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My Pen - Metafiction

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DeftAndEvil
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My Pen - Metafiction May. 2nd, 2012 @ 11:22 AM Reply

Hey guys. Well, it's been far too long since I've posted a story on the Writing Forum. Here's one I wrote for my Intro to Fiction class. The reason I posted it is because I can't remember the last time I had this much fun writing, and it reminded me that I actually enjoy it.

The assignment was basically a character losing something and basically reacting to it (such that the reaction was disproportional to the loss). This is a letter about a guy losing his pen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mother,

Words cannot describe how unfathomably inconsolable I am because of my insolent brotherâEUTMs discourteous act. He stole my pen! Alas, I am forced to type-write upon a typewriter, like some inane accountant.

I had just begun writing a great short story, a story filled with drama and mystery, and I was developing a wonderfully insane character when I could not find my pen (which you know I always leave on my desk, next to my lamp). Undoubtedly, my brother is the primary and sole culprit.

The day was bright, despite the early hour, and the grisly fog from last night had cleared. The birds sang in a sprightly tune and I marched with pep from my bed to my desk. I decided to skip breakfast, as I was full of confidence and creativity. But, I instantly noticed my pen, my instrument, was missing. I searched and searched, and I rifled through the drawers and utterly ransacked the apartment, to no avail. The repetitive tintinnabulations of the unknown tweeting canary hurt my ears.

My brother walked in, smiling in his usual, boorish way.

"Good morning, brother! ItâEUTMs awfully early; your commotion brought me up. Breakfast?" I smirked ever so politely, but he straddled his tousled hair and turned around, and began cooking breakfast. While he sizzled and fizzled his toast and coffee, I continued my fruitless endeavor. My manuscript sat lonely and empty on my desk, beckoning for a soul, crying for meaning! But how could I continue?

As I sat at the kitchen table with your son, the room began to fade, and I wondered about life; I wondered whether writing fiction was worthwhile. I was this upset over the physicality of my work; what about the emotional and musical prose that was demanded of me? I struggle with words, and I struggle searching for a story to write, that one pearl in a violent sea of ink.

When I lifted my head, my brother had already finished his breakfast, without the decency to make breakfast for two. Now, I was worried AND insatiably hungry. Thank goodness for my brother's indolence; the materials were still strewn about the kitchen and I prepared for breakfast. The breadâEUTMs smoked wheat aroma of future toast, and the deep, bouquet of boysenberry marmalade was inviting and I devoured the breakfast, although in a gentlemanly fashion. Meanwhile, my brother was dressed and ready to trod off to his tedious job. He stepped with eager and bustling charisma, and his brown suit and now-greased hair gave him the appearance of a semi-professional. It was a start.

As he departed, he opened the door, spun in a fluid motion and spoke, "Until later, my brother. Good luck with your story!" and slammed the door concisely, giving his statement a definitive vim. What I took as a sincere wish of luck quickly developed into a left-handed insult. That fiend!

It made sense. I calculated the whereabouts of my brother last night. Of course he was home when I took leave from my work the night before. I came back home, tired and dead, and wanted nothing more than to fall into the soft, patchy embrace of my mattress. I had observed some interesting characters at a bar and maybe had an idea for that story. I do not remember much, just that I was taking notes about a girl as her petty drabness would fit perfectly into my story; and I remember that when I came home, my brother was still awake.

What to do? I was racking my brain and perspired deeply. My shirt was heavy and constraining. Not to mention that the apartment was disheveled and untidy. I decided that revenge was appropriate. If I could not write since my brother stole my singular pen, he could not type his pointless forms and receipts.

The very typewriter with which I wrote this letter now lays at the bottom of the river, cold and lifeless, sunken in everlasting despair, with only the trickles of coins and rocks ever greeting it.

I really need to write that story, mother. It is due soon.

With regards, your loving and astute son,

Alan

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I actually tried to incorporate metafiction, and the piece itself was an exercise in metafiction. I tried hard to develop Alan's "astuteness" to give a strong sense of irony and call to attention his ability to write. However, the language ends up feeling forced and prosaic (which was not the intention). Also I tried to draw parallel between his life and creating fiction.

However, my main concern is the metafiction. Did I do a good job on it? Does it feel forced (is it noticeable without being egregious)?

Any criticism is appreciated. Also, I have no idea why this guy wrote to his mother; please go with it.


Despite the name, I'm actually good--Deft, and good!

Giving out reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).

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DeftAndEvil
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Response to My Pen - Metafiction May. 2nd, 2012 @ 11:25 AM Reply

At 5/2/12 11:22 AM, DeftAndEvil wrote: Goddammit. I forgot apostrophes don't translate into the post. Here's a clean version:

Mother,

Words cannot describe how unfathomably inconsolable I am because of my insolent brother's discourteous act. He stole my pen! Alas, I am forced to type-write upon a typewriter, like some inane accountant.

I had just begun writing a great short story, a story filled with drama and mystery, and I was developing a wonderfully insane character when I could not find my pen (which you know I always leave on my desk, next to my lamp). Undoubtedly, my brother is the primary and sole culprit.

The day was bright, despite the early hour, and the grisly fog from last night had cleared. The birds sang in a sprightly tune and I marched with pep from my bed to my desk. I decided to skip breakfast, as I was full of confidence and creativity. But, I instantly noticed my pen, my instrument, was missing. I searched and searched, and I rifled through the drawers and utterly ransacked the apartment, to no avail. The repetitive tintinnabulations of the unknown tweeting canary hurt my ears.

My brother walked in, smiling in his usual, boorish way.

"Good morning, brother! It's awfully early; your commotion brought me up. Breakfast?" I smirked ever so politely, but he straddled his tousled hair and turned around, and began cooking breakfast. While he sizzled and fizzled his toast and coffee, I continued my fruitless endeavor. My manuscript sat lonely and empty on my desk, beckoning for a soul, crying for meaning! But how could I continue?

As I sat at the kitchen table with your son, the room began to fade, and I wondered about life; I wondered whether writing fiction was worthwhile. I was this upset over the physicality of my work; what about the emotional and musical prose that was demanded of me? I struggle with words, and I struggle searching for a story to write, that one pearl in a violent sea of ink.

When I lifted my head, my brother had already finished his breakfast, without the decency to make breakfast for two. Now, I was worried AND insatiably hungry. Thank goodness for my brother's indolence; the materials were still strewn about the kitchen and I prepared for breakfast. The bread's smoked wheat aroma of future toast, and the deep, bouquet of boysenberry marmalade was inviting and I devoured the breakfast, although in a gentlemanly fashion. Meanwhile, my brother was dressed and ready to trod off to his tedious job. He stepped with eager and bustling charisma, and his brown suit and now-greased hair gave him the appearance of a semi-professional. It was a start.

As he departed, he opened the door, spun in a fluid motion and spoke, "Until later, my brother. Good luck with your story!" and slammed the door concisely, giving his statement a definitive vim. What I took as a sincere wish of luck quickly developed into a left-handed insult. That fiend!

It made sense. I calculated the whereabouts of my brother last night. Of course he was home when I took leave from my work the night before. I came back home, tired and dead, and wanted nothing more than to fall into the soft, patchy embrace of my mattress. I had observed some interesting characters at a bar and maybe had an idea for that story. I do not remember much, just that I was taking notes about a girl as her petty drabness would fit perfectly into my story; and I remember that when I came home, my brother was still awake.

What to do? I was racking my brain and perspired deeply. My shirt was heavy and constraining. Not to mention that the apartment was disheveled and untidy. I decided that revenge was appropriate. If I could not write since my brother stole my singular pen, he could not type his pointless forms and receipts.

The very typewriter with which I wrote this letter now lays at the bottom of the river, cold and lifeless, sunken in everlasting despair, with only the trickles of coins and rocks ever greeting it.

I really need to write that story, mother. It is due soon.

With regards, your loving and astute son,

Alan


Despite the name, I'm actually good--Deft, and good!

Giving out reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).

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EKublai
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Response to My Pen - Metafiction May. 9th, 2012 @ 02:22 PM Reply

At 5/2/12 11:22 AM, DeftAndEvil wrote: Hey guys. Well, it's been far too long since I've posted a story on the Writing Forum. Here's one I wrote for my Intro to Fiction class. The reason I posted it is because I can't remember the last time I had this much fun writing, and it reminded me that I actually enjoy it.

The assignment was basically a character losing something and basically reacting to it (such that the reaction was disproportional to the loss). This is a letter about a guy losing his pen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mother,

Words cannot describe how unfathomably inconsolable I am because of my insolent brother's discourteous act. He stole my pen! Alas, I am forced to type-write upon a typewriter, like some inane accountant.

"type-write upon a typewriter" I like that.


I had just begun writing a great short story, a story filled with drama and mystery, and I was developing a wonderfully insane character when I could not find my pen (which you know I always leave on my desk, next to my lamp). Undoubtedly, my brother is the primary and sole culprit.

The day was bright, despite the early hour, and the grisly fog from last night had cleared. The birds sang in a sprightly tune

"in a sprightly tune" too camp.

and I marched with pep

here too

from my bed to my desk. I decided to skip breakfast, as I was full of confidence and creativity. But, I instantly noticed my pen, my instrument, was missing. I searched and searched, and I rifled through the drawers and utterly ransacked the apartment, to no avail. The repetitive tintinnabulations of the unknown tweeting canary hurt my ears.

My brother walked in, smiling in his usual, boorish way.
Alan

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I actually tried to incorporate metafiction, and the piece itself was an exercise in metafiction. I tried hard to develop Alan's "astuteness" to give a strong sense of irony and call to attention his ability to write. However, the language ends up feeling forced and prosaic (which was not the intention). Also I tried to draw parallel between his life and creating fiction.

However, my main concern is the metafiction. Did I do a good job on it? Does it feel forced (is it noticeable without being egregious)?

I got a slightly Poe vibe from this, at least early on, from the romantic vocabulary. Comparing the language of the second half of the story to the first, i thought the story sort of sputtered out. Personally, I find the premise a little silly and rather than being concerned for this character because of irony, I was disturbed at some of the irrational behavior he exhibits. I'm left wondering about the importance of the pen to his writing, since I assume procuring another one wouldn't be much of a hassle. If that's the case, then it's about his paranoia over his brother, which isn't conveyed with enough force i think. Maybe your character starts ranting not just about this event, but all the unconnected threads of sibling rivalry that lead up to this point.


Any criticism is appreciated. Also, I have no idea why this guy wrote to his mother; please go with it.

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DeftAndEvil
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Response to My Pen - Metafiction May. 10th, 2012 @ 02:27 AM Reply

At 5/9/12 02:22 PM, EKublai wrote:
I got a slightly Poe vibe from this, at least early on,

Yes, I was going for that. The character's original name was Allan, but that's too obvious, lol.

Comparing the language of the second half of the story to the first, i thought the story sort of sputtered out.

True. I relied too much on florid description and had to cut back. I thought it was too prosaic.

I assume procuring another one wouldn't be much of a hassle.

Ha, that was such an issue in my class. The exercise called for an "insignificant" item, but if the item was truly insignificant, no person would react greatly to its loss. I guess the exercise was meant to create interesting and overemotional, if not crazy, characters.

If that's the case, then it's about his paranoia over his brother, which isn't conveyed with enough force i think. Maybe your character starts ranting not just about this event, but all the unconnected threads of sibling rivalry that lead up to this point.

Hm, good point. It wasn't about sibling rivalry, though. The brother was a scapegoat. It was about writer's block, inspiration, and obsession. This was my first attempt at metafiction. From what I understand (besides the obvious: fiction about fiction) is that it is supposed to evaluate the process of writing, and not necessarily evaluate characters or the universe.

The point that I was trying to propose was that Alan was actually able to write, despite the fact that he kept saying he was a struggling writer. Also, I was trying to reveal that his situation was actually a good short story filled with drama and mystery (inspiration is everywhere; the best fiction comes from non-fiction etc.); this is why his language is so flowery. Also, the character that he is writing about ("wonderfully insane") is him; I wanted him and his experience to symbolize the struggle that many writers go through, even though inspiration is aplenty.

I still don't really get metafiction. The only metafiction I've read is a ton of Borges, but his writing is about fiction andthe craft of writing, but also about the universe. I think I need to find a balance.

Thanks for the input.


Despite the name, I'm actually good--Deft, and good!

Giving out reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).

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