Short story writing – Point of view

Point of view / Perspective

 

If this story was being written the first person the only perspective or point of view would be that of the narrator.

Since we need to have a number of perspectives it is better done in the third person so we can change between characters and try to understand their motivation.

We might look at first person perspective for each of characters later.

The second of the protagonists is the girl with the gun.  How did she get it?  How did the situation deteriorate so quickly?   What is she going to do?

This is a short story and we need to know something about her, so we have to get to the heat of the matter quickly, so let’s start with: “Her mother said she would never amount to anything, and here she was, with a broken drug addict coming apart because she had been cut off from her money, dragged into coming to this shop to leverage drugs from his dealer at the end of a gun.

It was her fault, Jerry said, and made her feel responsible, much the same as her parents and everyone else in her life.”

One of life’s losers or just a victim?  This theme can go in any direction.

Then a moment to reflect on why she was here:  “Why had she agreed to go with Jerry?  In that moment when she picked up the gun off the floor she realized it was not out of responsibility or fault, it was out of fear.”

That gives us the why, he had obviously tried to make her feel responsible and when that failed, he threatened her.  But now there’s a bigger issue, the gun and a situation spiraling out of control.  The thing is, she has the gun and the power to walk away or make matters worse.

The problem was, she has outed the shopkeeper as a dealer in front of someone who had not known.  That now made him a victim as much as she was.

“She looked at the two men facing her, a shopkeeper who was a dealer and a customer scared shitless.  As much as she was.  Her gun hand was shaking.”

The scene is set, something has to give.

Time for the shopkeeper to weigh in.

“I have no idea what you are talking about.  Please, put the gun down before someone gets hurt.”

It’s a typical response from a man who realizes he’s in trouble, and is trying to make time while he thinks of how to rescue himself from a potentially dangerous situation.

Time to change the perspective again and explore the shopkeeper.

“If only Jack hadn’t come in when he did.  He would have the gun, called the police, and brazened his way out of trouble.  Who would the police believe a pair of addicts or a respectable shopkeeper?

Now he had to deal with the fallout, especially if the girl started talking.”

 

Next, actions have consequences, building the tension.

 

This section rewritten, moving from Jack as the narrator to the girl, and then to the shopkeeper:

 

Annalisa looked at the two men facing her, a shopkeeper who, despite his protestations, was a dealer and a customer scared shitless.

The poor bastard was not the only one.  This was meant to be simple, arrive at the shop just before closing, force the shopkeeper to hand over the shit, and leave.  Simple.

Except …

The shopkeeper told them to get out.  Simmo started ranting waving the gun around, then collapsed.  A race for the gun which spilled out of his hand, she won.

He was getting the stuff when the customer burst into the shop.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, she thought.

Why had she agreed to go with Jerry?  It was her fault, Jerry said, and made her feel responsible for his problems, much the same as her parents and everyone else in her life.

Her mother said she would never amount to anything, and here she was, with a drug addict coming apart because she had been cut off from her money, dragged into coming to this shop to pick up his score from his dealer at the end of a gun.

She heard a strange sound come from beside her and looked down.  Simmo was getting worse, like he had a fever, and was moaning.

 

The shopkeeper saw an opportunity.  “Listen to me, young lady, I have no idea what you are talking about.  Please, put the gun down before someone gets hurt.  Your friend needs medical help and I can call an ambulance.”

The girl switched her attention back to him.  “Shut up, let me think.  Shit.”

The storekeeper glanced over at the customer.  He’s been in once or twice, probably lived in the neighborhood, but looked the sort who’d prefer to be anywhere but in his shop.  More so now.  If only he hadn’t burst in when he did.  He would have the gun, called the police, and brazened his way out of trouble.  Who would the police believe a pair of addicts or a respectable shopkeeper?

Now he had to deal with the fallout, especially if the girl started talking.

 

© Charles Heath 2016

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s