News Feed Forums Harry’s Feedback Friday Feedback Friday 17th November: Scene Structure 'Minding' Friday Feedback Exercise 17th Nov

  • 'Minding' Friday Feedback Exercise 17th Nov

    Posted by Bill Gall on 17 November 2023 at 11:42

    Andy, 18 is awaiting his ‘A-Level’ results. He is interviewed by ‘Zac’ for a job as a playleader (role: to keep children occupied during the long summer holidays). At Zac’s office, he meets receptionist Zoe. She’s unusual but not Andy’s type (piercings; a tattoo; blonde) but intriguing. She drives him and his two, ‘helpers’ to the playscheme venue. In the car, she laughs at his probing about her ‘husband’ Zac. After dropping him off, she leaves. He’s disappointed.

    The book is, ‘Minding’ – a comic, dramatic, romantic novel.


    Zoe left. She had other non-drivers to ferry to their destinations. I felt abandoned, but Maurice distracted me from wallowing in the exquisite ache. He dangled something from his finger.

    ‘What’s this?’

    ‘The door keys.’

    I looked at them then him.

    ‘You’re in charge.’

    I was eighteen, he was seventeen, Helen was sixteen. I was in charge. Blimey.

    I sensed something and turned to see Zoe silhouetted in the doorway.

    She beckoned.

    I followed.

    Outside, on the footpath she stretched, lacing her fingers, then cracking them above her head.

    ‘You gonna to be OK?’

    I shrugged. ‘I either will, or I won’t.’

    She closed one eye.

    ‘I’ll be fine.’

    ‘How old are you?’

    [Random question…] ‘eighteen.’
    ‘You seem older.’
    My reaction was annoyingly transparent though she did not rush to say, ‘not in a bad way. You don’t look older. You seem more mature’ [seriously?] ‘…level-headed…stable for an eighteen year old’. She paused.

    ‘Those two are keen; I’m sure you’ll cope. By the way. Don’t make assumptions about Zac – the icky moustache and pipe and his smelly tuna sandwiches – the disaster he calls his office – he’s a really top bloke.’
    ‘I know. I like him.’
    ‘Well, I love him. Very much’ [drat!] ‘always will. But we’re not married.’
    ‘No sign of wedding bells then?’
    ‘No and I don’t see him “popping the question” either. You never know with Zac, though. He’s full of surprises.’
    ‘Not really. We’re better off just living together, believe me.’
    This was becoming the norm in the ’70s. No more faffing around “having” to get married…
    ‘He’s my brother.’

    Now, I probably imagined the next bit, but one of two things, maybe both, happened. First, she got a vampire’s grip on my shoulders and kissed me firmly on the cheek – and I’m sure she lingered over it.

    Second, I distinctly heard, “…a couple of Kooks, hung up on romancing…” as she headed back to her car. I floated into the hall on top of a small cloud. Handy as my entire body was deflating. The kiss continued to throb on my cheek. I’d been branded. Next time I attempted a beard, no hair would grow on that lip-shaped spot. I fixed my expression to preserve the sensation; stop it melting away in the sunshine.

    Maurice and Helen were unpacking the boxes and setting up tables. A small cassette player was playing loudly.

    It was Hunky Dory.

    • This discussion was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Bill Gall. Reason: spelling error
    Bill Gall replied 1 week, 4 days ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Sophie Ebeling

    17 November 2023 at 12:54

    Hi Bill,

    Really enjoyed the dialogue here and it felt very natural.

    I was a bit confused at times (but have never read anything of yours before) – I wasn’t sure if Zoe or Andy are saying Zach is their brother? I didn’t get why they were talking about marriage if Zoe’s his sister. I might have misunderstood though!

  • bridget king

    17 November 2023 at 13:01

    Hi Bill. That was fun and the humour really appealed to me. Nice use of “hunky dory” at the end. I think you might have managed this in fewer words with a bit of editing here and there but I really liked it.

    • Bill Gall

      18 November 2023 at 14:32

      Thanks Bridget – I appreaciate that. The whole book needs to be edited a
      lot lot more. My natural style is expansive bordering on verbal
      diarrhea! However, some of the humour comes from drawing out a line when
      it could be much shorter. This story grew without much of a plot but that emerged in the writing. So a lot of what’s still there is a series of scenes describing what the three main protagonists are like and what shaped them.

      Thanks again.


  • Anthony Balkwill

    17 November 2023 at 14:36

    Hi Bill,

    Fast-paced, sometimes a bit hard to follow who is saying what. Be careful about quoting directly from lyrics. You could get the rights-holder complaining unless you get permission to quote and it’s almost impossible to get permission! You can quote indirectly by paraphrasing though, eg The thin white duke was warbling about a pair of hung up Kooks and their romantic entanglement… And they can’t touch you.

    • Bill Gall

      18 November 2023 at 14:24

      Thanks Anthony – Much appreciated and I take the point about the lyrics! (I also quote, ‘didn’t know what time it was, the lights were low’) which precisely describes Andy’s confusion when he wakes up but, again, i could get on the wrong end of a lawsuit. I’ll be reviewing the situation…

  • Bill Gall

    18 November 2023 at 14:21

    Thanks Sophie, I really appreciate the feedback. This is the problem though of an extract; Andy had noticed that Zac and Zoe have the same unusual surname (Zblata) when he went for interview, so put two and two together. But he is her brother (step brother to be precise) and, the story reveals later why she loves him so much.

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