Friday, July 20, 2012

Questions


This is all Thomas’ fault, and even though I know it is wrong, I hate him.
He scares me.
- from Hosanna House, Chapter 1


 The paragraph above is from the ending of Hosanna House's first chapter.

What do the Point of View character's thoughts and emotions expressed in the paragraph make you think? What questions do they make you ask?

Hopefully they make you ask a lot of questions, like, Who is Thomas? What is his fault? Why or how does he scare the PoV character in such a way that the fear has, in part, turned to hate?

Because that's what good fiction does (and I really want to write good fiction).

It makes you ask questions.

What questions is your work making readers ask?

Post a paragraph from your novel in the comments below and find out!

Chazak,
- Hannah

4 comments:

  1. All I would say is that this didn't make me ask questions, it just gave me grounds to predict. For instance: Thomas is obviously your typical confused, volatile, slightly crazy side character-- possibly an antagonist, possibly not. He's someone the main character has known all her life (I'm assuming it's a she), and over that period he's slowly turned from inciting fear in her to inciting hatred-- most likely in the action that here acts as either the inciting incident or, if this first chapter is actually written after the action and the main character is recounting it later, the basis of the entire story.
    Now. That's all just Thomas. The main character is the type of person who usually hates what she fears. It's the kind of character who would grow up to be a ruthless medieval ruler-- if she fears something, she kills it. She was steeped in morals as a child, but what I just said still stands: her nature could make her ruthless. She also is quite perceptive, and though she might jump to conclusions a few times, she files away all the information she receives to make the best judgment she can make. Nevertheless, she could be ruthless.
    Now, about what Thomas did: It could be anything. He could have killed the main character's favorite gerbil. He could have burned down her house. He could have just shouted at her.

    I'm sorry to rain on your parade here, but you asked what this made me think or ask, and the answer is the above. Hope it's helpful, and if it's not, delete this comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, I don't mind getting wet. Thanks for your comment--it actually has been helpful, though in a different way.
      A few of your assumptions were close to the target but others were so far off they were out of the shooting range.
      Thomas knows exactly what he wants and exactly what he is doing. Volatile, yes, and arrogant. He and the MC have only known each other for a couple of years.
      The ruthless comment quite frankly made me chuckle. She's artistic and introverted, more prone to running from her fears than facing them. Even when pushed, she's been so brainwashed it takes a while for her to push back.
      You certainly pulled a lot out of two sentences. ;)

      Delete
    2. Trust me, Hannah: that character is ruthless. Hating what you fear is what makes people ruthless in the first place. If she was just fearful, she would just say she's afraid, not that she fears him.
      If you really don't think she's the type that hates what she fears, I'd suggest you change the last two statements. "I hate him. He scares me." Those two sound like one follows the other; "I hate him because he scares me." As I said, this is the basis of ruthlessness. I'd suggest you change it if you feel that I'm dead wrong. "I hate him, but he scares me." That would work. I'd suggest you rewrite those two sentences a little bit:
      "This is all Thomas’ fault, and even though I know it is wrong, I hate him.
      But he scares me."
      This gives the idea that she hates him, but she is to scared to declare it outright-- this gives the idea that she's the introvert you told me she was. If this is a story about a girl who runs away finally turning to face her fears, first of all it sounds terribly stereotypical, and second of all you'd want to rewrite that sentence.
      I'm a young writer and reader just as you are, so I'm trying my best to get as much out of as little as I can. Some experienced readers can take a single phrase and dissect it and figure out every single aspect of the story from it-- one quote I read once said that the first line tells more about the story than anything else, which is true. But when I saw what that guy got out of the first line of a short story, it was absolutely stunning. So I'm doing my best to get to the same place. Sorry if I'm being overly critical.

      Delete
    3. Apologizes that it's taken me so long to reply; I've been out of town.

      First off, thank you so much! Because I know the entirety of the story and the character, I disagree with you, but you've really made me think and I appreciate your input.
      "I hate him.
      He scares me." are two separate paragraphs (among other things which come to light later in the book). If I'd wanted them to be seen as stemming from each other, I would've connected them. As it is, there are some loose ties between them, but they aren't linked together/stemming from each other.

      Now I want to go try this out on somebody else's book.... :)

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! Chazak Amats, and have a beautiful day.