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Two Realist Novellas

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Old 04-30-2013, 04:45 PM
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Default Two Realist Novellas


I'm planning out two novellas right now, Birds of Paradise and its sequel, A Tribute to Hide and Seek. They're going to be narrated from the first person perspective of a seventeen year old named Wilfred.

Wilfred is the son of wealthy Chinese immigrants, and lives among other wealthy Chinese immigrants in the Toronto neighborhood of Willowdale. A senior in high school, he and his friends idle their days away in cafes, karaoke bars, and at parties. They are bored, entitled, and self absorbed, possessing none of their parents' and grandparents' intelligence and drive.

Birds of Paradise will focus on Wilfred and his defacto girlfriend, Annie. They have a fairly complicated relationship defined by sincerity, emotional interdependence, and vague sort of hatred toward one another. They both feel constrained by their relationship, but have grown too comfortable with the arrangement to separate. Over the course of the novella, Wilfred will become disillusioned with Annie, culminating in his getting drunk and threatening to kill her. The novella will end with Wilfred trying to call Annie to apologize, but receiving no answer.


A Tribute to Hide and Seek will focus on Wilfred's social life. It basically follows him and his friends as they attend parties, do drugs, and engage in acts of violence. All throughout this novella, Wilfred will try and get in contact with Annie, but will always fail.

The novellas will be written in a pretty bare style. Sights, sounds, smells, textures, people, metaphysical states, and feelings will be described. Imagery will be elegant, surreal, and grounded.

In Wilfred's mind, thoughts are a form of external stimuli, entering the sphere of perception for a single moment before departing forever. Therefore, Wilfred's thoughts will almost always be treated as fleeting events to be distilled into concrete terms, rather than starting points for further reflection. Even within himself, Wilfred is an observer rather than a participant.

There will be lots of dialogue, most of it meaningless.

Characters will be vulnerable and bare, without lustre. They aren't particularly smart, so don't expect any epiphanies. They will be ignored, misheard, and misunderstood. They aren't romantics, or idealists. They're arrogant, self absorbed, and cruel.


The novellas will be paced pretty slowly, since Wilfred's a pretty depressing/passive guy/dude/bro/nigga/human being. But it's still driven, still has a sense of machinery moving it forward efficiently. They will have many poignant scenes where the absurdity/cruelty/indifference of the characters will become apparent.

Themes include social class, immigration, identity, escape, sex, materialism, violence--all that fun stuff.

Does this sound interesting? Suggestions?


Last edited by moops; 04-30-2013 at 05:48 PM..
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:36 PM
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I like your first excerpt, but it feels complete in and of itself. I'm not sure where you would go from there. Do you have an idea for a climax, despite the aversion to epiphanies? I mean, something about their situation has to change, otherwise why would I invest that much time in reading? (obviously you have the set up of them parting because of school)

But, really, what you have already is very enjoyable. Who's to say I wouldn't like the full length story...
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Izzyn View Post
I like your first excerpt, but it feels complete in and of itself. I'm not sure where you would go from there. Do you have an idea for a climax, despite the aversion to epiphanies? I mean, something about their situation has to change, otherwise why would I invest that much time in reading? (obviously you have the set up of them parting because of school)

But, really, what you have already is very enjoyable. Who's to say I wouldn't like the full length story...
the scene of them sitting in the park is preceded by their dinner at a cafe, and proceeded by wilfred driving annie home and then crying uncontrollably in his car.

i'm planning to create a sense of continuity between scenes by having characters reference earlier events. the novellas are going to be very tightly plotted, but not in an obvious way. and they're gonna share a narrative, i guess, in the way franny and zooey share a narrative.

as far as climaxes go, i'm not sure. the whole point of these novellas is that every character is cocooned within their own private worlds, almost completely disconnected from even their closest friends. in fact, the scene in the park is supposed to be one of the only moments of genuine human connection in the novella i'm not sure if i should break that mood with a conventional climax, even though i plan to break it in other ways. i'm going to have wilfred experience intense anger at some point in birds of paradise, but he isn't going to change because of it.

and rather than leading to a breakthrough or resolution, i think the endings of these novellas will emphasize the anger and isolation that exists between their characters. whether or not someone is willing to trade their time and effort for such a "conclusion," i don't know.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:24 PM
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I sorta like the idea, but stories like this usually end with the main character eating his gun. Maybe this one will get a happy ending.
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