The Intersection

The Intersection

A Story by Jason Scott
"

A man late for a court appointment contemplates the futility of attending. And his seemingly pointless life.

"

THE INTERSECTION


He walked at at brisk pace. He was running late. A quick glance at his watch confirmed this. It was getting warmer out, hot actually. He could feel beads of sweat collecting on his forehead. He approached the last intersection he needed to cross to reach his appointment. A seemingly endless wave of vehicles sped through the intersection. He sighed and impatiently pressed the crosswalk button. But the traffic continued to relentlessly speed through. He looked at his watch again. Yes he was going to be late. Even if he could cross right now he wouldn't make it on time. He wondered why he was even in a hurry at all. He had nothing to look forward to. It was all downhill. She would win. She would get her way. So why hurry? It was going to be a humiliating ordeal.


A large truck zoomed by. Bringing with it a swirling cyclone of plastic bags and other trash. A department store flyer was suddenly thrown around the crosswalk pole. It fluttered passively in the breeze of passing vehicles. A women's face was on the flyer. A smile spread wide across her delicate features. She seemed to mock him, belittle him. Yes what is the hurry? She seemed to say. He felt the warm sweat running down his back. Really what is the point of being late or on time? It would change nothing. Honestly what is the point? What is the point of anything anymore? Before he could muster a response the flyer was suddenly ripped away from the pole.


The traffic had stopped. Engines revved impatiently under the command of the bright red orb. They were more like angry growling beasts held back by an iron gate than cars or trucks. The heat of the mid afternoon day shimmered off of the hoods of the vehicles. A man texted on his cell phone. A mother argued with her children. A rich young socialite played with her hair. A guy on a motorcycle inched up on the intersection, anticipating the green light. Then suddenly the street roared to life again. The young socialite rounded the corner and seemed to convey a look of discontent at the man standing at the intersection.


Yes maybe there was no point anymore. But maybe he could spare himself the embarrassment, the emasculation. A thought crossed his mind, accompanied with a sly grin. Sure it was spiteful, but hell it was something. He thought of them all waiting for him. Wondering where he was. What he was doing as they glanced at their watches and checked their cell phones. As he stepped off the curb and into the street he stared up into the sky. Horns blared angrily and tires squealed horribly. But he could not hear them. A smile opened up across his face. It was the most beautiful blue sky he would ever see.



© 2019 Jason Scott


Author's Note

Jason Scott
Normally I am influenced by something when I write. However this time I cannot think what inspired me to write this. I do however feel that our court system frowns upon the man, frequently treating him as the bad guy. Additionally I feel we live in the age of misandry. So perhaps that is what inspired me to write this.

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Fact #1 He walked at at brisk pace.
Fact #2 He was running late.
Fact #3 A quick glance at his watch confirmed this.
Fact #4 It was getting warmer out, hot actually.
Fact #5 He could feel beads of sweat collecting on his forehead.
.
.
.
Fact # etc.
- - - - -
Think about it. Is this a story or a report? Sure we learn the sequence of events, in a “This happned…then that happened…and after that…” way. But is that what the reader is seeking, a list of what you note happening? Or are they seeking to become the protagonist and live the events? Facts or an emotional connection?

When you read a horror story, are you hoping to learn that the protagonist feels terror? Or do you want the storyteller to terrorize YOU, and make YOU afraid to turn out the lights? One way supplies a factual experience, the other, emotional.

You already know the details of your story. So when you say, “He wondered why he was even in a hurry at all. He had nothing to look forward to,” You know who “he” is. You know where he is, where he’s bound, what he expects to happen, and why. You know his age, and where he is in time and space. What does the reader know that would give context to the words? Nothing. So why would they care that an unknown “he” is in a hurry to get to an unknown place to meet an unknown “she” for unknown purpose?

My point is that a story, on the page is NOT about what happens. It’s not about things and events. Focusing on those results in an author-centric and fact-based narrative—a report. History books are about facts and events, and have you described any history book as a “page-turner?” Of course not. Why? Because history books, and reports, are focused on making the reader KNOW. But fiction is focused on making them care. It’s focused on the emotional response of the protagonist to the events, and their struggle to understand and control the situation. The goal of fiction is to involve the reader, emotionally. Fail that and they never turn to page two. Here’s what Sol Stein has to say on that: “A novel is like a car—it won’t go anywhere until you turn on the engine. The “engine” of both fiction and nonfiction is the point at which the reader makes the decision not to put the book down. The engine should start in the first three pages, the closer to the top of page one the better.”

Think about it. Why would a reader care that a nameless “he” could feel beads of sweat collecting on his forehead,” when he doesn’t care enough to react to them. Obviously, it’s you noticing it rather than something he cares about, so it’s exactly as important to the story as had you mentioned that he scratched his a*s.

Story is what matters to him, why it matters, and what it causes him to do in response. Story happens in HIS viewpoint, not visual details or what you notice.

Think about life. From the moment of waking till sleep claims you, your life is an unending chain of cause and effect. Something catches your attention, and you respond in some way. And usually, that response determines what next has your attention:

Your alarm sounds, and you evaluate the situation and if you need to get out of bed. That necessity, or desire, drives you, first, to turn off the alarm or punch snooze, then… And that continues, motivation-by-motivation, response-by-response. Can your character live any differently and seem real? Can he seem real if we know his actions but not why he acts? Can the situation seem relevant to him if something is pointed out by someone not on the scene but he ignores it?

Go back to your school days. Did even a single teacher talk about tags, even to mentioning how to handle the punctuation? Did anyone mention why a scene ends in disaster for the protagonist, or why it must? Did they explain the significant differences between a scene on the page and one in the theater?

I ask because if you don’t know what a scene is, the progression, or the elements of a scene, how can you write one? In short, the reports and essays you wrote, and were trained in, made you pretty good at writing reports and essays, but that’s all. They didn’t teach you even the basics of the profession of Fiction-Writer, because professions are learned IN ADDITION to he skills of The Three R’s we’re given in school.

The solution? Simplicity itself. Pick up the skills that writers take for granted: the emotion-based and character-centric skills of writing fiction that entices the reader and raised their curiosity enough to say, “Hmm…tell me more.” Fail that and your audition lasts a paragraph or two and they never get to see the story.

Is that easy to do? The answer is that simple and easy aren’t interchangeable words. Learning the skills of any profession takes time, practice, and study. But given that your reader has been choosing only professionally written fiction in the library and bookstore, it is necessary. On the plus side, if you are meant to write, you’ll find the learning fun, like going backstage at the theater. And if not, you’ve learned something important, so it’s win/win.

So check out the fiction-writing section at the local library. It’s filled with what you need. And while you’re there, look for the names, Dwight Swain, James Scott Bell, Jack Bickham, or Debra Dixon on a book on fiction writing technique. Any one of them will give you the nuts-and-bolts issues of fiction. They won’t make a pro of you. That’s your job. But they will give you the knowledge and the tools with which to do it, if it’s in you.

As a kind of shortcut—a way to see the issues involved, and how different the tricks of fiction are from the nonfiction skills of your schooldays you might dig around in the articles of my writing blog. They’re written for the hopeful writer.

But whatever you do, hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/the-grumpy-old-writing-coach/

Posted 1 Week Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

JayG

1 Week Ago

Ir's not a matter of liking or not liking. That's a matter of taste. The techniques of writing ficti.. read more
Semaj

1 Week Ago

I wondered how long it took too judge.
JayG

1 Week Ago

Had this been s submission to an agent or publisher they would have stopped reading when it became e.. read more



Reviews

The redundancy is apparent as well as the lack of detail in certain situatioms.Being vague is good in some situations but in the few points you are it becomes hindering too your stories. Paint a picture as you write your words. Why does he give up? What kept him this long? Why was he in a rush? The heat focus was ment a metaphorical reference but too what?
But the ending classical and well done.
Review on jayg response. You are as repetitive as this story. You wrote a longer review than the story, and yet lacked more details too correct rather than criticize. You defeat your point mutlille times when you compare it too a different subject and then go to techniques and lack a correction that are too better the one who writes. Can't compare apples too oranges.

Posted 1 Week Ago


Fact #1 He walked at at brisk pace.
Fact #2 He was running late.
Fact #3 A quick glance at his watch confirmed this.
Fact #4 It was getting warmer out, hot actually.
Fact #5 He could feel beads of sweat collecting on his forehead.
.
.
.
Fact # etc.
- - - - -
Think about it. Is this a story or a report? Sure we learn the sequence of events, in a “This happned…then that happened…and after that…” way. But is that what the reader is seeking, a list of what you note happening? Or are they seeking to become the protagonist and live the events? Facts or an emotional connection?

When you read a horror story, are you hoping to learn that the protagonist feels terror? Or do you want the storyteller to terrorize YOU, and make YOU afraid to turn out the lights? One way supplies a factual experience, the other, emotional.

You already know the details of your story. So when you say, “He wondered why he was even in a hurry at all. He had nothing to look forward to,” You know who “he” is. You know where he is, where he’s bound, what he expects to happen, and why. You know his age, and where he is in time and space. What does the reader know that would give context to the words? Nothing. So why would they care that an unknown “he” is in a hurry to get to an unknown place to meet an unknown “she” for unknown purpose?

My point is that a story, on the page is NOT about what happens. It’s not about things and events. Focusing on those results in an author-centric and fact-based narrative—a report. History books are about facts and events, and have you described any history book as a “page-turner?” Of course not. Why? Because history books, and reports, are focused on making the reader KNOW. But fiction is focused on making them care. It’s focused on the emotional response of the protagonist to the events, and their struggle to understand and control the situation. The goal of fiction is to involve the reader, emotionally. Fail that and they never turn to page two. Here’s what Sol Stein has to say on that: “A novel is like a car—it won’t go anywhere until you turn on the engine. The “engine” of both fiction and nonfiction is the point at which the reader makes the decision not to put the book down. The engine should start in the first three pages, the closer to the top of page one the better.”

Think about it. Why would a reader care that a nameless “he” could feel beads of sweat collecting on his forehead,” when he doesn’t care enough to react to them. Obviously, it’s you noticing it rather than something he cares about, so it’s exactly as important to the story as had you mentioned that he scratched his a*s.

Story is what matters to him, why it matters, and what it causes him to do in response. Story happens in HIS viewpoint, not visual details or what you notice.

Think about life. From the moment of waking till sleep claims you, your life is an unending chain of cause and effect. Something catches your attention, and you respond in some way. And usually, that response determines what next has your attention:

Your alarm sounds, and you evaluate the situation and if you need to get out of bed. That necessity, or desire, drives you, first, to turn off the alarm or punch snooze, then… And that continues, motivation-by-motivation, response-by-response. Can your character live any differently and seem real? Can he seem real if we know his actions but not why he acts? Can the situation seem relevant to him if something is pointed out by someone not on the scene but he ignores it?

Go back to your school days. Did even a single teacher talk about tags, even to mentioning how to handle the punctuation? Did anyone mention why a scene ends in disaster for the protagonist, or why it must? Did they explain the significant differences between a scene on the page and one in the theater?

I ask because if you don’t know what a scene is, the progression, or the elements of a scene, how can you write one? In short, the reports and essays you wrote, and were trained in, made you pretty good at writing reports and essays, but that’s all. They didn’t teach you even the basics of the profession of Fiction-Writer, because professions are learned IN ADDITION to he skills of The Three R’s we’re given in school.

The solution? Simplicity itself. Pick up the skills that writers take for granted: the emotion-based and character-centric skills of writing fiction that entices the reader and raised their curiosity enough to say, “Hmm…tell me more.” Fail that and your audition lasts a paragraph or two and they never get to see the story.

Is that easy to do? The answer is that simple and easy aren’t interchangeable words. Learning the skills of any profession takes time, practice, and study. But given that your reader has been choosing only professionally written fiction in the library and bookstore, it is necessary. On the plus side, if you are meant to write, you’ll find the learning fun, like going backstage at the theater. And if not, you’ve learned something important, so it’s win/win.

So check out the fiction-writing section at the local library. It’s filled with what you need. And while you’re there, look for the names, Dwight Swain, James Scott Bell, Jack Bickham, or Debra Dixon on a book on fiction writing technique. Any one of them will give you the nuts-and-bolts issues of fiction. They won’t make a pro of you. That’s your job. But they will give you the knowledge and the tools with which to do it, if it’s in you.

As a kind of shortcut—a way to see the issues involved, and how different the tricks of fiction are from the nonfiction skills of your schooldays you might dig around in the articles of my writing blog. They’re written for the hopeful writer.

But whatever you do, hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/the-grumpy-old-writing-coach/

Posted 1 Week Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

JayG

1 Week Ago

Ir's not a matter of liking or not liking. That's a matter of taste. The techniques of writing ficti.. read more
Semaj

1 Week Ago

I wondered how long it took too judge.
JayG

1 Week Ago

Had this been s submission to an agent or publisher they would have stopped reading when it became e.. read more

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81 Views
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Shelved in 1 Library
Added on October 12, 2019
Last Updated on October 12, 2019
Tags: Divorce, Court, Suicide, Misandry, Traffic

Author

Jason Scott
Jason Scott

Holiday, FL



About
I enjoy short story writing. I welcome criticism. I simply want to share my writing. I initially started posting short stories on Facebook that I called "Snipits" Because they were VERY short in lengt.. more..

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