Tag Archives: storytelling

The Brawn Man of Brooklyn (A Short Story)

They called it an extraordinary phenomenon.

A regular Hercules, Dr.Robinowitz on 3rd street claimed. Their son, Frank, was born with the capabilities of lifting objects 100 times heavier than his body weight. Super strength, the kids would say. His mother said Hail Mary in Italian ten times a day and cried, as if he son was some kind of devil. She constantly scolded him out of fear of his destructiveness. “Don’t touch that!” and “Don’t touch anything!” or “Don’t you dare touch the baby!”

He was a toddler. And his strength was something unexplainable, something that should remain a secret. If he pressed his hand into wall too hard, the wall would crack. Toys, if not handled gently, would be crushed or broken into pieces. Even the metal handle of his bicycle would be indented by his fingertips. He couldn’t control this, even as he got older, his power grew more dangerous. On the kindergarten playground, he pushed a kid out of the sandbox and cracked his rib. When he was seven years old, he threw a baseball and it landed three blocks away and through a car windshield.

He couldn’t touch anything. He wasn’t safe.

Frank would hold his small hands and peek into his sister Camilla’s crib when she was an infant. He was afraid of breaking her too.

His father owned a deli under the train tracks, Berardi’s Deli. Behind it was a dead patch of grass they called a backyard. And above it was a shoe box apartment they called a home. His father wore a filthy apron as he sat on the sidewalk’s edge, smelling like fennel seed and sweat. He smoked a cigarette and watched the kids in the street play. Frank, a small boy with small hands, sat beside him.

“Pops, why can’t I play with them?” The boy said “I promise I’ll be good. I won’t hit so hard. Honest.” He watched as the kids played stick ball.
His father gave him a side glance, taking a long drag and rubbing his stubbled chin. “Last time, you knocked a kid out.”

He looked down at his hands, discouraged “I-I didn’t mean to, Pops, he was….”

“Your mother with have a heart attack if she finds out you hurt someone else with your…” Trailing off, he stood up and stomped his cigarette out. The few remaining embers in the curb fizzled into the cement. “Don’t let nobody see you doing that. You hear me?” He warned. Frank’s eyes wandered to the window to the apartment above the deli, where his mother, with tired eyes, looked out.


“I don’t know if it’s a good idea, Camilla.” He said, looking down at his feet as they walked home from high school one crisp autumn afternoon. His black hair fell into a perfect greased curl.

“Sure it is,” His sister grinned, holding her biology textbook in her arms. “You love baseball.”

“Watchin’ baseball, sure. Not playin’ it,” He shrugged, still unsure “Pop’s will be mad. And Ma’s gonna be in hysterics if she finds out.”

She nudged him with her elbow. Her long wool skirt matched her mint green sweater. “Come on, don’t worry about that stuff, Frankie, you’d be amazing and you know it.”

Frank sighed, shoving his hands in his Letterman jacket. A chill blew between them. A police siren blared in the distance. The sun was setting, burning orange and gold.

“What if I hurt someone?”

“What if you only hit home runs?”

“I’m serious, Camilla,” He grabbed her arm lightly, as if he was holding a feather. They stood on the street corner across from their family’s deli. “I can’t control this. Someone’s gonna get hurt.”

“You can control it. You don’t have to be scared. You’re strong… super strong, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can do something good with it.” The sirens grew louder.

As they crossed the street, a car screeched around the corner, being tailed by red and blue flashing lights. A police chase. Frank was in the middle of the street, frozen for a moment. Camilla screamed, pulling at his hand. “Frankie, move!” He wouldn’t budge. He didn’t want to be scared anymore. The car was barreling towards him. He pushed his sister out of the way, and braced for impact, with an arched back and outstretched arms.

The car slammed into Frank, metal crushed against his chest, pushing him back a couple of feet. His sneakers skid against the pavement. The vehicle was stopped completely, with three bewildered robbers wearing ski masks sitting inside. The headline in the newspaper the next day dubbed him “The Brawn Man of Brooklyn”.

When your brain feels like a house party.

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately. I’ve been dealing with trials of being an unemployed writer. With disappointments and drama as the whip cream and cherry on top, it’s been a dismal couple days.

But something kinda hit me last night. I laid awake in bed, pondering the universe (Another thing that comes with being an unemployed writer, I suppose). I wasn’t thinking about the story I plan to write during NaNoWriMo, which is detective fiction, I was thinking about how wonderful a fantasy story sounded. It could just be my indecisiveness, I am notorious for not making up my mind. It’s that feeling of uncertainty, what story am I meant to pursue?

Sometimes my brain feels like a house party.

Stay with me, I know it’s a weird metaphor. Like seriously, picture like an ordinary get together, with light music playing and snacks on the table (like chips and homemade salsa… Ooh, that sounds good right now.)

I’m the host and the guests are all these characters from different possible stories, from different genres entirely. In attendance, there is a 1920’s detective, a princess from fantasy land and a young super powered vigilante, to name a few. And I have no idea who I want to have a conversation with at this party first, they all look interesting to me. I’m not insane, I promise.

What I mean is, I don’t know what I want to focus on when it comes to writing. Guess I always felt like I had to pick one genre to write in if I ever became a “successful writer”. Like I had to be married to one for the rest of my writing career.

It was a feeling I got right after I graduated. With no essays or projects to worry about, I was finally able to focus on my own project. Endless possibilities, right? Honestly, I thought going to college to study English would help me discover and hone in on what I truly loved to write about. The opposite happened.  If anything, it expanded my horizon, in a literary sense.

Can I help it? There have always been multiple genres I’ve been interested in. Real classic mysteries intrigue me and fantasies make my heart flutter and myths are like magic and sci-fi can be cool and those real life dramas are just plain honest. (This sentence = My friggin’ entire life)

I want to know what you guys think about this. Am I crazy?  You guys ever feel like that? Like you have so many ideas that are pulling you in completely different directions? Or are you happy with writing one genre forever? Maybe, as writers, we are allowed to dabble in every kind of story (like at an international buffet, and your plate is confused because you got like tacos and dumplings next to each other).

Maybe I’m an indecisive dabbler.

Indecisive dabbler and unemployed writer, what a combo.

Write about what you love, guys, even if it’s everything.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Looking back at my old (cringe-worthy) writing.

Hey everyone!

Today, I thought I’d show you guys a little snippet from my past writing. Now keep in mind, we all had to start somewhere. And that I am putting myself in an embarrassing  situation on purpose.

Let me set the scene. This was written in 2011 (practically 100 years ago) in a time when I thought writing was a fun little thing to do and not an actual craft. All I knew was that I loved storytelling, but I don’t think I considered myself a serious writer yet. I believe I was a senior in high school (or possibly a junior) when I got this piece of paper with a list of all the college majors. I was to choose one, a decision that would impact my future (because you know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life at 17). Checking off the ‘Creative Writing’ box seemed most appealing to me, at the time. Who knew it would be so important to me today?

This also dictated how I was to go about my senior project, which is sorta like a test drive for the field a student is interested in. Basically, for my project, I worked with an English teacher after school and I wrote a couple of short (horrible) stories that she critiqued and gave me notes on. I love super heroes and comics, even back then when I was young and impressionable. So I created my own super hero…. Kinda. The character’s name was Joey, he had some supernatural abilities, and was a guy juggling his masked vigilante life with his love life.

Don’t judge me, I didn’t know any better.  Here is a snippet of one of those stories.

image

Wow, Majorly cringing. 

Like I said, we all had to start somewhere. Looking back at old stories, I really can learn from my past mistakes.  Here’s just a few I can pick out. (Translation: Me about to vent about how terrible this was)

  1. Fudge, look at that giant chunk of an intro paragraph.
  2. What a grabber of a first line. “The city was dark and gloomy” Really hooks in the reader right off the bat.
  3. I don’t think I knew about the ‘Show, Don’t tell’ rule at the time. That whole first paragraph could probably be condensed into like three sentences.
  4. It sounds how I would normally talk, not how someone else would. Big narration problem there.
  5. Are we watching Powerpuff girls? “Forces of evil” Seriously?
  6. “I want you to break up with me” Who was I? Trying to be so dramatic. Damn.
  7. Did my younger self actually think this was good writing?

Well, there you guys have it, an embarrassing look back at my old work. Don’t worry, I have no problem critiquing and making fun of my writing. Let me know what you guys think, and maybe take a look at your old cringe worthy stuff. I always love hearing from you.

Write with heart,
Lady Jabberwocky

Putting things into perspective

One of the first things you must decide before writing a story is how the story will be told. What point of view is best for the story you want to tell? To me, there are three main narratives, first person, second person and third person. Other, more specific styles of narration are derived from these three forms.

First Person

Pronouns: I, my, me.

The reader gets to walk in the shoes of the narrator as the story unfolds. This means the reader has front row seats to this character’s feelings and thoughts and also how the narrator sees the world and other characters. It’s a very personal kind of perspective. However, by using the first person narrative, it puts a limit to what the narrator, and by extension, the reader, learns and experiences.

Second Person

Pronouns: You, Your.

This one is quite rare in fiction; It’s more for technical writing. “You do this, you see that.” It’s difficult to perfect, but not impossible, so don’t be discouraged to experiment with this style. Second person is like playing a choose your own adventure game, where the reader is a character.

Third Person

Pronouns: He, she, they.

Another popular option that gives the writer more freedom to move around, follow multiple characters and explore multiple rooms of the house, so to speak. It’s a more objective viewpoint, which can lead to a lack of connection with the reader. The audience is privy to more information about the plot, information the main characters may not even be aware of, but not the characters personal thoughts and feelings.

Omniscient Narrator

Usually third person

Now we’re getting into more specific stuff. With this one, the narrator knows everything, from feelings to inner thoughts. Think of it like a God like being looking down at the world and relaying the story. Some can argue that it’s the author themselves telling the story.

Unreliable Narrator

Usually first person

Some narrators just can’t be trusted. The viewpoint of this narrator is very biased. Other characters may not be described accurately because of the narrators own perspective. Certain events can be skewed. Even the narrator himself could be not what he appears to be (Check out the narrator from The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie).

Really take the time to think about whom the narrator will be and how well they can tell your/their story. It’s important for the reader to really connect and be engaged with the character or viewpoint chosen. If you are struggling to decide which narrative you want to use, try multiple styles. It’s like reading an essay for school out loud before handing it in. You’ll know what fits your story best when you read it.

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