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Part 4, Project 2 – Questions for consideration

Am I anywhere near establishing a unique narative voice in my own writing?  How would I describe this voice?
I’m getting closer to seeing my own voice in my writing.  I’d like to say that i’s fluent, serious yet sometimes humourous.  Engaging, informative.  I’m not sure! I will ask a friend to comment and see what she says.

Do I intend to use predominantly 1st-person or 3rd person narration?  Will there be a single narrative voice or more than one?
I want to explore more 1st-person narrative because it seems to relate to a child’s way of thinking.  It’s a more immediate style and seems to capture the imagination of the narrator.  As a reader, you really understand the character, as though you’ve climbed into their skin.  For a child, this intimacy of engagement is really important.

Do I feel more confident about using dialogue in my own writing?
Yes very much and I now understand more fully how effective dialogue can be.  I’ve probably underestimated the power of dialogue and the impact it can have on the plot.  I didn’t realise how powerful an effect it had on the empathy one has with a character and how the reader can relate to them through conversation.  I’ve also enjoyed trying the many varied techniques with dialogue which I hope to draw upon in the future.

Have any new ideas been generated by your work in Project Two?
Yes!  I really want to try writing a children’s ghost story in the 1st-person, possibly journal-style.

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Part 4, Project 2 – Exercise: Role Reversal

“Come on, Dad, we’ve got to get you into bed. It’s late.”
“No, I’m alright son, just leave me be.”
“You can’t stay on the floor, Dad. I promised Mam I’d look after you.”
“Away with you. Just 10 more minutes.”
“Dad, you know that I can’t.  I want you to sit up with me. Come on.  I’ve poured you a fresh mug of coffee.”
“I don’t want coffee! I want sleep!
“And sleep you shall have, once you’re in bed.  Here’s no place for a grown man to pass out. Come on!”
The boy digs his hand under his father’s arm in the hope of pulling him up.  He fails miserably.
“Get off me, lad, for peat’s sake, get off!”
“Listen, Dad.  I’m going to get cross with you soon.  Look at yourself – you’re dribbling, you can barely sit up.”
“All right!  All right.”
“That’s better.  Just get yourself onto that chair and drink the coffee – you’ll feel right as rain in no time.”
“What’s right about rain?  It’s bloody wet.”
“It’s a saying, Dad.  Now, come on. Drink up.”
“All right! Stop with your mithering.”
“I’m only trying to help, Dad.  You know you’re not supposed to drink.”
“What I’m supposed to do and what I actually do, my boy, is up to me…now help me up.”
The man held out a hand and the boy pulled with all his might.  He sat on the chair and took a long swig of coffee.
“Christ, that’s strong.”
“It’s supposed to be.  Mam always said it was the only thing that worked on you.”
“Worked on me? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“When you’ve had too much to drink, Dad.  Now drink up.”
The drunken man continued sipping the coffee, much to the relief of his son.  He was soon able to get his father to bed before he passed out again.

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Part 4, Project 2 – Exercise: Establishing power & status

“It’s not that we don’t want you here any more, Bill. Far from it.  Things are just slowing down.  Not a lot of new work coming in.”
“So, it’s last in, first out then, John?”
“Not at all, Bill.  We’re just having to economise our productivity in line with demand and..”
“Sack people to save money? I know what you’re doing, John.  It’s fairly plain to see.”
“It’s not as black and white as that, as well you know.  If I had the work for you both, you know that I’d gladly give it to you.”
“Ah, so we’re both being given the shove, eh? How noble.”
“Now, come on, Bill, it’s not like that. Times are increasingly difficult.  We’ve had to make some very tough decisions of late and…”
“Yer, and I bet you sleep soundly at night.  Six months in and we’re out on our ears?”
“You’ll get glowing references and an extra week’s pay, Bill.  You know, for the trouble.”
“I think you’ll find we’ll get more than that. Come on, son, let’s get out of here.  We don’t wanna be where we’re not welcome.”

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Part 4, Project 2 – Exercise: Giving Information

“Do I need to see this, Martin?”
“Yes. You do.”
“It’s the practice timetable.  So what?”
“Billie. Look again.”
“Weekdays…full practices…matches at home. Matches away.  What am I looking for?”
“Does anything stand out as unusual, Billie?”
“No.”
“What league are we in, Billie?”
“Seniors.”
“And what league’s timetable are we looking at?”
“Juniors.”
“Finally. So – why am I showing you this?”
“I don’t know.”
“Dya know what, Billie? Trying to get common sense out of you sometimes is as easy as stapling jelly to a wall.”
“What’s the big deal with the Juniors then?”
“Who’s being demoted to that league next month? Who do we hate? Who needs their arse kicking?”
“Ah….Charlie Winters!”
“Allelujah.”
“So why are we looking at his timetable and not ours?”
“So that we know when he’s going to be around the club.  We can make sure that can be ‘available’ for some post-match debriefs, shall we say.”
“Er…right.”

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Part 4, Project 2 – Exercise: Establishing Relationships

“Quick! Let’s run down here! There’s no way they’ll come down this way.”
“Martin, since when have you had a built-in bully detector with GPS?”
“Cute, Billy, but really…get your arse down here.”
“Martin – I hate to say it, but there’s a ruddy great wall down there.”
“Yer, I know, Billie.  It’s cool.  They won’t come round the other side.  We can just hang out.”
“Bet you wouldn’t have flushed Winters if you’d known he had his own gang!”
“Never say never, Billie, my old chum.  He had what was coming to him.”
“Right, well we’re here now.  What dya wanna do about..”

Two lads from Charlie Winter’s gang dropped over the wall, a matter of feet in front of the boys.  One was carrying a knife, the other a length of rope.

“Just ‘hang out’, eh Martin? Dya have something more appropriate to do, now that we have company?”
“I’m working on it, Billie.  Just stick close to me.”
“Oh, have no fear!  I’m not leaving you.  You got me into this mess; you’re getting me out.”
“Yes, alright, Billie.  Let’s keep our eyes firmly on the sharp stuff and start pacing things backwards a bit.”
“I’m crap at walking backwards….remember when…”
“Don’t need to hear that right now, Billie. Eyes forward, feet backwards, just like I’m doing…that’s it.  Nice and steady.”

The two lads weiling weapons and rope stood firm, broad grins on their faces, the occasional glance between them suggesting a plan.

“They’re not actually going anywhere, Martin…what are they doing?”
“Billie, I have no greater powers of telepathy than you have.  Just keep coming backwards, for Christ’s sake.”
“If we get out of this alive, Martin, are you gonna stop picking on him?”
“Who, Winters?  No, of course note.  He’s a fool.  Like I said, he gets what he deserves.”
“But they’ve got a knife, Martin.  A proper, pointy, cut-you-into-little-pieces knife.”
“Keep it together, Billie.  I’m very aware of that fact, hence we’re moving away from them.  They’re trying to intimidate us.  But it’s not working.  Show them it’s not working, Billie.”
“How the hell dya expect me to do that?  I’m close to wetting myself.”
“Show it in your face.  Your eyes.  Stare them down, Billie.  Drive your eyes deep into their souls.  Show. No. Fear”
“But my hayfever’s killing me.  My eyes are running faster than Linford Christie with a nose bleed.”
“Oh, for God’s sake, Billie, just get on with it! Man up!”
“I’m about to get my throat slit open and you’re telling me to ‘man up’? Christ, Martin.”
“You’ve been watching too many CSI episodes, Billie.  I warned you about that.”
“Are you frigging mad, Martin?  Can’t you see what’s going on over there?  They want to tie us up then slice-and-dice us.  Probably feed us to some large, dribbling, attitude-driven dog bred for fighting.”
“Let’s not think about what could be and focus more on what will be…on my count, after 3, we’re gonna leg it…”
“Oh, shit….!”
“One – two – three!”