‘Herself In Love’ by Marianne Wiggins

Wiggins, Marianne 1987

Herself In Love by Marianne Wiggins, 1988

The magic trick:

Putting the reader in the mindset of the protagonist by starting the story with a set of funny but cynical generalizations about women and relationships

Here is our third story of the week with ties to Niagara Falls, my favorite place on Earth. And this is a great story.

The first four paragraphs set the tone. The narration begins in generalizations. Women do this. Men are like that, and this is how women feel about it. Big statements about love and relationships. Then suddenly the eye focuses and the narrator tells the story of one specific relationship. It’s an interesting transition.

The result is the reader enters the story with a skeptical eye toward this relationship. We’re assuming the worst and waiting for the other shoe to drop. In other words, we’re in exactly the same frame of mind as the character of herself. And that’s quite a trick on Wiggins’s part.

The selection:

Herself had had that kind of bliss and “You can keep it” was her attitude. Herself had said “No more.” No more love for her. No more love for her. No more staring pie-eyed at the farthest wall, no more starving, no more feasting, no more fast breaks from routine. The work at hand was far too arduous a menos de amor. The work at hand was Living:

In walked Killebrew.

What do you think about this story? As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.


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