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Discussion of "The Small Town Diaries of a Schizophrenic Avatar" by fifileigh

2 nashvillebecker 7 years, 7 months ago Reply

Fifi --

Kudos for the discipline of regularly contributing to your story. Though I didn't read every installment, I did peruse a few (as well as the comments). I agree with WWB's assessment - it lacks a certain drive. I couldn't discern a sustained concern - a clock to beat, an antagonist to combat, an overall problem to solve. Even if these are "diary entries," there's little intimate/quirky/dangerous enough for me to care about reading them. It's very light on plot.

To illustrate, I'm copying and pasting your last two paragraphs:

As she toggles between Professional Writer named Fiona Leigh and the young and lost Gothic girl named Lucifer, she starts to feel schizophrenic. She hears voices that confuse her. Lucifer says one thing and Fiona says another, but Fifileigh tries to make sense of all the mess and confusion in order to remain sane in her reality.

Her reality? What is her reality? Where is her reality? Who is she? Lucifer? Fiona? Fifi? Questions keep popping into her head, making her question everything about her life and where it is heading. But she realizes that she now lives many different lives as different people. Fifileigh the former fashion model turned fashion writer, Fiona the professional writer, and Lucifer the struggling and starving girl. As she tries to decide and make sense of all this, she suddenly falls asleep on her couch, in her very cold, dark and empty apartment, dreaming and hoping that things will soon get better. But due to the harsh realities of life, she realizes that they probably will not.

What if you took each chapter to write from a different POV? - Fiona, Lucifer, Fifi. Segment your story dependent upon which world she inhabits during that session. You'll need to interrelate them, of course, but it could make an interesting gimmick to have her avatar trying to complete a task contrary with her physical self. Bounce the realities (virtual and dimensional) against each other to increase conflict.

Even if you don't, give us juicier details of what her separate selves are telling her to do. Show, don't tell. I didn't sense her struggling to maintain her sanity. Provide actual dialogue as the voices. Argue among herselves. Is the Gothic girl a threat to her reality counterparts? Better yet, is the Lucifer character a silver tongued seducer, an outright anarchist, or a straight woman who uses logic as the base of her stance? Show, show, show!

The final paragraph is confusing and unsatisfying. It's British food - boiled steaks, cereal with weak-powdered milk, and undercooked chicken. Fi hopes and dreams they'll taste good, but due to the harsh realities of the kitchen, she realizes they definitely will not. But they could have.

If you're up to it, challenge yourself to write Fi in an emergency. It doesn't have to be life threatening. Perhaps she has to meet a work deadline. She gets stuck in an elevator. She's cornered by a stray dog and has to climb a tree to escape. Something intense. She has to quickly assess what's happening - provide details. Use all five senses. Feel the claustrophobia/urgency/fear/worry/superiority oozing. When she figures out how to conquer the situation, up the ante. Give her a grand scheme issue, rather than "dealing with life." Life is boring. We deal with it everyday (virtual or not), and it's not exciting enough to merit a story. Show me what is.

Otherwise, she can defeat her virtual issues by turning off her computer. Anticlimactic. Give her a purpose and a drive, and watch her/them fly! Good luck.

-- Nash

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