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Long Story: First Person Point-of-View

January 13, 2013

When using 1st person point-of-view in my high school short stories, I had to make sure my main character narrators had some of the same traits I did. But back then, we didn’t have personal computers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After I read the first couple paragraphs of “Long Story” aloud in my 10th grade English class, I could see several other students looking at each other quizzically.  I knew they were trying to figure out who the plain looking dumb girl with the sweet voice was.  I wanted to interrupt my reading and remind them, “This is fiction with first-person narration, you morons.  Everybody is made up!”

But that might have gotten me beat up after school, so I just kept on reading.


“Long Story”

By Jimmy Norman

Chapter One

The Girl with the Sweet Voice

My name is Danny Dornan, and I just fell in love with a girl’s voice.

Her name is Melinda, and I don’t think anybody else has ever noticed her or her voice.  She’s not a singer.  She’s not really nice looking.  She has glasses, long straight hair with pimples on her forehead, and her clothes are usually plain, and I don’t think she’s really smart.  When she gets called on in class, she stares vacantly for a moment before murmuring an answer that’s usually wrong.  For a long time I barely noticed her.  I just felt sorry for her when she got called on in math class because she always looked confused.

One day I was walking back to my desk after sharpening my pencil, when Melinda’s pencil box fell off her desk, and everything inside, pens, pencils, erasers, and markers scattered at my feet.  She sighed with that vacant look and then reluctantly began leaning forward to pick up her stuff.

“I’ll get that,” I said, kneeling next to her and gathering her materials.

“I don’t know why I keep this stupid box,” she said.  “My mom is too cheap to buy a new one.”

I had never heard Melinda’s real voice before.  When she had gotten called on in class, she was nervous and would mumble an answer.  But now she wasn’t nervous, and her voice was almost hypnotic.  I wanted to hear her some more.

“I keep my pens in my shirt pocket,”  I said proudly.

“Maybe I should try that,” she said, “but I don’t think my mom would buy me shirts with pockets.”

“Nerd love, nerd love,” some jock chanted, and a couple guys laughed.  If that had happened a few minutes earlier, I would have been embarrassed, but maybe they were right.  Maybe I was in love.  Except I didn’t think this girl was smart enough to be a nerd.

When I went back to my desk, the math teacher was calling on students to answer questions from today’s assignments.  Melinda stared at her book and at the chalkboard, but her sheet of paper was almost blank.  I copied my work really fast, folded it up, and flicked it to her while the teacher’s back was turned.  It was pretty slick for a nerd.

Maybe Melinda was expecting a love note because she had that blank stare while she read over the answers to that day’s assignment.  Finally, she compared the questions in the math book with the answers I had written for her, and she smiled at me.  She smoothed over the paper and placed it underneath her math book.

Copy the answers, you sweet-voiced dimwit, I thought.  I wanted to write her another note, but the teacher was monitoring the class while a student who knew what he was doing was writing a math answer on the board.

“Melinda, what is the answer to #8?” the math teacher asked.

She pulled out my note and said with confidence, “1,476,845,369,256,315,004,197.”

The whole class, including the teacher, was stunned.  Her voice was so confident, so heavenly.  It sent tingles down my spine.     I was proud and… and… in love.

I couldn’t wait to talk to her again.  After class, I caught up with her in the hallway.

“Thank you for helping me in class today,” she said.  “Nobody has ever done that for me before.”  Now she smelled good too.  At this rate, tomorrow she’d even be pretty.  But I didn’t care as long as I could hear her voice.

“Do you walk home?” I asked.  “I could carry your books.”  I’m not usually that direct, but her voice was forcing me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, like writing notes in class and helping another student cheat.

“Here,” she said, handing me a pink Josie and the Pussycats backpack stuffed with textbooks and folders and pencil boxes.  This was a lot of stuff for a girl who didn’t do her homework.

“Where do you live?” I asked.  I looked forward to hearing her voice, but I dreaded the possibility of a long walk with that heavy Pussycats backpack.

“Wade Street,” she answered.

Uh oh, I thought.  I hesitated, and then asked, “Is that North Wade Street or South Wade Street?”


Double uh oh, I thought.  This girl with the sweet voice was going to make my life a whole lot more dangerous.


To be continued in Long Story: The Curse Brothers.

From → Long Story

  1. Girls with sweet voices are ALWAYS trouble… 😉

  2. And I empathize with your frustration over POV.
    Anyway, great story, great cliffhanger. I want to read more.

  3. Can’t wait to read the second chapter ! 🙂 Great narrative 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Long Story: The Rough Draft | Dysfunctional Literacy

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