Grizelda and Chickee part one

Started by indar9, September 11, 2019, 04:06:19 PM

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She kept up a monologue directed at him daily. Sometimes she spoke of inconsequential things, other times as a teacher to a student. Often in the predawn hours she told him her secrets, her sorrows, her failings. He cocked his head this way and that or pricked his ears in response to certain of her words.The woman knew he had begun to comprehend things she said and she believed he would learn to converse with her some day.

Weeks and years of her life blended into one another and the woman no longer remembered when she had found him with his four littermates bundled together against the cold. As she came upon them, he alone broke away from the safety and warmth of his fellows, ventured up to her and slapped his paw on the ground. That action established their partnership. She felt a flash of regret as she picked him up and felt his soft warmth against her leaving the other four to fend for themselves. But, she reflected, each will either live or die and that is the way of the world. Thus began the third stage of the woman's life.

She was born the seventh child in a family of nine children, one of only two girls and considered by her parents to be the least promising of the siblings. She dawdled, daydreamed and lacked ability to apply herself to studies or even the simplest tasks at home.
As she reached her majority she moved further into inexplicable ways and attitudes. At times she was overcome with sadness for no apparent reason and wondered aloud about the unattainable state of happiness she witnessed in others. She became less and less able to care for herself. But her family was kindly and shared the responsibility of seeing to it she was employed in jobs that required only simple tasks. They took turns housing her in their guest bedrooms or basement apartments.

Her behavior became increasingly erratic: she disappeared for periods of time refusing to give reasons or aplologies. When one or another of her siblings tried to explain the necessity of being dependable she turned angry and argumentative. Such scenes precipitated another of her disappearances. Eventually she no longer returned to the homes of her family. None of them could discover what had become of her. Nor could she. She only wished fervently to be someone else.

Lin Treadgold

At first, I thought this was going to be really good all the way through.  Well, yes it was. Then I realised I was being 'told' the story as a narrative and I felt I wanted to explore the story myself through the eyes of the character. I would love to have seen  dialogue in there.  As a reader (and not a writer for this purpose) I become more involved when the character is telling their story through their eyes, instead of through the eyes of the author. Dialogue is deeper than narrative, at least, I think so. If you want your readers to love your writing, it could be that involving them in the dialogue is the way forward. 

I do like your writing, don't get me wrong and you do have the ability to describe the scene well, but for me and this particular piece, it didn't involve me enough.   I don't enjoy being told, I like to feel part of the story to listen to the voices of the characters.

So well done, but think about it and see what you come up with.



Oh gosh, dialogue you say....

I will finish posting this as planned I think and then it will be an interesting exercise to try a rewrite as you suggest. I read books with lots of dialogue but am daunted by the idea of doing it myself. Thank you Lynn for the read and thoughtful comments.


I have to agree with Lin here. No matter how well this is written, the story doesn't invite me to suspend disbelief because it's presented as an accurate record of events (made-up or true - it doesn't matter). It reads like a newspaper report. All the facts in place but rather clinical. How can the reader engage with a character unless the writer brings her to life? That's what dialogue does. It's also why first-person narrative often works better than third-person or omniscient in overcoming the problem of 'telling' rather than 'showing'. If we see the story through the eyes of a character and hear their individual voice rather than experiencing it all from the author's perspective we'll soon forget the author is there on the side-lines.

You're a writer, so being afraid of using dialogue is rather like a painter being afraid of using the colour red. Why not use all the tools in your palette since you're so good with a brush?



I guess I will consider this first write as not even a draft but an outline for development with these comments on monologue in mind---perhaps in first person. I am posting the final entry as is however and look forward to hearing any comments involving shaggy dogs.

Lin Treadgold

Hillwalker and I go back a long way! He's right.  Dialogue is very important in a novel.  Otherwise it's flat and I can see you writing on Microsoft Word and typing the words yourself.  I need the character to speak, not your typing!

Do have a go at dialogue.  Have you come across 'show/tell'  Look it up on the net.  You are doing far too much telling instead of showing the story.

Showing is where a character is showing the story through their eyes and the way they speak. Telling is done by the author! 
Dont say eg.  She took him by the hand and gave him a kiss on the lips. TELLING
How about. 'Hold my hand, let me kiss you.' SHOWING

Eg. this sentence: Sometimes she spoke of inconsequential things, other times as a teacher to a student.
Let me see her speaking of inconsequential things.  What does she say?  How does she say it? Let her speak!

I think you need to read up on Show/tell and then start using it.

Good luck,


Only too aware of the show/tell conundrum from many poetry critiques. Remember eric aka sparky dashforth on the poetry boards? He was relentless. I joined MWC 2008 and had everything to learn. Strange, as I think about it, dialogue is rarely used in poetry but imagery has to do the job. Doesn't translate well into prose I guess. I just finished reading a book by Mc Guire (author of Wicked) in which there was very little dialogue--it is the retelling of the Nutcracker. Not his best but I think it influenced m decision to relate this story as almost a fairy tale of the grim variety. I always buy a book in the airport when I travel and no matter the quality of the writing I am forced to read it.

I am so happy there is an exchange going on here, so many forums are defunct. Thank you both, Lin and Hillwalker for reading through and commenting. (look closer Lin, I don't even have word I write in a rinky dink program called apache open office (free). :) :) :)

Lin Treadgold

I hope we gave you something to consider.  I'm always glad to help writers succeed.

I think it's very important to join a group of authors too.  Interact and meet up and swap ideas.  You learn such a lot from them.  I mix these days with well known authors who are more than helpful.  Networking  will help get you published too. 

I'm having my next novel edited by an author who is part of my group and very experienced indeed.  It can make such a difference before you submit to a publisher.

Good luck and keep writing.  Never give up, its very therapeutic too and the research for historical novelists is quite fun.  I get to travel to places I never knew existed! 



Thanks Lin,

I can't imagine to what use a story like this one (even if rewritten beautifully) could be put. It started out a poem but turned into prose by itself :) I was so distraught by the plight of skid row dwellers I needed to air what I wrote somewhere. I saw it first hand on my way to see a New Years Eve showing of Cirgue du Soleil in a theater on the square a few years ago. Skidrow has become a contentious issue lately and Trump really made an issue of it the very day I posted the last installation. Raving about the political goings-on is futile. But perhaps telling stories.....

I would love to find an in-the-flesh writing group such as you describe. I am suspicious of senior center memoir writers. Went to a library group but they all wanted to be Steven King and make millions....

Lin Treadgold

I am sure you will find something on the net.  I will ask some of my writerly friends for you about USA national writing groups.  They should have a fairly local group and if not, start one!  Advertise in the library.

Ill try and get back to you soon.  Are you on Facebook?  That's the place to find a writer group in your area and also it's best to find one for your genre.

I belong with the Society of Authors in the UK and also the Romantic Novelists' Association,  I also attend my local writers' group. Everyone is great help and I wouldn't have got this far without them.



I am involved in a full-time job plus overtime without pay tying up all the legal red tape following my mother's death. But as soon as I can take a breather I will look for a writers group. I even think I might go to some kind of class/seminar/ workshops on my first love: poetry. Thank you again to those who commented on this story, I am definitely going to rewrite it.