever it is she should be. Got it?”

“Okay, okay.”

“Good, now, how about a walk on the beach before I head home?”



Lisa had a hard time sleeping that night. She kept dreaming about answering the phone, hearing Angie’s mother on the other end. In one dream, Angie’s mother showed up at her door with the cops and had her arrested. In another, the woman took Angie from her and went home. Later, Lisa saw them in the store. Angie was lying on the bottom of the shopping cart, screaming, surrounded by open packages of gum.
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#2 of 12 Old 09-20-2006, 10:33 AM
 
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Red, promise to get back to you later this a.m. on this excerpt. Just wanted you to know that comments were forthcoming
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#3 of 12 Old 09-20-2006, 01:37 PM
 
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Hi, Red,

Okay. Thanks for posting the earlier exchange between J and L. It certainly helps to see why the other dialogue wasn't so frantic.

In general terms, it's good. There are some things you might try to make it real.

1. Pad out the dialogue with more narrative about what's happening, what they are thinking and not saying, to get more a sense of the emotion of the dialogue.

2. Julie seems too together. In her situation, I would be freaking out, pacing, wringing my hands, pressing my palms against my eyes, expressing the stress of this situation. I tend to be the Julie for my friends, the calm voice of reason, etc. But, this is an extreme situation she has walked into.

3. For two single women, they seem very "motherly". You might give us a reason why their maternal instinct is so honed. Some background to show us that Lisa babysat to make money as a kid, or that Julie was the "big sister" to all her foster siblings, things like that. At this point, Lisa has had the baby for how long? She sits on the bed and announces "colic." Not something I knew about until I had a baby. And that's because I had friends who were moms, went to a pediatrician, was on mothering.com, LLL, etc. Lisa had a baby dropped in her lap, we shouldn't expect her to know so much.

4. Lines that might be reworked: "okay, she's sweet, she's adorable, by why the hell is she here with you." Sounds like Julie already knows, I don't know if that makes sense. But, "But, who is she? or Whose is she? " might sound more like Julie really doesn't know, and is waiting to hear the explanation.

You should share with us how Lisa told Julie.

Julie might offer to take Angie to the police for Lisa.

I think you're doing a good job of putting yourself in Lisa's mind. Try putting yourself more in Julie's mind too when you write her part of dialogue.

Smoking the joint would be a good place for some nice sensory details.

Critiquing over. I am getting the sense, without knowing where you are going with this, that Julie will be turning into Lisa's accomplice. Her mannerisms, such as taking the baby and telling Lisa to eat, looking up colic online, etc., seem to say that she will become an accomplice, when Lisa does not turn Angie over.

I think this will make a very interesting, and potentially compelling story, IF you take your time with the dialogue, and don't rush through really emotional episodes. Slow it down a bit so we can really feel what the characters are feeling.

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#4 of 12 Old 09-20-2006, 08:20 PM
 
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I agree with Twilight Girl in every respect.

I like your attempt to use dialogue (without the "she said/she said" thing) where you are allowing the identity of the person to come through in how they say things as much as in what they say. This is very difficult to master and most people don't try.

I didn't read what came before this piece (I'm a new person here). But I found myself thinking that you could have used the cup of tea that you introduce in the first sentence or so to tell us about the drinker.

Quote:
Making herself a cup of tea for courage, she curled up in her favorite chair before dialing.
The type of tea and even the type of cup could be important, as in "She found that she was nervous, so she made herself a cup of tea. She took the blue cup from the cabinet and made the tea slowly, measuring the curled leaves into the strainer and picking out the stems. She poured the scalding water carefully, then added a bit of milk. Putting the saucer on top to keep the cup warm, she walked slowly to her favorite chair, thinking about what she was going to say and how she was going to say it. When she sat down, she put the cup on a magazine on the side table, then curled up with her chin on her knees like she did when she was a child before taking a deep breath, picking up the phone and dialing."

I've loaded this line with a bunch of stuff, because you can communicate all kinds of things from just making a cup of tea and sitting. And you can communicate a tension between what people think they are doing and what they are really doing. In fact, this latter thing seems to me to be the thing you are using to create the tension you are going to build in this story. Lisa seems to think she knows what she is doing, but she really doesn't. Or rather, doesn't know all the reasons she is doing what she is doing. Julie thinks she knows what should be done. But she really doesn't either. Neither of your characters know themselves, but you do and you convey this by making contrasts between what they say and what they do. This kind of ambiguity, put up against a tough factual situation (in this case, the lost child whose situation will have to be resolved physically one way or another) is a very good structure for a story.

Your dialogue does move a bit fast (although it is very natural) and it now invites people to skip things. You can slow down a bit by doing the things the other reviewer suggests. You want us to get to know these women and we are interested in getting to know them too. And the important thing here isn't making them "interesting" by giving them a background or stuff like that. This kind of story is about feelings and internal lives.

I'll try to write more when I can.
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#5 of 12 Old 09-20-2006, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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WOW! THis is soooo what I need! You are both right on.

I can feel that my dialogue is lacking, but have trouble knowing what it's lacking.

Twilightgirl, I'm not much of a drama queen, IRL and neither is my best friend. We both get quiet and pensive when faced with things like this. (Uh, not EXACTLY this, but not that far off either.)HOwever, I think you're right about the scene needing more drama.

Unagidon, your cup of tea description also works in that sensory stuff I so lack. I'll rework this soon and repost, and we'll see if I get any better!

I feel like I've finally found a group that GETS my book. The romance group I was in kept worrying about when I'd introduce the male character, the romance, even though they knew it wasn't a romance.

Thanks. Really!

Now, where's YOURS???
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#6 of 12 Old 09-21-2006, 12:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red View Post
Now, where's YOURS???
I know, I know. Sadly, twilight girl hasn't put any work into twilight girl is invisible this week.

We have lots of real life drama going on, and I haven't been able to work on my fictional drama.

I might be able to squeeze in some time before the week's out. Next week we are leaving for a month. I'll be taking the computer, and I hope to be able to do some work on the story, but will also need to do some translation work for $$$ which will be paramount in the coming months.

For today, here's my author's note or dedication for twilight girl is invisible:

Prologue


Can there be just one instant, fleeting or eternal, that changes everything? Or is it a lifetime of collected instants that culminate in that one, the one that seemingly makes it impossible to continue on the way you had been going. I sat watching Los Diarios de Motocicleta about Che Guevara’s trip through Latin America before he was El Che, after which he was supposed to go home to Buenos Aires and finish medical school. I think the cumulative instants and moments of the trip probably are what changed el Che forever. Watching the actor in the movie though, it seemed that there was just one, and that one was so heavy, and the impact so overwhelming that the specter of the last semester of medical school was smashed apart as he stood there an eternity in that instant.

My instant came in the ever-so-modern form of the ubiquitous e-mail. It said, “Our dear friend Ismael passed away sometime around 11:25 on June 10, 2005.” I read this on the morning of the day of my sister-in-law’s wedding. Far away from anyone else who even knew Ismael, or Capi as friends from work called him, my grief and my guilt were my own alone.

In the ten days between receiving news that Ismael was sick and being taken back to Colombia for treatment, and news of his death, I had his phone number at the Military Hospital written on a scrap of paper with every intention of calling him to say goodbye. To say how much it meant to me to have known him. Somehow I just didn’t get it together enough to make the call. The reasons for not calling all sounded rational until I opened and read the e-mail announcing Capi’s death. Now, they stand in my mind for what they really were—thin, weak excuses for inaction. I had been given a gift, a chance to say goodbye and thank you to someone, knowing that it would be the last chance, and I squandered it. Would it have made any difference to Ismael if I had called? Maybe. Maybe it would have distracted him a moment from the weight of what he was facing. But I would have been grateful for that moment for however much remains of my own life.

Instead I now have two choices. I can further extend my inaction and dwell on the missed opportunity. Or, a better choice I think, I can let Capi’s death and that missed instant transform my life. Of course, there had to have been a million instants before the e-mail telling of Capi’s death for that one to have the impact it had. Here I am, at the other end of those million and one instants. And here, I think, my path doglegs to somewhere I suspect this has all been leading to all along.

Capi, you were my muse for this one. Thank you.

*******************************************
As I take up this novel buddy group, there is again a terminal illness close to home. My father-in-law is facing 6-12 months for brain cancer. I really hope being with this group will help me to keep up my momentum to do this. I want to do this. Thanks for starting this group!
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#7 of 12 Old 09-21-2006, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm sorry about Capi and your FIL's illness. How sad to lose someone you love, and to lose an opportunity to say good-bye.

Tyr to find 15 minutes a day, even if you have to sneak off to the bathroom to do it. Just 15 minutes will keep your work fresh in your mind, and keep you from falling off track. I'm saying a prayer for your FIL.

I like the Prologue. I'd change the last time you say el Che, and use his full name again. Or take out 'before he was El Che'. It sounds repeptitive. Also, your last sentence in the first paragraph is unclear, the last 8 words could be cleaner.

This fragment, 'To say how much it meant to me to have known him.' needs more or needs to be worded differently. 'I wish I had told him how much it meant...' ? I'd take out the 'and' in "and I squandered it." and make it it's own sentence. It's more powerful that way.

And this isn't a Prologue. A prologue would give some of the story, this is a dedication.

It's very moving and touching!
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#8 of 12 Old 09-21-2006, 10:49 AM
 
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Thanks, Red, for the thoughts and prayers and for the comments!

I appreciate the ideas on how to make it more powerful.

In a sense, I still think of this as a prologue. It actually does give away the central theme of the story (at least I think that's the central theme, whether or not it gets there is another issue altogether!) twilight girl is sort of a fictionalized, magical realistic autobiography.

Here is what follows the "prologue"

Chapter One


I remember his shoes, vividly. They were brown and rather nondescript, but they are what I looked at most of the night. I remember that they looked new, and the ragged cuffs of his jeans fell along the back of them just perfectly, barely grazing the wood floor.


Chapter One

She floated, peacefully enough, at the will of the sea. Like a coconut tossed on the tide. Sometimes she would be smashed on the rocks, broken, destroyed. Other times the tide would gently nudge her ashore on a white sand beach. And then it would drag her out again if she didn’t put down roots and dig in, wherever she was.


Chapter One

“Shreds of cotton clouds still lay snagged on the cragged blue mountain peaks, as dawn began to illuminate the day...” No, wait: “Waves of seafoam and white heaved into the air as the clouds broke over the blue hued mountains.” There, now that’s imagery! Perhaps, she allowed herself to think on the taxi ride across the city, just perhaps she could do it. Maybe she should be a writer. After all, who else looks at clouds on mountains and sees the sea?
“Mama, look, ocean!” sang out her one and a half year old daughter.
... okay, well maybe it just ran in the family. “No, no, this is a good thing,” she thought. “Seeing with the eyes of a child... that’s good. I think.”
“Poised on the mountaintop, frozen, a silent raging tsunami of cloud…” Every day as she traveled through the city she would ruminate on the mountains. Concentrating, daydreaming, mostly trying to come up with a great metaphor to ignite that mountain with words into a vivid image the reader could see as vividly as if he were riding with her in the taxi on any one of those many days. If she could do that to her own satisfaction, then surely she could sit down and hammer out a novel that she would consider worth reading.

**************************************************

Ultimately I would like the book to be published like this. Chapter One, a paragraph, and empty page. Turn page, Chapter One, paragraph, empty page. For 3-4, Chapter Ones. These are all (which we would find out later) twilight girl's bursts of inspiration, so to speak, which aren't meant to become anything for her, but once she generates the idea, it's then out there in the ether for an artist to develop into something (the muse).

I will try to take your advice, Red, and give my paper baby 15 minutes of my day every day

Thanks!
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#9 of 12 Old 09-23-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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Instead I now have two choices. I can further extend my inaction and dwell on the missed opportunity. Or, a better choice I think, I can let Capi’s death and that missed instant transform my life. Of course, there had to have been a million instants before the e-mail telling of Capi’s death for that one to have the impact it had. Here I am, at the other end of those million and one instants. And here, I think, my path doglegs to somewhere I suspect this has all been leading to all along.

Capi, you were my muse for this one. Thank you.
Your prologue is splendid, until this point. But I'll get to that.

Before that, however, in moments from the first paragraph you are writing in the third person whereas here you are writing in the first person. Is that some kind of shift? (If it is, don't do it. Your first person narrative is far, far better.)

Writing in the first person can be difficult (although it won't be for you) because when you are writing a sort of memoir you have to effect a balance between what you think you are doing and what you really are doing. It is similar to the tension that Red is trying to create in her story. However, it becomes more complicated in a first person narrative because you have the burden of maintaining the picture of your innocence even though the reader knows that your first person character has actually reached some point of personal revelation that is making them write the story in the first place.

Writing it in the first person present is the most difficult way to do this of all, because in the first person present you can't refer to yourself in the past, buy saying things like "at that time, I thought that..." First person present, of course, gives you other wonderful opportunities, but if you use it, the entire burden of whatever awakening or becoming you experience has to be carried by the narrative alone. In a sense, if you speak in first person past, the character has the revelation about herself. If you speak in the first person present, it is the reader that has the revelation about the character.

The reason I am talking all this theory is that this line is confusing.

Quote:
Or, a better choice I think, I can let Capi’s death and that missed instant transform my life.
Since it is the pivotal line of the piece, carrying the entire weight of the novel that follows it, this line has to be built very carefully.

This thought from someone writing entirely in the present is tricky. "Transorm my life" is a major and serious thing; usually something that is only realized in retrospect. Spoken prospectively, it says something about the sayer and the thing is not good. We can't mandate transformations of our lives; we can only attempt them. If your character is mandating a transformation, then your character sounds a bit foolish. If you were writing this in the first person past tense, your character could say this without looking foolish, because it could represent an idea that the character once held, but transcended.

If your character is saying that she is going to use this death as an opportunity to try to transform her life, then you need to say so explicitly, because this line is the most important line of the piece. You can achieve this by simply changing the word “can” to “can try to”.

This probably seems like a big deal about a few words. But this is the line that says what the rest of the book is going to be about.
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#10 of 12 Old 09-24-2006, 03:43 PM
 
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Unagidon,

Thank you so much for the time you took to really sit down and give me your thoughts!! I appreciate this so much. You've really given me some things to think about. I'm going to come back on in a while and try to explain a couple of the things that you found a little confusing. Some of these won't really be clear until the book is finished.

thanks again!!!

Judi
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#11 of 12 Old 10-01-2006, 02:08 AM
 
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Red, I'm getting totally into your story; I can't wait to see where it goes. One more idea for sensory: describing what the air feels like when they head out to the porch. Oh, and stuff like the buttery taste of the lobster and asparagus.

twilight girl, I've had some regrets over people I've lost, too, and your writing reminds me of that numb feeling I've had upon realizing there's not another chance to connect with my loved one on this side -- almost like I need to cry but I'm just dead inside and no tears will come. I hope you'll get some rest and relax and let the tears come.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#12 of 12 Old 10-02-2006, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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mammal mama. thanks! THe first chapter is posted in the Sept 26th thread, if you're interessted.
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