Wednesday, March 4, 2015

POV exercise on "Being the Stranger" (Exercise 9 Part 2 from Steering the Craft)

Finally, an update to the blog. I've been busy with stuff (day job, family life, hobbies, so on and so forth). I must learn to consistently manage all of that better in order to make more updates on this blog. We're shooting for weekly updates here. C'mon.

Anyway, on to the post at hand. We're nearing the end of Steering the Craft. Four more exercises to go then we'll have one complete run-through posted on this blog. Finished this one last week so I might as well post it for interested readers.

Exercise 9 Part 2: Being the Stranger
Write a narrative of 200-600 words, a scene involving at least two people and some kind of action or event.

Use a single viewpoint character, either in first person or limited third person, who is involved in the event. Give us the character’s thoughts and feelings in their own words.
The viewpoint character (real or invented) is to be somebody you dislike, or disapprove of, or hate, or feel to be extremely different from yourself.
The situation might be a quarrel between neighbors, or a relative’s visit, or somebody acting weird at the checkout counter – whatever will show the viewpoint character being who they are, doing what they do.

[Notes and Draft ]
Not sure how successful on being the stranger this exercise was - it was a bit difficult to choose a viewpoint as I feel like a lot of my characters are strangers in some respect. Still, he does approach a problem differently than I would I suppose.
I wrote a first draft that went into some backstory and went over the word limit, so I decided to be more strict with myself and wrote a new focus/situation for the character I chose for this exercise, which can be found below labeled as Draft Two. That sort've quick dump of a draft does seem to churn out something better overall, though I sometimes get confused about what I should keep. Those older drafts are always lingering, staring in from the hazy windows, jingling the door, wanting to share a cup.

Draft Two of Exercise 9, Part 2: Being the Stranger
Mayor Habendale bared his teeth. The grubby man on the street raised his hands in defense and repeated his denial of knowledge regarding the disappearance of Mrs. Habendale.
The mayor socked him a good one in the face. He was sick of these scum leeching off his city lying to his face. A fist might teach them to man up.
And, in fact, it did. The grubby man spit blood as soldiers forced the man’s hands behind his back and applied manacles. After his struggles to stand failed and left him with a side of his face shoved into the mud, he gave in and admitted he might know something of use. About time. The lot of these liars and thieves would have to be well-beaten before they could be of use in his new army.
He stood over the man and gave him a boot to the stomach.
“You lying to me, son of a bitch?”
“No… sir, no… honest, the lady…”
The man’s choked words were cut off by another boot to the chest that caused him to groan in pain.
“No mere lady, scum. Your mayor’s beautiful wife Rikala Habendale. Soldiers, stand him up. You have an opportunity here to be more than a rat, to perhaps be human again. You tell me the truth, you help lead me to my wife, then, I’ll allow you to join my army, and I suppose that would mean you get to keep living.”
And the rat revealed a lead that gave the mayor a renewed sense of hope. He mistrusted hope. To keep it in check, he wrapped a hand around the rat’s throat and gave him a predatory stare. The man quivered in his grasp and tried unsuccessfully to choke out a few words. Mayor Habendale just nodded in confirmation. Choke, rat. Go on now.
He left the man with the guards for now and continued onward.
The lead suggested a gang had taken her into the sewers and then somewhere beyond, to a hideout perhaps. He would have the rat lead him to the sewer entrance he saw used, and perhaps forgive him his sour qualities at that point. He could use bodies to train if this lead did indeed link up with rumors of the nation of Raznide plotting against Habendale’s lands and those neighboring his own, if indeed war was a necessity.
Of course, this was all pure conjecture at this point. Everything thus far might be not but hearsay and untruths.
After more cleaning and gathering of street folk, all of whom agreed to join the volunteer army, he had the dirty, cowering man bring him to the sewers. He assured the mayor that this was where he had seen two brawny men dragging a fair lady, yes, Mrs. Habendale herself, he claimed he had realized when a flash of lamplight had crossed her face for a moment. Well, they would see if there was any truth to it. Lead on, he prodded the man. He hesitantly lifted the sewer grate, but with another prodding, down he went. Mayor Habendale grimaced, motioned for three guards to enter then swiftly followed after them, down into the murky stink.


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