Tag Archives: Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Writing Workshop – Week 6

This week’s exercise based on Revenge by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Think of a negative emotion one character has for another, and think of the most extreme that person would do. Have an omniscient narrator tell the story like a fairy tale in a straightforward and non-judgmental way.

Click here to read the story.

Another week, another writing assignment, and one that is really fun this time, as it allowed us to explore our darker sides. It might feel disconcerting at first, but we are writers after all, and what kind of writers would we be if we did not indulge in our dark side once in a while? As usual, I am amazed by all the creative storylines everyone came up with, and it was great to read them all.

I really liked the story I’ve written this time, independent of the requirements of the exercise itself, which is something you won’t hear me say a lot. I rather liked the narrator’s voice in the story. I love the way a straightforward, non-judgmental omniscient narrator sounds, and it’s definitely a voice I’m going to experiment more with, something I also wrote about yesterday.

However, one of the criticisms was actually that the narrator wasn’t omniscient enough, compared to the piece by Petrushevskaya. It seems obvious in hindsight, but I was too focused on the Mei-Hua character, and I didn’t show enough of the husband’s and mother-in-law’s points of view, which would have made the story more interesting. I always say that the relationships between the different characters are very important elements in a story, and yet I forgot about it here.

All in all still a very good attempt. I think I got the fairy tale feeling down, as well as the straightforward tone for the most part. It wasn’t as dark as some of the other pieces, but it’s still pretty gruesome if you stop and think about it.

 

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Writing Workshop – Week 6 Exercise

This week’s exercise based on Revenge by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Think of a negative emotion one character has for another, and think of the most extreme that person would do. Have an omniscient narrator tell the story like a fairy tale in a straightforward and non-judgmental way.

Once upon a time, there lived a girl in China called Mei-Hua, who fell in love with a wealthy man from a nearby village. When they got married, she moved in with her husband and his mother. It wasn’t long, however, before she discovered she couldn’t get along with her mother-in-law. No matter what Mei-Hua did, she would always get criticized. Nothing seemed to satisfy that woman. Not her cooking, not her needlework nor the clothes she wore. None of those things were good enough for her son, not even the way she stood or walked. Even worse, her mother-in-law often criticized her openly in front of the servants and her friends, even when they were strolling through the village in public. And through it all, she was expected to bow her head and accept these criticisms meekly. Chinese tradition dictated that she was not allowed to show any disrespect to her elders. Whenever she did dare to open her mouth, she was immediately rebuked by her husband.

After a few months, she decided she could not live with this horrible person under the same roof anymore. Continue reading

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