I have been been writing for many years. Mainly journalistic, fact based prose. At times some may argue it was bordering on creative fiction but all writers surely reserve the right to embellish the truth from time to time! Having recently decided to end one long running web project I turned my attention to another, namely this blog. Wasn’t long before I stumbled into the writing community and this week I posted my first two official attempts at creative fiction. One in the 100 Word Challenge and the other over at Friday Fictioneers.
Reaction to both pieces, especially the second has been extremely encouraging. I’m not in this to be the new Martin or Rowling. Only in it to explore my love for writing. Just intrigued to see what I am capable of. If along the way I can gain the respect of some serious writers and perhaps even make it into print at some point then I will put my pen away happy I’ve done my best.
Anyway, down to business. What I want to discuss here is the piece I wrote for Friday Fictioneers. Inspired by a photographic prompt of a classic old car falling into disrepair I came up with the following in a matter of minutes:
His car had been his pride and joy. It had all happened in that car. His son had happened in that car.
He had been eyeing it for as long as boys eye things like that. He didn’t let him touch it. He didn’t trust him.
You’ll get the car when I’m dead and not before he insisted. He would be there waiting. He was forever waiting. He wasn’t in a hurry.
Didn’t think you really wanted it. Just thought you wanted me gone.
I love you son. Take care of the old girl.
I will dad. I will…
I liked it. I therefore hurriedly, and I admit even a tad excitedly, rushed over and posted in this week’s Friday Fictioneers challenge. The feedback then flooded in. Well to me it has seemed like a flood. But a good flood. A flood of fascinating comments, kind words and above all helpful tips and pointers. Bearing these in mind I have had a second attempt at my story:
That car had been his father’s pride and joy. It had all happened in that car. On one embarrassing occasion his mother even told him that he had happened in that car.
He had been eyeing it for as long as sons eye things like that. Dad didn’t let him touch it. Dad didn’t trust him.
“You’ll get the car when I’m dead and not before” the old man would insist.
“Didn’t think you really wanted it, just thought you wanted me gone. I love you son. Take care of the old girl.”
“I will dad. I will….”
The point of the story remains in tact i.e. that passed down family heirlooms can often not be cherished as much as they once were. Not through malice or a lack of care but the love or feel for the item is rarely the same. Thus sometimes something which was once a family pride and joy ends up gathering dust in a barn. Despite the changes to the structure I think this central point remains undiminished. The changes I made were for two reasons.
1. Use of the word “He”
Several people commented that it wasn’t entirely clear who “He” was referring to, the son or the father. When I wrote the story and then read it back to myself I was probably guilty of adding emphasis to some of the instances of “He” to distinguish from others i.e. it sounds correct when I read it out loud but on paper it’s hard to disagree it may confuse some.
2. Lack of Quotations
There were no quotes at all. Could argue some stylistic point but I’d be lying. I just didn’t put in any in. Again when I read it aloud to myself I sort of assumed quotes were in place. Of course they aren’t.
Bearing the above in mind the story was adjusted accordingly:
- Use of father, and mother in the first paragraph. Makes it clear who his/he is i.e. the son.
- Use of son in the second paragraph. Makes it clear He in this context is the son. Added Dad to second two sentences. Makes it explicitly clear who we are talking about.
- In the third paragraph I have completely removed a section which I felt was in hindsight unnecessary and perhaps simply added to the “who is he” confusion.
- End of piece is now all quoted. First section is the father. Second is the son. This should be evident. Hopefully!
Just thought I would post this blog to see what some of my fellow writers think. I personally feel the second draft is a big improvement as it retains the charm and purpose but loses the confusion as well as shedding some words that didn’t add anything to the tale.
Looking forward to next week’s challenge!