Friday Fictioneers: The Parting of the Ways

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Every Wednesday, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields tempts us with a new picture prompt for the Friday Fictioneers. She challenges us to tell a story in 100 words or less with beginning, middle, and end. This time, I added a little writing exercise to my offering, but you only need to read the first story if you’re not interested in that. It should hopefully stand on its own. And you don’t need to scroll down all the way to the end to leave a comment, just click on ‘Leave a comment’ in the top menu of this post, it will send you down to the comment section.

You can find all the Fictioneers’ stories when you click on the Froggy. Please read, comment, and if you like, join the fun. Everyone is welcome.



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Image © Dee Lovering

 The Parting of The Ways

“Look at that snow! In October!”

“I remember. Your mum took us to the harvest fair, didn’t she? And we had our first snowball fight of the year.” Vanessa smiled as she glanced at the old photograph.

“Those were the days,” Gwen mumbled. “That was the last fair of its kind, wasn’t it?”

“Dunno. Could be. But let’s go, we’re there.”

“I’ll pay the fare. Lunch at the IQ club?”

“Where else?”

Yes, where else? Gwen thought as she turned towards the ‘Ugly’ entrance of the beach complex.

The ‘Hot’ beach was reserved for pretty people. For people like Vanessa.

(100 words)


Writing Exercise:

Two weeks ago, I wrote the story “Lucky Break” and in the comments, I had a little chat with Irene Waters about narration, and point of view. She suggested I practice and write from different points of view to see how that changes the readers’ perception of narrator and characters. I tried this here, and wrote a few additions to the story above. I hope the first story can stand on its own, and you don’t need to read what follows. It’s an exercise with different points of view, I restricted myself to 100 words for each of these as well. If you read them, I’d be interested in your thoughts. I’m always interested in your thoughts anyway, but here I’m especially interested where the point of view is concerned.  I deliberately made all the protagonists female to avoid gender controversies.


 Vanessa

“Good thing we’re both eligible for the IQ club, isn’t it?” Vanessa said, leaning back. Lunch had been enjoyable, even though Gwen seemed to be in a bad mood.

“I hate it. Why don’t we just go to the Shanties?”

Vanessa grimaced. She didn’t feel comfortable there.

“Too many Prols.”

“Don’t call them that, they’re hard-working…”

Vanessa shrugged. “I don’t want to hang with them.”

“You’re a snob.”

“I’m smart and hot. You’re extra smart. We win. They could, too, if they made an effort.”

Vanessa grinned. She knew that Gwen liked her creature comforts like the best of them.


Hazel

“Gwen, may I have a word?” Councilwoman Royce ran after her colleague.

“What is it, Hazel?”

“Why are you always thwarting my proposals? They always go through anyway. Can’t you ever compromise?” Hazel Royce was sick and tired of Gwen’s constant battle-mood.

“This whole segregation law is a disgrace. The definition of who’s smart, who’s hot, who has power… it’s stupid, superficial, inhuman beyond belief.”

There we go again, Hazel thought.

“Segregation is easier for keeping the peace,” she replied.

“Peace for whom?” Gwen turned on her heel.

Hazel smiled smugly, thinking, The new Elite tax break will pass anyway.


Jasmine

“Mum, why are these people yelling at me?”

“I don’t know, Honey.”

A big woman with an angry face was storming towards them.

“You! Get this girl off our beach. She doesn’t belong here.”

“What’s wrong with you? She’s only twelve.”

“She looks fourteen. I bet you lie about her age to show her off. I’ll report you.” The angry woman spat on the ground and stomped off.

“Mum?”

“Don’t be scared, Darling. Soon you’ll be where you belong.”

“And you?”

“I’ll stay on Ugly Beach. No one here cares what I look like.”

“I want to be ugly, too.”


Stephen McCulloch [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Featured Image:Stephen McCulloch [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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46 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: The Parting of the Ways

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the different povs. I agree, it’s just not right. Separation of any kind sucks but we see it everywhere, either enforced by law or by pop culture.

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    1. Thank you! I’m glad you think it describes the discrimination. I should have called the Ugly Beach the ‘Not It’ Beach perhaps, and instead of hot, It… you either are or you aren’t… what we constantly see on social media, that kind of thing. In that way of thinking, there’s no average. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Lorna. Seeing as we tick, I’m sure there are sub-categories of (non)hotness (or it-ness, see above). Since I pushed it a bit further here, and made it official, for legislation, it would be Elite or not.

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    1. Dear Rochelle, I was a bit worried you’d be annoyed by the series of drabbles. 🙂 But absolutely, segregation sucks, and it’s so easy to fall into ‘us and them’ mode. Thank you.

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  1. Nice to see the different points of view. If you stand between the beaches, do you get the “average” beach I wonder? I’m guessing which beach you can visit depends on the views of other people.

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  2. Thank you! That’s why I love experimenting with these drabbles: you readers ask questions I didn’t even think about while writing. If I took this further, and I’m thinking of using part of it for my backstory, ‘official’ areas like pools and protected beaches would have the separation, but the less attractive places–free for everyone, just not attractive enough for the ‘Elite’, And (at least from what you see on the social media annoyingly often) either you’re hot, or not. Maybe instead of ugly I should have used ‘not-hot’. 🙂

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  3. What a great idea to pull out the different POVs. It’s a great character study and then you can use it when they are interacting to make sure their viewpoints are represented. Great stories, Gah! I enjoyed them all. It’s too bad we can’t seem to get past these issues.

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    1. Thank you. I’ve almost constantly written some aspect of backstory–the stuff that normally should only be in your head, or ‘bible’ of a WIP–for the Friday Fictioneers, and it has helped me to figure out how things could go where I want them to go like nothing else. The only danger is that I enjoy writing about that world and these characters so much that I neglect what I actually wanted to write. 😀 And yes, I hear you about the ‘us and them’ mentality.

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  4. There seems tiny progress. Gender-wise, some of the world seems to have learned. Race discrimination, not so much, and we seem to be capable of inventing new distinctions all the time. An “It” person, what a silly thing to be… Thank you, I’m glad you liked my little exercise. 🙂

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  5. I once read a book by Arthur Marx (Groucho Marx’ son). Groucho was a Jew. He and his son were at a country club in California. Some snob was raising cain about Arthur being in the pool because he was Jewish. Groucho replied, “Can’t he go in up to his waist? He’s only half Jewish.”

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    1. Are you rich? Can I interest you in the perfect investment? I have this plant in my garden… the future wonder food… just give me…err, never mind. You don’t need to be hot when you’re rich and/or powerful. Try bribing Hazel, she knows the right people. And Thank you!

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  6. I liked the way these difference POV’s worked – great contrasting work. Does the story stand on its own? Yes… but your theme is much stronger with those added perspectives.

    And thumbs up for trying it out. I try to stretch my writing with different challenges and objectives every now and then too :).
    Cheers
    KT

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  7. I like your experiment. The stories work together really well, but each can stand alone. Human beings are very inventive when it comes to finding ways to make ourselves more important than others. Well told.

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