Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sample Summer Exercise


This quote is by Alice Munroe in The Albanian Virgin.  I used it as the model for a character introduction excerpt of my own.  

“I had met Donald when I went to see him about a rash on my neck.  He was eight years older than I was – a tall, freckled, blushing man, cleverer than he looked.  A dermatologist sees grief and despair, though the problems that bring people to him may not be in the same class as tumors and blocked arteries.  He sees sabotage from within, and truly unlucky fate.  He sees how matters like love and happiness can be governed by a patch of riled up cells.  Experience of this sort had made Donald kind, in a cautious, impersonal way.  He said that my rash was probably due to stress and that he could see that I was going to be a wonderful woman, once I got a few problems under control.”

My words - I met Aaron when I brought in a sample of our water after we discovered oil seeping out of the ground in the corner of our backyard.  He was six years older than I was - a short, sunburnt, solid built man, more patient than he looked.   An assessor sees how dreams can be shattered by unseen elements, though the problems people bring to him are not in the same class as foreclosures, or zoning laws.  He saw how property values and people’s lives can be sabotaged by the shifts underground.  Experience of this sort had made Aaron tentative, in a thorough, impersonal way.  He said my water was probably okay, the depth of the water well my saving grace, but the presence of oil particles in the air would be a bigger detriment to my health than any drinking water issue, and that I was the type of woman who could not only survive this challenge but eventually have a wonderful life.   

As you can see I unabashedly used many elements of Alice Munro’s work as I built these sentences.  The paragraph is not going to be used in any piece of my own fiction, I sought instead an expansion of techniques I could use to bring a story to life. 

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