1. Point of View Exercise: Write the same scene in different point of views: 1st person and two of the 3rd persons. Where did you start? What worked best for the scene? Was there a better one or would a combination be necessary?
I. I don’t know why I’m here, if the soft couch could open up and eat me now, if I could sink slowly into its burgundy abyss, it would be – “Pass that bottle around here.” How can he just say it, my mouth is a booby trap for words, still my hand reaches out automatically, as if somewhere there lies a social, functional autopilot. The details of the room keep catching my eye more fervently than the pseudo-intellectual conversation catches my ears. The walls draped in mismatched candle holders with equally mismatched candles, the antique end table with a postmodern lamp - who are we trying to be here? The Picasso finally rests in my head, the girl looking in the mirror, those distorted eyes fix their gaze. “Kay, Kay ...” My ears awaken to my name. He is calling my name. “Yeah?” I mumble, asleep still and embarrassed for it. “What do you think?” He is sympathetic in his gaze but holds the bottle of plum wine out to me like he is holding the giant question mark of his sentence. I take it slowly, knowing to pour more for myself, and manage to feel my feet on the ground as I utter deliberately “I’m sorry, the Picasso caught me”.
II. The tiny apartment was as eclectic as its inhabitants and those they had trailed in. The candle lights danced against the walls as the conversation between the five became more and more abstract, more and more wine-punched. Kay, a romantically drawn young thing sat in the sinking end of the burgundy couch, feeling her feet fall asleep as she played with the fringed edges of the sofa, secretly. “But don’t you believe in the new existentialism?!” Margarite’s cry rang to the Picasso opposite her but did not hit any of the intended targets. She often tried too hard, the bells on her ankles announced this as they punctuated her sentence. Felix, confident in his own Mediterranean skin, in his own home and in Margarite’s exaggeration, leaned over towards Kay, his gaze beyond Margarite who separated them, and simply said “Pass that bottle around here.” Kay, like a hunted animal passed the bottle feebly. “Don’t let Margarite near any of that,” the blue-eyed-blonde-haired wonder of an Aryan said. John fought his whiteness for fear of being pegged an oppressor - his Indian shirt matched the mixed up interior. We are all running in some direction, he thought and poured himself another glass of plum wine after Felix cooly told Margarite that “new existentialism is a sad contradictory phrase - existentialism dates back to our awakening.” There was a beat of unrest broken by Felix’s want of Kay’s attention - “Kay, Kay” and then again, “Kay, Kay.” She was so intrigued by his walls, his true exteriors. “Yeah?” She appeared, a dreamer from a sleep, he thought, feeling her thoughts shift like the dreamers opening arms. “What do you think?” He pressed the wine in her direction, pressed his question, himself. She accepted reluctantly, took more. It did not matter what she thought of the new existentialism. “I’m sorry the Picasso caught me.” Yet she spoke only of walls, his walls, his exteriors.
III. The young would-be revolutionaries sat on the varied surfaces of the cliche but warm apartment. Antiques and candles and a Picasso, they poured wine and poured wine. An insecure but none the less striking Kay sat huddled in the corner of the couch, beside her Margarite, decked in lavish, worldly jewelry. Night and day on the burgundy plush couch. Felix, thirsty still, sat comfortably next to Margarite smiling contently in his candle lit room. “But don’t you believe in the new existentialism?!” Margarite cried, embellishing her punctuation with her ankle bells. Though it was aimed to Felix, to the room, it missed any possible target. Felix leaned over, passing Margarite in his gaze and said very simply, “Pass that bottle around here.” Kay contracted, reached and passed the lush plum wine to Felix, the boy with eyes as dark as night. John reestablished himself, sitting up and saying smuggly, “Don’t let Margarite near any of that.” His Indian shirt fit well with the room decor, he was there just like each candle, trying hard to light, mismatched. “New existentialism is a sad contradictory phrase - existentialism dates back to our awakening,” Felix handed it back to Margarite and John drank more wine, and it was apparent that Felix was interested in the shy girl in the corner. He took the bottle without looking, looking only at her , “Kay, Kay”. While the conversation and wine had been passed and tasted, Kay had been mesmerized by the interiors, by the walls. “Kay, Kay,” Felix repeated until she began to refocus, reawaken to the scene at hand. “What do you think?” he asked of her, handing the bottle to her straightly. She took it, took more, and honestly answered, “I’m sorry the Picasso caught me.”
2. Details and Drama [implicit vs explicit information]. The following is a paragraph by a young author. It appears in Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction.
Debbie was a very stubborn and completely independent person and was always doing things her way despite her parents' efforts to get her to conform. Her father was an executive in a dress manufactoring company and was able to afford his family all the luxaries and comforts of life. But Debbie was completely indifferent to her family's affluence.
Turn this descriptive passage into drama. Rewite the paragraph to show us what Debbie is like. Let the reader come to know the father in a concrete way. Breathe life into the conflict between Debbie and her parents. Seek details that will flesh out the characters and their world.
Debbie smushed her lips together, evening out the newly applied black lipstick. Looming before her in the mirror was the reflection of an opened closet, filled with petite women’s dresses (“unique” her father called them, as most of them never made it past the designer’s room), organized by season and colour. She glanced at the reflection and turned her music louder. The bass roared. “I thought you spoke to her about that damn noise, Louise.” Debbie sighed. “Well Jack, two mouths are better than one.” Their voices seemed to penetrate even the scream-scatting of the angry boy singing through her stereo. There they always were, Jack and Louise. Mr and Mrs John and Louise Teffer. Debbie rose and slammed shut her closet door.
There had been a point when it was simpler, he thought. Jack Teffer sat down to the evening newspaper and a cup of tea, sitting in his chair, beside his wife, in his living room, in his house. Yes, it had been simpler. She used to adore the dresses, she used to spin around the dining room table each night in her newest dress. “Thank you, Daddy,” she used to say and plop down ready for dinner. Rosie would serve and together they ate, his family at his table. Somewhere in those years things were lost - first it was thank you, then it was the spinning, then the dinners together, then the dresses. “Thank you, Daddy.” When was the last time she had said Daddy?
There had been a point when it was simpler, she thought. Debbie laid down on her bed, her purple and black hair spread out upon her unmade sheets. She wiggled her toes in her fishnets. They just stopped getting it and it didn’t matter to her. No, it didn’t matter. She would just keep closing the closet door and climbing out the window on the nights they said no to her. It was that simple. They didn’t get it, why should she have to bother with it? This was her life after all, this was hers.
“Rosie, go call Debbie down to dinner, please,” Mrs Louise Teffer gave the order to the short Hispanic woman who had been with the family since Jack’s name plate had read “Executive Director” of the Sleek Chic Dress Company. Now reaching 56, she felt a maternal calling in all of her paid duties.
Trip-a-let, trip-a-let. Rosie’s knock interrupted Debbie’s self-justification. “Whaaat Rosie?!” She said, hoarsely and unrefined. The door opened and Debbie sat up. Oh Lord, even the goddamn maid wears the dresses. Rosie was in a design from last fall, an A-line “Home Dress” burgundy and simple. “Dinner, Miss Debbie,” Rosie said after turning the stereo’s volume knob down. Debbie rose at this destruction of her environment. “I’ll be down,” was Debbie’s flat reply as she turned the knob back to its proper place. Rosie left. Debbie sighed and then followed, letting her music throb into the walls and floors of the house.
Debbie sauntered to the table and plopped down in her chair. “How was your day, dear?” The question came from Louise, who was wearing this season’s sure-to-be-a-hit design - a princess seamed plaid dress, form fitting and casual, and was directed to her daughter. “Boring, I guess. I don’t know. Kind of sucked. Why?” John did not recognize the girl who sat at his table, between himself and his wife. This was not his daughter.
Debbie did not recognize where she was, who she was with. The dresses, “dear”, her father sitting with his dark tie and cream shirt. Was who she was so far removed from all this? All these barriers. “Well, Debbie, I’m sorry to hear that, perhaps you’ll pick up a dictionary tonight to learn a more useful language?” Her mothers calm but sharp wit vibrated in each of Debbie’s piercings (many of them unbeknownst to either adult). John Teffer did not recognize the girl at the table and tried instead to talk to his daughter - “Well, Debbie, I brought home a dress for you, its really quite unique.”
So there you have it my writer loves, go nuts, comment back with your stuff if you want/can, it'd be a good time for all. Let me know what you think of mine. I rather enjoy both Kay and Debbie. haha. Points for being crazy.