You guys, I don’t do fiction.

3 Feb

I’m in a flash fiction class this semester. That means it’s fiction and it’s short. Hey, guess what I don’t do.
(insert lesbian joke here)
Right you are, I don’t write fiction. Not normally. Not naturally.
But now I do. I’m working on this flash fiction piece right now that’s a little magical realism-ish. Well, I’ll just let you read it. YOU GUYS, I need suggestions. Also, I need an ending. Making shit up is hard. I mean, do you ever think? Is fiction harder for you guys, or easier? How much do you base your own fiction on real life?
Most importantly, WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THIS STORY? It’s flash: it has to end. It has to be cohesive and tight.

READERS, lend me your insight. If it’s good, maybe I’ll run away with your suggestions, write them grandly, and then post about it next week. Make it good, baby cakes.

11:39 PM. January 26, 1999.
3500 STATESMAN DRIVE
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN
47906-8808

During a celebratory, end of *SiXtH gRAde* sleepover, Camille Wright touched the satin brass of Rachel Marshall’s bathroom doorknob and simultaneously became aware of the insides of her body.

For the full fifteen years of her life, Camille ’s organs, nestled within her body cavity, had functioned properly. Quietly. Almost subversively, in that she was not aware of their goings on.

Prior to this moment, Camille Wright could not have told you what her organs did. She could not even have told you, definitively, what organs she possessed. They hardly mattered. Her organs had no aspirations (beyond simply being organs), took little offense to being ignored, and carried out their roles without consulting her.

In this moment, they were equally incommunicado. For Camille, it was simply as if her insides had been asleep, and then awoken. She felt her esophagus. She flexed the striated muscles there, and knew the course skin that stretched over them.
She swallowed and did not know the word for her peristaltic contractions, but felt them pass through the upper and lower esophageal sphincters as easily as she would have felt your hand squeeze her thighs.
She knew the J-shape bend of her stomach, could trace the outline for you with her fingertips against the soft curve belly.
She could feel the finger-sized villi of her small intestine, the hair-sized microvilli budding off, and knew every centimeter of surface area they added collectively.
She felt the bacteria moving in her gut, fermenting the food there, as clearly as running her tongue over her teeth. She could run her mind over every portion of her body, even her ovaries, paired like peanuts, along the lateral walls of her pelvic cavity—and she suspected these were the culprits behind her awakening.

Once the initial shock of discovery had passed, in a moment, Camille assumed this new, Frankensteinian shock was mundane. Probably every young woman went through this. It made sense. She had been anticipating her first period for over a year now, because Amanda Kinsley had gotten hers while eating ice cream cake (on her own birthday) so really, it was about time.

When she left the bathroom and rejoined her friends at the sleepover, she felt older, mature, a part of the club in which they were already united. She did not know how to explain her transformation in words, so she did not. To her friends on that night, or to anyone else, ever. It was in this way that Camille Wright became aware of her internal organs and no one ever came to learn of it, not one soul.

Her first boyfriend suspected something, but what? He couldn’t tell.
Just that Camille seemed to have far above average orgasms. Body wracking, she sometimes gored holes in his chest, she would bite him so hard.
He was a timid boy, afraid of her animal-like fervor. He jacked-off into a sock before going on dates with her, and rarely invited her back to his place. When she invited him to her house, he would make excuses about dentist appointments and stomach aches, which Camille almost always believed—because she was in love and because she thought he was equally aware of his own body.

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12 Responses to “You guys, I don’t do fiction.”

  1. leeraloo February 3, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I think this is good. I like how it ends. Like, seriously, this is better than any flash fiction I’ve written. As for coming up with stories, you sometimes have to start with something small that you know and then work up from there, so you’re technically writing “what you know,” but it’s not actually non-fiction. I don’t know.

    Also, in my hometown there’s a Camille Wright public pool where the swim team used to practice, so that’s weird.

  2. Layne Ransom February 3, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    apparently, you DO do fiction.

  3. Joe C. February 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I enjoyed this and agree with the above comments. As for fiction advice, “A GOOD day is when everything goes my way and I don’t drink. A GREAT day is when nothing goes my way and I don’t drink.” Oh, wait. That’s alcoholism advice. Sorry.

    God Bless You. God Bless America.

  4. elysiasmith February 3, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I actually like this ending.
    But, you said you had another idea while you were sleeping? What’s that one?
    AND GOSH LINDS.
    have faith.
    you’re good.

  5. Sean February 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    There is one glaring clanky/clunky sentence.

  6. Lindsay February 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Hi…I am Abby’s cousin, which is how I came to be reading this blog. I am an English teacher, so I compulsively read everything available in front of me (as opposed to some familial responsibility to read just Abby’s work).

    Anyway, I have enjoyed all your work and feel this piece is very engaging and workable. Since you asked for feedback, I did want to let you know that a couple parts threw me. One, I thought right from the beginning that something was wrong with this girl because she is 15 in 6th grade– I don’t know if that is the effect you wanted. I taught 7th grade for four years and most of them were just turning 13. I thought it might be purposeful and come out somewhere in the story later, but it did not that I could tell.

    I think this sentence might work well as a conclusion: “It was in this way that Camille Wright became aware of her internal organs and no one ever came to learn of it, not one soul.”

    Move the boyfriend part above it and condense that perhaps: “Her first boyfriend suspected something, but what? He couldn’t tell. He was a timid boy, afraid of her animal-like fervor. He jacked-off into a sock before going on dates with her, and rarely invited her back to his place. When she invited him to her house, he would make excuses about dentist appointments and stomach aches, which Camille almost always believed—because she was in love and because she thought he was equally aware of his own body.”

    Then return to the past and maybe even the doorknob?

    Those are a couple ideas to play with– and don’t stress because fiction is all play, right?

    • Lindsey.p.LaVal February 4, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

      THESE SUGGESTIONS ARE GREAT!
      I’ll play with it tonight, starting with this. Also, thanks for pointing out the age thing. I’m not sure what I was thinking.
      DEAR READER, way to step it up. 😀

      LIKE

  7. Camille Germain February 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    I read your post about reading this, so I clicked.
    First I noticed that the character shared my name which for selfish reasons intrigured me. Then I noticed the age thing, which by previous comments was already established.
    The narrative read a bit aloof. The details were more matter-of-fact rather than artful. It might just be my personal taste though. I wanted to know more, I needed more juice.
    You should get more vulgar in imagery.

    My favorite part was the fourth paragraph where everything comes alive, the meat.

    Try replacing words with synonyms that don’t name something with it’s common tag. Like for organs you could use innards or something of the sort instead of repetition of the word. I enjoyed the personification of the organs, that they had their own lives and could take offense in the first place.

    I would like to know the style of her movement? Was it a confident stride or a shrewd catwalk with a determined path? Did she walk with little balance, how did this knowledge of herself alter her body language?

    It’s a good start though, especially for never writing fiction. I’m a tear at reality, bio-driven, nonfiction enthusiast myself. Keep at it though, it was a good read! Just play around with it, get more inside.

    I hope I was any bit of help for ya! 🙂

  8. Sean February 7, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    You were supposed to ask me which sentence!

    I was just kidding anyway.

    I will say if you can get consistent and quality feedback like this on your drafts, this will be a very useful blog for you.

    Very cool idea. A virtual workshop, etc

    • Lindsey.p.LaVal February 7, 2011 at 9:39 am #

      Oooh. Well, here’s this Cat .gif because the internet is sometimes weird.

    • thenerdynegress February 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      One of the coolest things about it is the comments don”t stop here. I’ve gotten e-mails from people with (good) critiques who just weren’t comfortable leaving comments. It’s been a great thing. Thanks for checking us out, Sean.

  9. j.ro March 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    this is my favorite line, “They hardly mattered. Her organs had no aspirations (beyond simply being organs), took little offense to being ignored, and carried out their roles without consulting her.”

    And that you could make internal organs seem sexy.

    Also, reminds me a bit like Stranger Than Fiction … which is ironic because you’re writing fiction.

    YOU’RE GREAT!

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