With the 101 writing project finished for now, let me take you back to those folks on Blanche Street.
15 Blanche Street: Somebody’s Son.
For this story I used, The Writer’s Block, flicked through the pages to this story prompt “The last time I saw my mother was fifteen years ago.” I liked this idea, played around with it and thought about how about the time I met my mum for the first and last time when I was twenty-five. This led me to create a character who unlike me was desperate to be with his mum. The first few drafts were packed with details, filled with flash backs to give the reader a better idea of who he was. Flashbacks can work, but for this tale there was far too much toing and froing for a short story and so I eventually went in hard and edited the tale right down to the story I published in the finished collection.
The style I used is known as the unreliable narrator. The unnamed protagonist believes that he is telling the truth and is very emotionally throughout the telling of his tale which pulls the reader in. The opening line is a good example of how the rest of the story is charged throughout.
‘The moment I walk into the chemist and see her I know she is my mother.’
Originally I had a lot more going on and was very keen to use smells throughout. In this scene the protagonist says, “As she wanders off she leaves behind a scent that is unmistakably Mum.”
After some research I had her smelling of the perfume, Midnight in Paris, a perfume that is discovered later in the house, but I wanted the reader to conjure up their own smell. Now when I read this story, the old lady smells a bit musty!
At this early stage I wanted to give the reader an idea that the protagonist was not nice, this Chose to portray through his respect of Margaret Thatcher (presuming the reader isn’t a Tory that is!)
Over the years I have thought of many names for my mother, but it makes perfect sense that she’s called Margaret. Margaret’s are strong, honest, and reliable… just like that Mrs Thatcher.
However, I still wanted to keep the reader guessing that the protagonist was harmless as he sees others as a menace.
The front door is locked and the curtains pulled tightly shut, a good sign, you never know who might be skulking around in an area like this.
However, in the same breath the way he thinks is really quite disturbing as to what he’s intentions are for this woman, particularly when he gets into her home and up the stairs.
Throwing back the blankets I grab her pillow close to my face, filling my nostrils with her distinctive smell.
To say more about this story would give too much away so why not pop over to amazon.co.uk/Blanchestreet/where all the neighbours are a nightmare and download the book and read the other spooky nine tales on offer.