First, and irrelevantly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my gorgeous little boy, who has become one of my best friends and a constant reminder of the wonder of life.
Now, onto business. It’s November, which means I’m already at least toe-deep in NaNoWriMo, but the lovely Steph over at BeKindRewrite doesn’t care about a small thing like that. She demands voices, because this week is Voice Week. So, every day this week, I’ll be posting a 100 word story in a different voice. If you want to find out more, join in, or read other Voice Week stories, check out VW HQ.
Either way, I hope you enjoy my stories this year. I’d love to hear your feedback – on the stories, on the voices, whatever. My stories are based on an InMon prompt from a few weeks ago, which I liked but didn’t use.
Guns in the Toy Box
We always said our son wouldn’t play at war. It seemed wrong to our middle class, liberal minds, that he should play at shooting when children half a world away do it for real.
But if you don’t buy them guns, apparently kids just make them. Out of fingers. Or toilet rolls. Or the arm of their sister’s Barbie. So we let him have a water pistol when he was five.
Now he’s going halfway around the world to protect those foreign children. I’m proud. But if it’s such a good thing, why do I wake up cold and sweating?
Last week, I participated in Voice Week – a week-long project instigated by BeKindRewrite to write the same scene, story or prompt using a variety of voices or points of view. In keeping with her other challenge – Inspiration Mondays – BeKindRewrite is non-restrictive in how you interpret the challenge, and one of the things I found best about reading the other responses was to see the various ways people went about the challenge.
Some writers took a single story and told it in 5 parts, each focussing on a different character, with a different way of speaking. Others did a similar thing, but changed point of view each time. BeKind herself simply described a scene, but using 5 very different writing styles – from Biblical through gothic literature and beyond. And then there were a few like me, who told a single story from five different points of view.
How did I do? Well, ultimately, that’s for you to decide. I feel the week was a success – lots of generous comments, a few new readers and I learned a few things about my writing too. Did I explore voice? A little, but within quite narrow bounds; my first three entries had reasonably similar tones, so they were more about interpretation and POV. It was only really on Thursday and Friday that I moved away from a single first person narrator and branched out into different styles of writing.
Wednesday was probably the weakest day. The spider’s point of view needed more space really to do what I wanted it to – her angst got lost in the story. Apparently some readers felt that she was too knowledgable about the situation too, although I’m not sure I agree with that – why shouldn’t she see more than the average observer? My cats certainly do.
Thursday was my favourite – an official report on the sinister clearance of inhabitants – although writers always like to play God and Friday was a variation on that theme.
Did you partake – as a writer or a reader? I’d love to know how you enjoyed Voice Week (and if you didn’t there’s still time to go back and look at either my entries or others). In addition, I enjoyed it so much, I’m looking for other short-term writing challenges I can join in online. Do you know any? If so, please share a link.
In the final part of my Voice Week exercise, below is another possibility for the story which began as A Mother’s Legacy. You can see all the other versions of this story, and read about Voice Week as a project, on Monday-Thursday’s posts. Again, I’ve tried to break my own mold a bit with today’s version, going right outside they world I know.
If you’re looking for Friday Fiction, go to the next blogpost, Friday Fiction – The Rebellion. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about this piece, which started life from a Fictioneers’ prompt a few weeks ago.
They came from us and so they must all eventually return. For we are All that is and ever shall be.
She walks bent; her human body no longer of value. She will shed it at the shore.
He still clings to his form and, in doing so, clings to hers. He senses, but does not understand. He knows that he must let her go, but wishes she could remain.
He leads her, tenderly, to the water’s edge.
She hesitates, clinging to the last tendrils of experience. For the All feels nothing, hears nothing, knows nothing. And yet, is everything.
In part 4 of my Voice Week submissions, I’ve stepped right outside my comfort zone and tried to give you something different from my normal fiction style. I’m not sure I could sustain it for a longer story, but it was definitely interesting to try for 100 words. You can see the original story and an explanation of Voice Week on monday’s post, then a couple of more normal versions of the story on Tuesday and yesterday’s posts. Please note – the various versions are not all supposed to be simultaneously true; they are different possibilities stemming out of the first story.
Thursday’s Submissions suggestions / Inspiration Mondays posts will be resumed next week.
Clearance of properties in the Region Of Redevelopment proceeds with substantial success. Most inhabitants have been dispatched according to classification.
Pockets of resistance remain. At Building 785 gunfire has been intermittent. At 20:00 hours, two individuals were seen escaping into the forest in the direction of the lake. One adult male is believed to have returned to Building 785.
A boat was observed at 21:00 hours carrying a lone elderly female away from shore. Regrettably our tracking beacons were unable to intercept the vessel, which is believed to have escaped into enemy territory.
Final clearance is anticipated within 24 hours.
In the third part of my Voice Week submissions, here is another possible version of A Mother’s Legacy. Check out Monday’s post for Version 1 and an explanation of the project, then yesterday’s for Version 2. Today I’m stepping outside the main characters, and trying a different tone. As ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
A Mother’s Legacy [The Spider]
Humanity bustles through, oblivious. They only ever notice us if they smash through our homes, tearing each carefully woven strand from its anchor point. Then they notice, oh yes. But they notice only their fear.
He’s the same. But she is different. Like me, she has given her all for her children and when she sees my creation, we are one for a moment. Then he speaks: “Come on, Mum. Let’s get you to the shore now.”
And she is no longer the proud and strong spider, but the terrified fly, caught in his snare and unable to break free.
In the second part of my Voice Week submissions, here is another possible version of A Mother’s Legacy. Check out yesterday’s post for version 1 and an explanation of the project. As ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
A Mother’s Legacy [The Mother]
I once told my son that if I became terminally ill, he should put me on a boat with a pistol and a prayer. But that was before he married the Black Widow, before it was all about her.
Apparently the doctor said I wouldn’t see out the winter, but I see it now – frost crisping onto the trees and crunching underfoot. And sprinkled on a spider’s web, her babies hanging restless in the centre. She’s given them everything, but it’s not enough.
His hand chills more than the cold. “Come on, Mum. Let’s get you to the shore now.”
Thanks to our friends at BeKindRewrite, I’m signed up to a project this week called VoiceWeek. The idea is to take a single story and depict it in 5 distinct and contrasting voices. If you’re interested in joining in, there’s still time – just click on the link above and check out what to do.
For me, it was an opportunity to explore a short story I wrote a few weeks ago with the Friday Fictioneers, called A Mother’s Legacy. It was a story with so many strands to it and so many potential explanations and avenues, that I wanted to explore them some more. And although it only had two characters, I thought there were five points of view that could be picked up from it.
Today’s post is a repeat of that Friday’s story, but I hope you’ll stop by each day this week for another angle. Each day, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the drafting, the voices and the story itself. And if you do join in the project, leave a link to your own stories so I can stop by and see what you’ve done with this fascinating challenge.
She knew the path so much better than I, yet I was leading. She had guided me all my life, but now I was ahead.
She was staring into the trees, and I noticed what had caught her attention – a spider’s web, vividly picked out of the darkness by the crystal moonlight. And in the very centre, a tight ball of inhabitants, ready to hatch.
“She’s given them everything,” she said, unable to look away. “Will it be enough, my children?”
I tucked an arm underneath hers, blinking away tears, “Of course, Mum. Let’s get you to the shore now.”