Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Fellow Writers Blog Hop

THIRD AND MAIN 

By Linda Rondeau                                                           

BEFORE AND AFTER
Our blog exchange for Fellow Writers asked us to excerpt an old manuscript and show how our writing has changed. I wrote this story eleven years ago as a writing exercise. You’ll quickly see the before was too passive and telling.
            Now, I write from deep point of view which helps eliminate the sense of telling that often accompanies a distant narrative style. Deep pov also promotes a more active narration.
I doubt I’d even write this story today as it is too predictable and contrived even with the fixes. But if I did, I’d probably write it from Chang Lee’s point of view.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the original and some from the “fixed” version.
How would you fix this story?
BEFORE
Nick’s Diner was nearly empty.  Miranda fixed her gaze on the rumpled note. The A homeless man had shoved it into her hand as she left the bank. He had said nothing and disappeared into the rush hour crowd.  
“What you reading? Must be fascinating.”  She hadn’t noticed Detective Dickson was seated next to her at the counter.
She quickly folded the evidence, sliding it into her purse.  “Just a letter from Dad.”  She lied.  The note had warned her not to contact the police. 
“So how is Sarge?”
“Fine.  Just fine since he left the force and is living in a warmer climate.”  
Dickson glanced at his watch.  “What are you doing here this late?” 
Miranda knew it was already 10 PM.  The minutes ticked away while conversing with the obese and balding Lieutenant James Dickson.
“I’m a big girl, Jim.  I can take care of myself.  I already have a father.” 
“I envy Sarge.  Wish I could retire.”  Miranda pretended to listen while Dickson related the intricacies of his golden year fantasies.  She had no time for his ramblings. When he lifted his head toward the ceiling fan, she glanced at her watch—10:15—only fifteen more minutes. Third and Main was three blocks away. “Well, I really must be getting home.  Nice chatting with you.”  She stood.
“Give that kid of yours a high-five for me.”  Dickson slapped Miranda’s hand to further his instruction then left the diner as if on cue.  
Someone had been shadowing her around the clock. Had that someone followed her to the diner? Was she being watched even now? She had instructed her mother to take Brandon out of town for a few days. “Watch him carefully and stay in public places,” she had warned her, telling her nothing more.
The Chinese woman’s gaunt frame was unmistakable.  Even from a distance she knew it was Chang Lee.
 “You’re the one who wrote the note.  I suspected as much.”
She stopped short, noticing a revolver clasped in the woman’s hand.  “Where is Jiang?” 
Miranda stiffened defiantly.  “Brandon is safe where you will never find him no matter what happens to me.” 
“I want my son, back.” Chang Lee raised the gun aiming at Miranda’s chest.
“But he’s my son, now.  Remember?  You signed the papers giving him to me. You did a loving thing by letting him have the home you could not give him.  Don’t ruin his life by murdering the only mother he has ever known.”
  Miranda moved a little closer.  Chang Lee’s eyes were glazed and fully dilated. Was Chang Lee suffering from a drug-induced psychosis?  She inched carefully toward Chang Lee, making certain to avoid sudden movements or long steps.

AFTER
THIRD AND MAIN:  AFTER
            Miranda glanced at her watch. Fifteen minutes to spare—Third and Main only three blocks away. Nick’s dinner smelled like old fish. Its emptiness pressed against her. She re-read the crumpled note the homeless man had shoved into her hand as she left the bank earlier.     
“What you reading? Must be fascinating.”
She whipped her attention toward Dickson, Dad’s old partner, seated next to her at the counter.
“Just a letter from Dad. I didn’t see you come in.”
She shoved the note into her purse. Hard to put a lie past Dickson, but the note warned her to come alone and not tell anyone.
 “How’s Sarge doing these days?”
“Fine since he left the force. Loves Florida.”   
“Out kind of late, aren’t you?”Dickson peered at the clock overtop the grill. The dimmed florescent light bounced off his balding scalp.
“I’m a big girl, Jim. I can take care of myself. I already have a father.” 
“I envy Sarge.  Wish I could retire.” 
Dickson rambled on about his ever-changing retirement fantasies. This time he’d move to the Virgin Islands. She glanced at her watch. She had to leave.
Now.
“You’re right. It’s late. Guess I should get home.” 
“Give that kid of yours a high-five for me.” 
“Will do. Brandon thinks you’re pretty cool for an old guy.”
Dickson laughed, normally an appealing laugh. Tonight it grated.
Miranda slipped her purse onto her shoulders, her thoughts not far from the note. Bring Brandon with you
She sighed, gripping the Derringer…waiting. For what? Maybe the note had only been a cruel hoax and no one need die tonight.
She turned toward the sound of footsteps. A gaunt frame sauntered toward her, the Asian woman’s grotesque limp a giveaway. Chang Lee.  “I suspected as much.”
Chang Lee aimed a revolver at Miranda’s chest. “Where is Jiang?” 
“Where you’ll never find him.”
 “I want my son, back.”
“Chang Lee. Think about it. You did a loving thing by letting Jiang have the home you couldn’t give him. Don’t ruin his life by murdering the only mother he has ever known.”
  Now under the lamppost, fury blazed from Chang Lee’s dilated eyes, reminiscent of the day she signed the adoption papers, then under the throes of a drug-induced psychosis.

 

1 comment:

kkoning78 said...

Interesting story. I agree with you that deep POV is much more "show" than "tell". Isn't it fascinating how much our writing develops as time passes and we practice more and learn more about the craft. I think that better writing also comes with confidence in our own ability.
Thanks for the share.
Kim