Monday, May 24, 2010

The Same Old Story, Or Something New

I wrote a scene yesterday from the book I'm working on (one of the two, I still haven't decided which to focus on, they're both fighting for writing time in my head). I knew what I wanted to accomplish with the scene, and I was happy with it until this morning when I revisited it.

After typing it up, I feel like it's a bit of a cliche. Do you ever do that? Do you have times were you write a scene that you think is original, but afterwards, you realize it's the same old story that you've seen on TV shows, movies or read in books.

For me, this scene was the girl who keeps her boyfriend away from her sister/or more often her family (who is different). But when he shows up, her worries are for nothing, and the sister/family connects with him.

I don't know, maybe you won't think it's cliched, but I kind of feel like I do. I try to write stories from different perspectives, add something new to them, but with this piece, I feel like I fell flat.

I'll share my rough copy with you. I'm not looking for comments on the piece, but I wonder more if you've ever been in this situation. Have you ever written anything that seems new at the time, but then you realize it might be the same old story. If you have, what was the premise? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I spent weeks making trying to think of ways to keep Seth from coming over to my house.

I made up stories about new paint and having to baby sit my sister and her friends.

The problem was that our house hadn’t been painted in years and the dingy walls surrounded my sister who had never had a friend over in her life.

I tried hard to keep Seth away from my house without him asking questions. I don’t think he ever suspected a thing, until all my hard work was ruined with one ring of the doorbell.

I was in the kitchen with Lauren, drawing pictures in the border of her coloring book.

She covered her hands when the bell rang. “Buzz, buzz,” She shouted and rocked back and forth. I wrapped her in my arms and waited for her to calm down before I went to see who it was.

Once she was focused on her coloring again, I rushed down the hallway, praying that whoever it was wouldn’t grow impatient and set Lauren off again.

Seth was standing there at the door, his hands pulling on his curls in a way that I loved.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, stepping outside and closing the door behind me.

“Well, hello to you too,” he said and reached out towards the doorway. I stepped in front, blocking him. He touched my arm instead, but then let it drop.

“What are you acting so weird? Are you hiding someone inside?”

“What? No,” I said wondering how things had turned so quickly. “I’m inside with my sister. We’re coloring. It’s just the two of us.”

“Good,” Seth said reaching out again, but this time pushing me aside to open the door. “Then you won’t mind if we go inside. I just want to hang out with you, and I couldn’t wait until school tomorrow.” He pushed the door open and flew inside, as if looking for something or someone. He didn’t trust me.

“Wait, Seth, no, my sister Lauren, she isn’t good with-“

Seth didn’t listen. He wouldn’t listen and moved down the hallways into the kitchen where Lauren sat pounding the paper with the edge of your crayon.

“This is your sister?” Seth asked, and I froze, waiting for her to yell and scream, to throw something like she usually did when a stranger invaded her space. I waited for her to start scream, but she didn’t.

Instead, she handed her crayon to Seth and with a simple directive, she let us know that she accepted him. “Color,” she said.

And Seth did.


Janet Johnson said...

I've written many a scene that I loved at the writing and then hated at the reading. Guess it's a job risk. :)

I liked your scene though.

Kristan said...

Ditto what Janet said.

I wonder... if it would make the scene more compelling if the sister didn't accept him so instantly (because I *am* left wondering, Why does she?). Maybe she fusses, but he takes it in (relative) stride and does something to win her over. That makes him more endearing, and makes the scene more believable and less cliche... Yeah? Just a thought.

Either way, I didn't come off to me as something I'd seen a million times. :)

Matthew Rush said...

I did not find this scene cliche at all but then again we don't get much background.

The disabled sibling angle in a romance has been done before but I didn't feel like your piece reflected too strongly anything I'd seen or read.

I was confused by one thing though: who is Nick? Someone different than Seth?

bclement412 said...

Many scenes I write, I love when I write but after I read them back I'm just like.... whoa... this is crap, a zillion other people have done this before me.

But I liked your scene a lot, didn't see too much cliche in it. Maybe if you let it sit, then read it back later, you'll like it better. But you know your work better than any of us!

Lovely writing also!

Christina Lee said...

yep I get what your saying, but what makes this scene unique is the question about the sister. I want ot know more ;-)