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  1. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Reflection?

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by Maverick_nc, Apr 4, 2019.

    Hi again,
    Can someone please help me figure out the best time for reflection, if at all, in a piece I'm writing?

    In this example, I'm writing from a childs pov and I'm upset that the teacher consistently gives me far more homework than the other kids. To me as a child, it feels as though this teacher hates me but it's only with adult eyes I can see that she saw potential in me and gave me this extra as a way to build on said potential.
    I tried adding in some adult reflection but it seemed to disrupt the flow of the passages. Do I simply need to be cleverer with my writing and assume the reader will pick up on the real intentions of the teacher, or is adult reflection necessary?

    Many Thanks
    Neil
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It seems to me that the teacher would say the thing about the potential. Even though your child will probably reject the explanation, can the explanation be part of the scene? Then we get that from the teacher, not the child.

    You could, of course, have the child directly say something, too.

    Mom said, "Wow. That's a lot of homework."
    Stupid homework. "Teacher says I have potential. I didn't mean to!"
     
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  3. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    I have read several of your posts ChickenFreak and I've been struck each time by the ease in which you seem to decipher the problem and provide a solution in one foul swoop. (Excuse the pun).

    I didn't provide enough information in this instance however, so I'm not sure it works exactly...
    The child in this example is a victim of bullying and abuse, so the extra homework is not only an attempt by the teacher to extract the potential but also a way of distracting the child. The teacher in question is a terrifying old battleaxe of a woman - at least in the childs eyes, and unlikely to say anything about potential. Hence my problem persists- its only with adult eyes that I recognise the true intention...
     
  4. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    You're writing from a child's POV but who is the book/story for? If it is for adults I'm sure the reader will get it. You say you only see the potential from an adult's eyes. You have to be able to walk in the shoes of your character when picking POV then use other characters to mirror them. I can't walk in the shoes of someone 80 yet so dealing with a character that age would be difficult for me. It might be difficult for some adults to remember how kids feel so keep that in mind when picking POV. So, if the child feels like the teacher hates her you have to use the teacher character to show (don't tell) what's really going on. How you do it depends on the intended audience.
     
  5. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    A good example is "To Kill A Mockingbird". The story was told from the POV of Gem, and she was only six years old. There were very "grown up" issues that the book dealt with yet we saw it all from her POV.
     
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  6. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Hi there, thank you for your response! The book is most definitely for adults, and its memoir - probably should have mentioned that earlier. I feel I need to trust the reader to pick up on the true intentions as this part can really only be written from the childs POV. I'm really unsure how I can hint at it without including adult reflection and disrupting the flow or by adding reflection much later in the book. Perhaps i'm overthinking and neither is necessary.
    I was the only student in the entire year that 'passed' successfully into later attending a Grammar school. Perhaps showing this says enough...?
     
  7. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    If it is biographical then what happened is what happened. When did you realize what the teacher really meant?

    Narrators can help with this. You just show what happened and what was said. The narrator (presuming it's you) can say something like: It would be ten years later before I really knew what she meant. If I were to run into her today, I'd thank her.
     
  8. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Your line 'It would be ten years later...' is almost exactly what I had and considered reflection rather than narration, before removing it as it seemed to interrupt the flow of the chapter. I think I need to either move this explanation/narration/reflection (or whatever the bloody hell it actually is) to a different point or remove it entirely. Many thanks for your help and advice.
     
  9. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    Maybe we need to talk about why you consider reflection bad, especially in narration.
     
  10. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    I don't consider reflection bad, not at all. It's simply the idea of adult reflection in a chapter dominated by a childs POV that I find jarring. Perhaps I am just doing it badly, but each time I include it in this particular chapter it doesn't feel right at all.
     
  11. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    I'm aware that reflection is used in memoir extensively, i'd just prefer in this instance to clarify the intentions with more subtletly than outright commenting as such.
     
  12. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    You said it was bio. Unless you are going to embellish what happened? Did you understand it then?

    If you don't like just coming out with it then it has to be demonstrated through action. Action reveals character. You'll have to do it through the teacher character. Whatever she does or says should make it clear what her intent was even if the child did not understand at the time.
     
  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Is this firmly nonfiction? If it were fiction, I might insert a conversation. This one isn't great; it's a little labored in making its point.

    When I didn't turn in the paper, she sent me to the principal's office. Finally! This was my chance to prove she was unfair.

    "So you say your teacher gives you too much homework?"

    "Yes! She gives them some little easy thing, and mine's totally different."

    "Is the homework too hard for you?"

    "Yeah. I mean, at first."

    "But then you get better at it?"

    "Yeah. And then she gives me something harder again!"

    "Could your classmates do it? Do the homework she gives you, I mean?"

    "No. I mean, most of 'em can barely do the regular homework. I could do the regular homework before most of 'em even get started. It's not fair!"

    "So what they're doing is hard for them, and what you're doing is hard for you."

    I gave up. He just didn't get it. He kept talking, and I watched him with my polite face until he was done. At least by then it was time for recess.
     
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  14. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    @Neil Carre If you start inserting fictionalized conversations then it is no longer memoir but a fiction book based on a true story. If that is what you are doing fine.

    I think you are just going to have to wait the 14 days to post to the workshops so beta readers can see what you are trying to do and then give feedback.

    Of course there is the old adage... to read the works of others in that genere and see how they handled it.

    I suggest the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, "Little House On The Prarie" series. Those books were based on her memoirs and are classics. They are from a child's POV but adults love them too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Ingalls_Wilder

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_House_on_the_Prairie:_The_Legacy_of_Laura_Ingalls_Wilder
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  15. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Hi Chicken, this is a very interesting approach and may be something I can adapt using a conversation with a friend or my mother. Thank you very much.
     
  16. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    It is firmly non-fiction. You've probably seen from my other posts that its closer to an autobiography than a memoir, but if I don't tell the complete story it won't have an arc, which is what I'm trying to prove. Of course, this leaves me with the task of keeping my story interesting enough that strangers would want to read it, but I believe it is.....or should be if I write well enough.
    Thank you so much for all your help and advice, it is genuinely appreciated.
     
  17. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    I find all of the above suggestions on point. (Read "To Kill a Mocking Bird"! It's a very well written book that might give you some ideas). Since I'm not a memoir writer myself, I usually have somewhat of the opposite problem than yours (including flashbacks without depleting the flow) but I think I understand what you mean. I can't help you otherwise than suggest to watch this vid, since you are not including any of your writing. It might not give you a straight-forward answer, but it does contain some interesting bits and parts on memoir writing that might help you brainstorm for ideas.

     
  18. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Hi Malisky, thank you for posting this video, it was very interesting.
    After careful consideration, I am continuing to write my story as a novel-that-happens-to-be-true since I think/hope/pray it is interesting enough to be read as such. I may change my mind once complete, but for now i'm going to go ahead and finish the damn thing. I'm trying to avoid reflection as much as I can since I tend to either philosophise, jump on a soapbox or patronise the reader by over-explaining when I do so.
    I've not included any writing for two reasons:
    1. I'm new here and felt it would be presumptive to do so without contributing much myself.
    2. It includes some very personal stories that aren't ready to be heard quite yet.

    Many thanks
    NC
     
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  19. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    So what did you do, Neil? Change your username because your story is bio?
     
  20. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Yes, I felt it best at this stage.
     

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