Your thoughts on this character, please

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Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Your thoughts on this character, please

Morning all.

Below is a short story, written for a creative writing course a few years back. I'm including it here because fellow pupils still remember the character, so I thought I'd cast the net a bit and get some views as to if the MC is worth developing and using in a novel-length story. I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on this and please, be honest with me.


Edith the Grey

In all her years of studying witchcraft, Edith the Grey had yet to stumble across a spell that would magically remove the creases from newly-washed clothes. Transforming next door’s hideous child into a warthog was no problem. Turning a livid policeman suddenly mute; child’s play. Making boils appear on her sister’s perfectly pretty face, too easy, but creases in clothes…if she could crack that one, she could patent the spell, sell it and retire on the proceeds. Oh, there’d still be the occasional nasty deed for the fun of it. She once made a prosecution lawyer’s trousers fall down in court. She still lost the case, but heck; it was fun!
    So there was only one way to remove creases from her long skirts, black blouses and capes, and that involved using an iron. So simple; if only she knew where she’d left the blooming thing. In the scullery somewhere no doubt, but where? Witches, as you know, are not renowned for their tidiness, and Edith the Grey was no exception.
    The scullery housed baking powder, slightly rotting fruit, chopping boards, cleavers, dozens of cereal boxes (some of which actually contained cereal), herbs, spices, poisons; the expected dead rats, cat’s paws and puppy-dog-tails, pots, cauldrons, bowls, a selection of brooms, a pumpkin, crystal ball and yes, even an ironing board; all arranged into an exemplary example of a bloody great heap. Somewhere beneath that lot would be her iron. Black, of course. Every household utility she owned was black. The spotty young lad from Curry’s looked amazed, after he’d spent five minutes extolling the virtues of the Ronco 1200w Steam-Plus, when she asked if it came in black. It didn’t of course, so she duly performed a black-painting spell when she got it home.
    So, she was looking for a black iron amongst a huge pile of black stuff in the middle of a black room. Wonderful! She considered conjuring a tornado-style juggling spell just to see what it threw out; but she still had the plaster on her head from the last time she’d performed that trick and (in an incident that took some explaining) her next door neighbour had called the Police about the frying pan that ‘appeared out of nowhere’ and struck her overly-ample behind. No, there was only one thing for it: manual hunting.
    She must have spent hours throwing stuff from one pile to a new one in her tasteful black kitchen, using the time to fine-tune her weekly ‘to-do list’ in her mind. This week: a spell to turn Elvis Impersonators into gerbils and another to ensure that any X-Factor contestants who exclaim live on air ‘it’s been an emotional journey and my dead Aunt would be so proud’ become prone to sudden, violent bouts of flatulence. Oh, the joy of witchcraft.
As the light of the day faded, Edith finally discovered the iron when her big toe struck it. Thick red blood oozed into her black sock and squelched around in her black shoe. She hobbled around in agony, shouted a curse that’s unique to witches and the prize-winning marrow in next door’s vegetable patch exploded. Calm down, she told herself. At least you’ve found it.
    Then her heart sank. Where the heck had she put the pile of washing?

(END)
   

Coach Moe Coach Moe
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

Alec

I can't stop laughing but am pressed (no pun intended) for time right now.  Will get back with some suggestions.  You are so witty.  Hugs, Moe
Edmund Edmund
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Alec Poole
Alec, you are a writer - a writer with a wry sense of humour. Well done. If you can write a novel based on this quirky character and keep your wonderful sense of humour, you'll have it made. But watch your punctuation. One small example: She still lost the case, but heck; it was fun! What's the semi-colon doing there. All it needs is a comma. And you don't need the comma after case.

Keep writing. You will do well.
Coach Moe Coach Moe
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In reply to this post by Coach Moe
Hi Alec,

I'm back and now have read this hysterically funny story three times.  I love humor and you sure do know how to write a humorous story.  Your character is someone I can relate to and I can't wait to hear more about her.

I would suggest deleting all the semicolons.  In my opinion, they just don't work and commas work just fine.  I also think you should start a new paragraph when you talk about her purchasing her appliances from the salesman.  

Please, please submit more of this story.  I don't know if it is possible to write a novel about a character who is a defense attorney and a witch and is so funny,  but if anyone can do it, I think you can.

Well done, Alec.  Hugs, Moe  
Teeya Teeya
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Alec Poole
Hi Alec,

Such a wonderful passage, it would make a great start to a novel.

I love the opening line, grabbed me right away, and it is very amusing, even to the details you include - the contents of the scullery and the type of iron. In Australia, we don't get The X-Factor, although I think we used to, and I wonder if this detail is indicative that you actually wrote the piece a few years ago? Maybe a more recent reality show?

Also, the use of 'heck' = great play with words, may even pluralize it? "Hecks, it was great fun!"

I wonder if Edith cackles? Because I thought I heard her after she exclaimed, "Oh, the joy of witchcraft!"
Also, great ending.
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Edmund
Thanks for the feedback, Edmund. Much appreciated.

I do have a problem with semi-colon's (knowing where to put them) and clearly I need to stop being lazy and brush-up on my punctuation in general.

I think I am going to have to do something with this character, but I'm having trouble visualising a decent plot that would lend itself to a novel and who to aim it at (children or adults). I'll put my thinking cap on. If I can find it!

Thanks again,

Alec
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Coach Moe
Thanks for your thoughts, Moe

You're not the first to comment on my semi-colon's: I have a love affair with them which needs to cease. Perhaps someone can cast a spell?

It sounds as though you've had a bad experience with a defense attourney, but I won't pry. I'll give your idea some thought, though.

Thanks again,

Alec
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Teeya
Hello, Teeya

Yes, I did write this story a while ago (2010, I think) but whilst some things have changed, here in good old Bilghty we still have to suffer the annual curse of the X factor. You've just made the thought of a move down-under all the more appealing.

A cackle may be an idea, although perhaps a little stereo-typical?

Really not sure how to develop a novel from this, but I like the idea of a witch living among us, totally un-suspected of her craft by those living around her. My old Creative Writing tutor used to wear black a lot and would constantly talk of her class being too large. As the weeks went on, sure enough, the class size would dwindle and sorcery was suspected by some! I guess there's a little of her in Edith.

Thank you so much for your feedback,

Alec
peggles peggles
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In reply to this post by Alec Poole
Hello Alec,
I loved this. It rattled along at a heady pace.
Almost each line a study in humerious writing.
I am interested  in witchcraft and have written a book on the varied types of witches but an bumbling hysterical one is a new kind.
I found the read delightfull.
Coach Moe Coach Moe
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Alec Poole
Hi Alec,

The reason I though Edith was a defense attorney was the following line: "She once made a prosecution attorney's trousers fall down in court.  She still lost the case but heck, it was fun."  I guess she must have been the defendant and based on all her spells, that would make sense.

The more I think about it though, why not make her a lawyer.  I mean a lawyer who is an expert at witchcraft could make for some intriguing adventures.  Hugs, moe

Edmund Edmund
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RE: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Alec Poole

Alec,  punctuation is simple. The comma is where a natural break in a sentence occurs, like when one takes a breath; a semi colon is one with a longer break when one, sort of, remains on the same subject but alters the course. A full stop or period is when one stops after expressing a single idea. And hey presto! calls for an exclamation mark. The question mark comes after right a question. Dashes separate words that do not belong in the sentence structure. Brackets are asides (like stage whispers that the audience hears but who pretend the people on stage don’t) within sentences. Hope this helps.

 

From: Alec Poole [via Story PenPal] [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 20 August 2015 14:14

Thanks for the feedback, Edmund. Much appreciated.

I do have a problem with semi-colon's (knowing where to put them) and clearly I need to stop being lazy and brush-up on my punctuation in general.

I think I am going to have to do something with this character, but I'm having trouble visualising a decent plot that would lend itself to a novel and who to aim it at (children or adults). I'll put my thinking cap on. If I can find it!

Thanks again,

Alec


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Alec Poole Alec Poole
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In reply to this post by peggles
Hello again, Peggles

Thanks for your thoughts.

It seems from the feedback received that it may be worth trying to write a longer story with this character. Trouble is, she sprang into my head five years ago when life was very different for me and I'm having trouble getting back into the right 'zone' of thought, if that makes any sense?

Thanks again,

Alec
j.wessier j.wessier
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Alec Poole
Hi, Alec:

She's a cute quirky character with her own voice. She definitely needs to live on a page (or many).

Joey
Oliver Oliver
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Alec Poole
Hello Alec,

What a pleasure, thanks for posting this little gem of a piece. I enjoyed it very much.

Perhaps Edith could have allowed herself one little respite from the black. Just for contrast. Black goes on a bit stereotypically. What about a grey beret? For her birthday perhaps?

A stroke or two of description of her persona (character) might be interesting?

When I read "The scullery housed baking powder, slightly rotting fruit, chopping boards, cleavers,..." I thought brilliant, a little more of the place (setting) would be nice.


Great imaginative stuff though.

Regards,

Oliver
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

Thank you, Oliver

Yes, perhaps I have overdone the black a bit. Lord knows how she navigates around her house.

I had fun with the contents of her scullery. When it comes down to Edith herself, I'm still trying to decide how old she is and if she maintains a typical, solitary life or has a circle of family & friends, all unaware of her witchcraft. I do need to put more flesh on her bones, though.

Thank you for the positive feedback.

Alec
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by j.wessier
Thank you, Joey.

I'll see what I can do with Edith.

Alec
Kate Kindle Kate Kindle
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

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You're funny, Alec.! I enjoyed it and believe you would do well to stick to screenwriting. I am not wure what you have planned-a witty mystery involving this forgetful withch or a romance, or is Edith the grey an auxiliary character? I dunno but I like it.
Kathryn Means Kathryn Means
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

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Alec, I would probably read anything you write for the humor alone. It might make a stronger opening of a longer work if Edith was searching for something more gruesome than an iron.

I like Moe's idea of making Edith a defense attorney.

I also suggest adding more white space. Most of the contemporary novels I read these days are broken up into one or two sentences per paragraph whether such breaks conform to the rules of grammar or not. In the first paragraph, for example, each of her successes with trickery could be a separate paragraph for added emphasis on how wickedly clever she is.

Keep going. It's such fun to read.
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Kate Kindle
Hello, Kate

I have never tried screenwriting and wouldn't know where to begin. Sounds interesting, though.

I would like to use Edith as a main character, if I can find a substantial plot to use her in. Could be hard work maintaining the humour though, so I was wondering about introducing some genuine tension to fill in the gaps where humour is missing.

Thank you so much for your thoughts.

Alec
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

In reply to this post by Kathryn Means
Hello, Kathryn

I guess if I ever get around to writing a novel involving Edith, then a darker destiny will await her. Then, she will be searching for something more menacing than an iron.

Reading it again, I take your point about breaking up paragraphs. Something to bare in mind in future.

Thank you for your feedback.

Alec.
engemi ferreira engemi ferreira
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Re: Your thoughts on this character, please

Hallo Alec,
I only just arrive at this fun page about your lovely Edith.
I somehow got the idea she has a slight bout of Alzheimers. It could at that be a wonderful reprieve for people who have family that way inclined. But please don't let her become menacing. Just keep her ever so slightly "off"!  You could post here and we could all read and cheer you on. Whatever she chooses to be, whether a lawyer or simply a lovable grandmother will be fun. I do think you have miles and miles of great fun ahead of you. Please don't let her die. I love her already, am even thinking of her as 'Edithe', so I could make the vision of Edith Piaff disappear. Enjoy!
engemi
Alec Poole Alec Poole
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Hello, engemi

Just been reading your 'hello' message. What an interesting life you lead. I think it's great that you even managed to get one novel written.

I think that I originally saw Edith as a woman approaching retirement age who's witching is more out of mischief than menace. I have also considered if ultimately, she should have a higher calling, but perhaps that's a little too Harry Potter?

Thanks for your feedback. My fellow writers have all been very encouraging.

Alec