10 July 2009

What's Up With "Antiques," Part I?

Having had an excruciatingly miserable time with my guts last night/this morning, I was pleased that they cooperated enough tonight that I was able to dash off another new work of fiction. This piece is entitled, "Antiques, Part I." Why the "Part I?" Well, I will tell you. There are two reasons. First, I saw it was 2:16 when I finished writing and I wanted to get to the keyboard, since I prefer to type these right after I put down my pen. It affords me the opportunity to revise while still in the zeitgeist of creation, and I have long felt that essential to a second draft. The other reason this is "Part I" is that I wasn't entirely sure what happens next. I have some ideas, but a little voice inside my head told me to just stop where I was and call this "Part I." So, that's exactly what I did.

Now, then, the story itself. Jack and Dorothy MacGuffin are in their 50s, and are traveling to stay with their son, Henry, in Georgia. During the span of this story, though, they have stopped at Historic Roscoe Village, in Coshocton, Ohio. This is a real place, and aside from the fictitious antiques store I invented, it is much as I have described. I have visited there thrice now, accompanying my wife on family visits to her grandmother who lives near Roscoe Village. There is a little building on the end of one street where, apparently, businesses come and go with some degree of regularity. I know it at least once housed a book store because I bought a copy of Moneyball there. In case you're familiar with Roscoe Village, or in the event you happen to visit there after reading "Antiques, Part I," this is the building in which I have placed my fictitious Antiques shop.

Unlike "Dirty Laundry," "Antiques, Part I" is a return to a G-rated story. I gave them the last name MacGuffin for a few reasons; one, it sounds Irish and that's the kind of people these two are. They're from New England; I think I mention that they live in a small town outside Concord (though, of course, it may not be the city by that name in Massachussettes). Another reason is that "McGuffin" is the term Alfred Hitchcock ascribed to any object central to the plot of a story; we need never understand anything about the object other than the fact that the characters seek it. Think about any story about an object, whether it's James Bond trying to steal a Russian "Lektor" decoder in From Russia with Love or Jesse and Chester caught in the middle of the quest for the Continuum Transfunctioner in Dude, Where's My Car? and you have an idea what a McGuffin is. I made this surname "Mac" instead of "Mc" just 'cause. Instead of seeking a McGuffin, though, Jack is the one doing the seeking. At the end of the story, Jack has purchased a small box of old photographs; what will their significance be in his life? I don't yet know.

One remark I would like to make, while I'm thinking about it, is that this is the most revising I have done so far. If you were to look at the handwritten manuscript, you would see numerous crossed out false starts to sentences and even an entire page and a half sequence set in a leather goods store that I excised entirely. Additionally, you would discover plenty of subtle alterations were you to contrast the handwritten and the typed editions. There were several awkward sentences in the original version, and I managed to salvage most of them; a couple remain, though, and if you happen to see them and think of a better way for me to express those thoughts, I would genuinely appreciate the guidance.

As always, the story can be read on Google Docs here.

1 comment:

  1. Oooh! I like it. What will he decide to do with the photographs? You did well painting the small town picture here. Can't wait for part 2.

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