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  • Hey Danny –

    I’m with the others on how this is punchy and playful and “more’ish” in its vibe. I’ve always been tickled by the idea of falling for some strangely discovered “part” of someone (as in a diary or letters or old home movies found in a box). The gap between who we are in our private pieces/places and who we are in the world is so interesting… So is the idea of being seen in our vulnerability. I hope to see where this story takes it all! 

    In general, I share the previous thoughts about “voice” and have what may be a slight variation on the ideas about dialogue. Personally, unless I am being taken somewhere fantastical or historical where I need the information to situate myself and understand everything, I don’t enjoy a lot of description of place or action unless it directly affects my understanding of the characters or the moment. What do I mean by this? I’ll jump right to examples because I always learn better that way myself... I beg forgiveness in advance for playing with this material and for the way I wind up framing the characters through my choices! I’m really just wanting to help illustrate some of what has already been offered about how we can play with understanding of character and with “psychic distance” (I learned that language in this group, lol!) through description, gesture, and contextual cues.

    EXAMPLE 1:

    “Does this derriere belong to you?”

    “I beg your pardon,” I blurted as Steve used one well-trimmed, obsessively clean fingernail to push a photocopy over to my side of his enormous and immaculate desk [a way to let the reader know a few key things about Steve and his managerial style, his person, with just the gesture of sliding the photocopy over]. Hadn’t my mother’s generation [grandmother’s? Not sure how old this character is supposed to be] thrown themselves under racehorses and burned bras so that I didn’t have to talk about this? Aren’t we deep into the heart of the movement? I shouldn’t have to look at half-baked pornography with my boss before I’ve even had a coffee [tea? Could even add something in about how Clare had said she would make her a cup before she’d been summoned and it would be getting cold – this is a way to introduce Clare early and could give us a little feel for how Nathalie’s mind is not really in this meeting.].

    “It’s black and white. It could be anyone’s bum.” I pushed it back toward him with only my middle finger, hoping he would notice [now we know a little something about how she feels about him and can feel a bit about her personality].

    “Well it’s not mine, is it?” He laughed, “I don’t wear short skirts, black tights and G-Strings.” I let his hideous hammer-on-pipe office clock tick into my growing irritation and hoped my silence would be contagious [as Rick already mentioned, the sound of the clock can become an anchor for the reader’s sense of tension in the scene and knowing that Nathalie finds it ugly augments the sense of voice].

    EXAMPLE 2:

    ‘What was that about?’ Clare had covered my coffee with a plate, the angel, and picked out one of the good Danishes before the marketing department had savaged the box [this tells you something about Clare’s thoughtfulness, about the office dynamics].

    ‘Arses.’

    ‘What?’

    ‘Arses.’ I sipped the gratefully strong blackness of my coffee then took a bite of the Danish, releasing a moaned and muffled ‘thank you’ over toward Clare’s pod [again, little details that, in this case with my choices, make it clear that Nathalie isn't afraid of bitter drinks and isn’t shy of talking with her mouthful but that she is also someone who says ‘thank you’].

    ‘He wanted to talk to you about arses?’

    ‘Yep.’

    ‘Whose?’

    ‘Mine I think. Somebody left a photocopy of their bum on his chair, probably on Friday.’ 

    Clare tore a tiny bite of her Danish off and nibbled at it like a bird [more info about Clare with just a gesture and still feeling like it’s through Nathalie’s eyes].

    ‘Was it you?’

    ‘No.’

    ‘You were quite drunk on Friday.’

    ‘I think I’d remember doing that, anyway it definitely isn’t mine.’

    ‘How do you know?’

    ‘There’s not enough of it.’

    (to be continued)


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