While sipping her hot coffee Natalie picked up the divorce papers from the dining table and her eyes ran through certain paper details that were unimportant to her. She did not believe in such written documents when a relationship was falling apart. Legal proceedings will not alter her conviction neither comprehend her sentiments and her five-year old relationship with her husband, Jonathan.

The moment she looked at her wedding ring, she wanted to pull it off. To her dismay, she could not. She twisted her ring finger and somehow pulled it off with a jerk. She wiped her tears with her elbow and quickly went into the toilet to flush it off. Lines from her forehead seemed faded away a little. Her lips trembled. She gave a short quick laugh. She did not notice the scratch on her finger before. She did not care about the sudden gush of fresh blood on her white skin. Her vulnerable soul had bled already.

The more she tried to forget him, the more her thoughts lured towards him. She was on a verge of an outburst that she could not have any control. Her physical body ached while her wounded heart wandered in search of some peace. She recalled her past and tried her best to know what things had gone wrong with her. She had worked hard enough to please him since they had moved to a different locality. Since then many things happened that she had no explanations and had just ignored them for her love sake. She was decorating her own dreams then. She could not tell when her husband was not hers anymore.

Instructor Response

Excellent work. You have incorporated many principles very effectively. Now I suggest you put this beginning away, and mark your calendar to return in three to four months. Make up other stories as you work on the other assignments. When you return to this story beginning, you’ll have an entirely new perspective, almost as if reading it for the first time. You’ll discover revisions and new things to be said to achieve your goals. And you will have learned a lot of new ideas in the interim that may be applied.

Go on now to other assignments. Keep making up new stories. Imagine new scenes. Keep writing scenes for practice. And when you’re not writing, imagine stories as you go through each day. Try to approach your story imagining not as describing a happening or event but as a protagonist struggling against odds toward some resolution. (This is true for entire stories, but you should also try to apply the idea to individual scenes.) Stories have a beginning (information and conflict), a middle (action precipitated by conflict), and an end (resolution of the conflict with some new realization of what it means to be human and live in our world). When you make up stories with this underlying structure, your story gains momentum and interest, and gives the reader pleasure. So if you find your stories flat and uninteresting, go back and learn to imagine and create conflict at every level in the story. It’s how good storytellers succeed. You might also make up stories on the spot and tell them to friends and family–see what their reactions are. The tendency early is to tell a story like:

Little Red Riding Hood went to her grandma’s house at the other side of the dense forest, and when she got there grandma was dead, devoured by some animal. It was just awful! NOT GOOD.

But look what you can do, as a storyteller.

Little Red Riding Hood’s mother told her to go through the forest to grandma’s house and not speak to anyone . . . and NOT to linger! There are dangers in the woods! Little Red met a wolf on her journey and told him she was going to grandma’s house. Then she stopped to pick flowers for grandma and enjoy the warm day. When she got to grandma’s house, granny didn’t look or talk the same. Something wasn’t quite right. And you know what happened next? Well . . .  IMPROVED

See how insertion of conflict (encounter with a carnivorous animal and Red’s disobeying her mother) has added action, suspense, and meaning into an otherwise listless story?

Keep working. I admire your determination and know you will be rewarded with the development of a writing and storytelling style that you’ll be pleased with.

All the best,

WHC

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