Saturday, April 28, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Explosive

You said it had been a hard day at work, with your idiot coworkers and late deliveries at the loading dock.

You said I should be grateful you were working, looking after our family while I wasted money on things only I wanted.

You said I was lucky that you would even look at me, and you pushed, and punched, and kicked me down the hall.

You said I better pretend to enjoy it because you’d had enough backtalk from the bitches who’d slept their way into manager jobs.

And when you finished, you said you were sorry, and you said it would never happen again…or again…or again…or again.

29 comments:

  1. Very sad write, Jo-Anne. Your writing is emotionally very powerful. :-)

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  2. This packs a real punch, J.A and is a sad reality for many women...so much said in so few sentences...you are the mistress of this form of writing...so good! :)

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    1. Thank you Louise, I appreciate your kind words.

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  3. Nice one, Jo. So why did she put up with him?

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    1. There were many reasons she put up with him, but the main one was/is because she believed that she deserved it. Or perhaps, that she didn't deserve better.

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    2. I hope it was not you in the story ... ?

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    3. Okay, I get that, makes sense. Thanks :)

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    4. Quirina, no it isn't me in the story. I know the feelings for other reasons but don't worry, it isn't me.

      Chris, as much as we don't like to acknowledge it, there are times when women in abusive relationships (whether physical or psychological abuse)just can't see a way out. Very easy the first time to think it's just a one of, and the second time to think it's because of the situation, and the third time to think she provoked it... and before she knows it, she thinks that she has caused it and that she deserves it. That's why I tried to go for a kind of matter of fact, even tone to the woman's voice. She has taken her emotions out of what happened and is just retelling a sequence of events. At least that's what I was trying for within the 5 sentence parameter.

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    5. And you did an excellent job of it, too. But this can be an issue with flash fiction: a good story always needs to leave the reader wondering, but in this one I really did want to know why she put up with it (which you didn't have space to say). In a story like this, the risidual question in my head should be "Will things get any better for her?" The even tone of her voice, which you've caught very well, doesn't answer what for me - as a man - is the most vital question to understanding her.

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    6. Really good point my friend. Five sentences didn't give me enough space to make that clear. Definitely a limitation.

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  4. Powerful writing Jo-Anne, made me shiver...love it when writing gives me a physical response!

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    1. Thank you so much Lisa. I like it when stories do that too. I still think about the little girl you wrote about, pulling her shoes up underneath the big leaf. Your scene/story still resonates in my heart.

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  5. I just love your writing because it cuts right to the quick and evokes so many powerful emotions. You are SO talented Jo-Anne!

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    1. Dear Angie, thank you so much **blushing** I appreciate your kind comments. The five sentences are a challenge, aren't they but I think (and hope) that my writing has improved as I've tried to concentrate the scene down to its basic elements.

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    1. Thank you Donna - I was hoping that the story gave a feeling of being overwhelmed by a difficult situation.

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  7. Very powerful (and sad). Well done Jo-Anne.

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    1. Thank you Steven. It felt sad when I was writing it but you know how it is when you get focused on one storyline for the inspiration word and you just can't let it go until you get it on the page. Thanks again for all the RTs. You're always so supportive. Really appreciate you!

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  8. Nice to see a story written in the second person, and the voice in this hit just the right note for me, with that detached tone that you so often find amongst abuse victims. The pace and rhythm were excellent too. Really good work.

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    1. Sandra - I always appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. What you have said is exactly what I was trying to achieve. Thank you so much.

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  9. Wow! Very powerful indeed! I could feel the emotions and the hurt. I also like the fact it is in 2nd person. Great job!

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    1. Thank you Stephanie for taking the time to comment - I really appreciate it. I was trying to convey what you have said, regarding the emotions and the hurt - the broken down feeling that comes from continuing abuse. These 5 sentence challenges are helpful writing exercises!

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  10. Your story does give a feeling of being overwhelmed -- in my case, by the fact that this is sadly true for many women and by the urge to know, somehow, that things will get better for the woman in your story.

    The end of the last sentence was particularly powerful to me: "never [...] again... or again... or again... or again.". This alone told me it was a daily situation, and therefore the last was the most terrible* sentence of the piece. I love a piece that ends with the most terrible* sentence.

    * Terrible as in powerful and dire and shocking, not as in bad, of course; it's an excellent sentence.

    This is also one of the few rare cases I have come across in which the best way to write the scene in question is with several one-sentence paragraphs instead of one or two many-sentence paragraphs. Extra points for that, Jo-Anne!

    Cheers!

    / Rain

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    1. Rain, your insightful and thorough comments are more than I have ever received for a story. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness you have put into writing them.

      I admit that after I wrote it, I was worried that the structure of the single sentences would just make it look like I didn't know how to form a paragraph...but of course, it was my intent, as you perceptively note, to have that help with the way the abused woman is speaking.

      thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.

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  11. A riveting piece. I loved the way you employ anaphora, the repetition of the same word or phrase ('You said...") for emphasis. A sad tale. Sad because it is so prevalent in our society. Sad because she couldn't walk away. Sad because she always belives him when he says it won't happen again.

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    1. Andy, thank you so much for your comment. I have wondered if the structure that I used was actually working for this particular subject so I appreciate very much that it connected with you. Also very pleased you are joining in the 5 sentence fiction writing challenges now. I find them always helpful and intriguing exercises!

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  12. I always appreciate how you get right to the heart of things so diffcult to write. In such a short space you've encapsulated a horrific reality for many women. Really well done!!!

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  13. Lillie - I appreciate the challenges provided through your weekly 5 sentence fiction. It has really helped me to find what's the most important thing that I want to convey. Sometimes I'm successful at it, sometimes not but my writing is always improved by trying. Thank you for your generous comment.

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