Fiction.

I don’t know if you could tell from my last post, but I really love writing creative non-fiction. It’s my bread and butter. It’s what I see myself doing for a career. But fiction? That’s another story.

Last Thursday, my teacher gave out the fiction assignment. I didn’t start it until today. You might think that’s just regular college student procrastination, but I couldn’t wait to start my non-fiction project. I started it that very day.

But I just couldn’t think of anything good for my fiction piece. I would get little germs of ideas, and then drop them before they had a chance to grow. Finally, today, I started something.

I’m proud of myself for finally putting something down on paper (or, I should say, paper on a screen), but I’m still lukewarm about what I’ve written. It doesn’t seem very interesting to me, and while I have an idea about where I want it to go, I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to get there.

So I’m going to share it with you, and I’m looking for honest reactions. What do you think about it? Would you read the rest of the story? Is it interesting? Does it feel drawn-out or contrived? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The ice cream shop was empty. A girl leaned on the counter, absently fingering the buttons on her pink polo shirt. Her hair was pulled back in a messy bun; she must have been trying to be fashionable, but it looked like bedhead. She gazed sleepily at the metallic rows of ice cream. Her name tag said, in block letters hastily glued on, “Mary.”

The soft bell dinged, and her eyes darted to the door, suddenly alert. She pulled herself up from the counter.

It was a girl. Her tan arms poked out of a drapy yellow dress, her tiny waist pulled in with a thick red belt. Her legs were long, brown, with no trace of a tan line. The dress ended at her mid-thighs. Mary stared at the hemline. The dress was so wispy and swishy, it eventually had to reveal too much. Mary was distracted when the girl pushed her bug-eye sunglasses to the top of her head. The girl had a perfect messy bun. Mary cocked her head slightly, as though trying to memorize it.

The yellow-dress girl smiled at the guy, just coming in the door behind her. She laughed, as though he had just told a joke. He smiled, bouncing his eyebrows up and down once in a mischievous, knowing way. He wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his chin into her shoulder, grinning.

Mary looked away, biting the inside of her cheek. She smiled as the couple came to the counter. “Hi, what can I get for you today?” she said in a plastic voice.

“We’re getting married tomorrow,” the girl said, leaning over the counter and smiling brilliantly, as though letting Mary in on a profound secret. Her teeth shone white against her brown summer face. Mary looked away from her, blinking, as though the teeth glared too bright. “Oh. That’s exciting.”

“I know!” The girl looked up at the guy, her cheeks straining to hold her smile.

Mary’s hands fidgeted with the belt loops on her slacks. Her eyes darted from the red belt to the perfectly messy bun to the giant diamond on the girl’s left hand as the hand came up to rest lightly on her fiance’s neck. Mary waited.

The girl laughed as the guy tried to kiss her. She pushed him away playfully. “Of course, I can’t eat a lot of ice cream when I still have to fit into my dress,” she told Mary. “The wedding’s tomorrow.”

“Eat all the ice cream you want, you’ll look beautiful no matter what,” her fiance murmured.

“Oh, you’re so sweet!”

“What can I get for you?” Mary asked again.

“Oh! Yes! Sorry,” the girl said. “I don’t know. What do you have that’s fat-free?”

“We have fat-free vanilla.”

“What’s the smallest size you have?”

“The kids’ size.” Mary lifted a tiny cup off a stack behind her and showed them.

“I’ll have that. The fat-free vanilla.”

“Okay.” Mary reached for the scoop.

“I’ll have a large chocolate-chip cookie dough. Not fat-free,” the guy joked.

“Okay.”

“Large?” The girl looked at him dubiously.

“What’s wrong with that? I don’t have a dress to fit into.”

 

And it ends there, very abruptly. 🙂 What are your thoughts? Keep in mind this is pretty much just what I spit out when I sat down at the computer, it’s not been polished up by any means. The story needs to be 8-12 pages; this is only about 2, so if I keep up with this story line, it will go on for quite a bit longer. I am actually considering dropping this whole idea and doing something else entirely.

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2 Responses to Fiction.

  1. Carrie says:

    Okay, I’ll give honest feedback, but keep in mind that I’m not a big fiction reader. I have a strong preference for non-fiction. When I do read fiction, I tend to have to force myself through until I get familiar with the characters and the story draws me in. That was somewhat my experience with this story. I don’t really care about the characters yet. But I don’t know that it would be better for you to cater to my tastes and try to make me curious about the characters right away. That’s not necessarily better writing. Then again, if you’re already 20% or so of the way through the story, maybe it should be progressing more quickly.

  2. Jeff says:

    It’s too early in the story to tell whether the plot will be good or not, although your writing style is good. Of course, it is obviously written for women, so probably not my cup of tea.

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