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We-Write #10: The Manor House by mgaft1

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· @mgaft1 · (edited)
$21.22
We-Write #10: The Manor House
@zeldacroft
@FreeWriteHouse

<a href="https://steemit.com/wewrite/@freewritehouse/we-write-10-the-manor-house-last-week-s-winners-announced">Contest Assignment</a> 
<hr>

Boy, this wasn't an easy assignment!  I wish I'd be given more time, but I will be busy this weekend so this would have to suffice. In this assignment, I had to split the prompt so if you don't like it throw a rotten tomato in my direction.  I won't say anything  &#128566;

https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/5ca233104bbe6f5937656e6c/960x0.jpg?


<a href="https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/5ca233104bbe6f5937656e6c/960x0.jpg?"> Picture source</a>

>“I can’t believe we’re here!” Clara gushed, gazing at the manor house. Its front steps were preceded by carefully-laid stone, centered around a magnificent fountain. Tourists bustled around eagerly with their cameras and visitor pamphlets as the two sisters joined them.
>
>“It says here that tours start every hour in the Grand Gallery,” said Kelly, holding up the guidebook. Clara was too busy admiring the variety of flowers that adorned the area, from the climbing vines near the elegant windows to the lush bushes around the stone path. So Kelly went back to her reading, but with a smile. It was nice to see that the manor was already living up to Clara’s expectations.

<h2> My text start from here</h2> 

Сlara’s expectations… Surely they were something to consider. Clara worked in a fancy hair salon and was a good professional hairdresser, but this wasn’t why she was given big tips from her clients. She was a master communicator. That doesn’t mean she had graduated from a university with that major. She had that combination of seeming sincerity and good humor that entertained clients and made them feel comfortable to speak their minds with her and sometimes even ask her to give them advice in matters of big importance. She was like that hollow in a tree to whom king Midas trusted his shameful secret with the difference that the hollow was also flattering and entertaining. That communication talent brought Clara to the pinnacle of peer popularity and she would enjoy its warm radiation amply if not for Mildred Trenton. 

Mildred was another popular hairdresser in Clara’s salon and she and Clara had competed in everything: who is more beautiful, who wears more elegant jewelry, has a better car, a richer boyfriend, who was in an expensive restaurant and so on. One category of such competition was travel. "Ha,” Clara declaimed curling her upper lip and imitating Mildred “she bought a thousand dollars dress” and then returning to her natural voice “…big deal! I was on a cruise and you have no idea how great it was! Top class! What food, what service, and the evening dancing. There was one dancer there - a real master of his craft. Elegant like a grand piano. And, imagine this, of all the beauties on board, he chose me.” Clara gave her audience a look of a victory”, “Because he noticed something special in me: culture, grace, romanticism. Oh, what a partner he was. I was just flying - didn't even expect this from myself, truly."

When Clara came to work last Monday, everybody only talked about the mansion that she visited; about magnificent gardens, flowerbeds and fountains, about huge beautiful rooms, luxurious furniture, statues, and ornamentation. Clara was stabbed. The interest of the entire community was so genuine; the story had so much momentum that she was apprehensive to belittle Mildred’s adventure for the fear to be seen as a groundless gossiper. Clara realized that she didn’t have anything in her arsenal to sway the momentum in the opposite direction. “If you can’t beat them, join them,” she remembered a phrase heard from Kelly. She tried to smile, but not liking what she saw in the mirror, she got a hold of herself and adjusted the smile to the most sincere and charming, and having it on her face went to congratulate Mildred. 

‘It’s ok,’ she thought, ‘We’ll see who will have the last laugh, missy! I am going to call Kelly. She always goes to see those old dusty mansions. I bet she’s taking me to the one that would beat Mildred’s’
During the break, she indeed called Kelly, explained to her the emergency that happened in the salon and told her that she also wanted to see a mansion. 

Kelly laughed. “You want to see what?”

“A mansion.”

“But for that, you’d have to go to America.”

“Why? We have mansions in England. Mildred just visited one.”

“Perhaps Mildred visited a manor.”

“Mansion, manor – what’s the difference?”

“Well, a manor is an older Anglo-Norman word and mansion is that word that invaded English together with the French nobility, gentry, and clergy of William the Conqueror.”

“Well, everybody knows that,” Clara retorted, “but you can still say these words interchangeably.” 

“Yes and no.  Although mansions and manors are both physical houses, usually large houses with many bedrooms, a manor generally refers to the house of land owning gentry, while as mansion tends to be used more in America where they owned by rich people but of indistinguishable birth or origin. As they say ‘Two countries separated by the common language’” Kelly laughed.

“Oh, Kelly, you are always so particular about these silly things. I also read it somewhere, but I am a person of more democratic persuasion. You know what I mean…”

“I sure do”, Kelly was still smiling, “what do you want to do sis?”

“Can you take me to see a manor this weekend? Only please make sure it is better than the one Mildred visited.”

“Better? In what sense better?”

“Come on sis. Stop pretending! I need the one that is more prestigious, of course. The one that has prettier gardens, more flowers, more rooms, more statures, more ornaments.”

“Ok, sis” Kelly laughed again, “I think I know exactly what you want. We can go there next weekend. But we’d have to spend the entire day on it.  It’s a couple of hours drive.”

“That’s ok. You know I am between boyfriends now. So my weekend schedule is absolutely free for you, sis”

“Ok, then. Don’t tell me then that you can’t make it because you have to go to the date.”

“Don’t worry sis, I am between boyfriends, and I’ll be in your complete disposal.”
Kelly right away knew where to take her sis as she visited all the famous manors in England and have been there many times. She actually felt happy that this time Clara would go with her. Now, she didn’t have illusions that her “airhead” sister would understand what those visits meant to her. Still, she loved the time to spend with Clara as her energy, even directed to an “unworthy” in Kelly’s opinion causes, was invigorating and her comments made Kelly laugh. More importantly, she felt warm, mothering her nutty little sister around.

Perhaps this was a consequence of them being born in different years and months, but unlike Clara, Kelly was a more reserved child. That is not to say that she was shy for she valued a good substantial conversation, but she didn’t feel the need for attention from everybody, just from some special people. Kelly indeed loved to travel, visit museums and watch historical places and by large she did it not to impress anyone. She didn’t hide that hobby of hers and could discuss it at length with a suitable person, but at the same time, she didn’t impose it on anyone and more so didn’t brag about it. With Kelly, it was far more than just a desire to travel. Being of an ethical-sensory type of person, she needed to be filled with smells, tastes, the colors of the sky and the roughness of the road under her feet, gloomy view of Gothic castles, and levity of Pompadour style curvatures.  This was a condition of her life; it replenished the reserves of her soul. That was the only way she could exist.

Once she was able to convince her husband Harry to accompany her for a trip to the continent and was surprised to hear all kinds of complaints. The complaints were about the absence of escalators in Paris’ subway and dirty water in the Seine. The complaints about too many people riding bicycles on the tram lines in Amsterdam, on Milan being too expensive, the theatre La Scala too small, on everything in Venice being old and about to fall apart. 

“I don’t get it” Harry mused, “why can’t you be in one place as if you seat on a needle!”

“If you don’t understand it yourself I cannot explain it.  A couch potato won’t understand an asphalt gorger.”

How could Kelly explain to him that only being away from home, she felt that she was herself, separated from her everyday mundane existence, allowing her temporarily suspend dull emptiness and make her senses glut with new colors, sounds, and touches? Away from home walking the same brick road as Roman legionnaires, rowing the Viking’s boats, to be part the invasion force of William the Conjurer, stand in the crowd screaming their demands to a king John immortalized in Magna Carta. While on the road she felt, as she was a particle of a different - dynamic and vibrant world rather than just a cooking device in her kitchen. 

After that European trip, Harry gave up on accompanying Kelly to her trips, and spent his free time in the local pub with his friends, discussing the parliament bills and the latest game of Chelsea versus Manchester United.
Kelly waved the bang of that fell, obstructing her eyesight, preventing her from reading the tour brochure.
“Look at these ducks!” Clara exclaimed smiling joyously. “I don’t recall Mildred talking about duck swimming in the fountain in her manor!”

<h2> The prompt ending </h2>

>After a brief distraction by a duck swimming in the fountain, the sisters quickly made their way inside. As they mounted the marble stairs, Clara’s excitement became tangible, an emanation of joy that merged with the curiosity of the other tourists.

<h2> My continuation... </h2>

Following the tourist crowd, the sisters entered the Grand Gallery that accepted confluence of their dancing spirits, screening them temporarily from, the screeching like the poorly greased slowly turning wheel, the daily routine of life.
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@curie ·
Congrats on a Curie vote!
Hi mgaft1,
<div class="pull-right">
https://steemitimages.com/DQmXgrYG8AKimJKRSu2urPB5SPcftN6GCGx2gVJJMwBkuTu/Curie%20Logo%2075px.png
</div>
This post  has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed).  Have a great day :) <br>
 
Visit <a href="http://curiesteem.com/">curiesteem.com</a> or join the <a href="https://discord.gg/G6RPUMu">Curie Discord community</a> to learn more.
👍  , ,
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@mgaft1 ·
Wow! Thank you!
👍  
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@road2horizon ·
hey dear @mgaft1, great story! I find it not at all easy to set two pieces of a story :-)) keep on and congratulations on your curie vote
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@mgaft1 ·
Thank you so much! Appreciate your interest and kind words.  There are several people here who are writing a story from a prompt every week.  So your praise spread to them as well. ))) 

I actually find it an interesting exercise and great for writers who came to a block in their on writing.  It puts you in a situation where you normally wouldn't go with your imagination on your own, and places demands on you to solve sort of a puzzle extending on the clues given in prompts.  

This one wasn't an easy one.  It had only one discernable character clues as one of the sisters not just came to visit and had fun, but came with expectations.  So I started to develop this particular line of narrative hoping it will take me to some substantial plot.  But I was wrong. ))) The pot in that story didn't really work itself out.  Still, I had fun developing characters so thank goodness for that. 

Thank you again!

Cheers
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@iamsaray ·
Hello Hello!

It seems splendid to me that you have at least a time of dedication so you can write on Steemit and you do it very well :)

Greetings from Venezuela!
👍  ,
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vote details (2)
@mgaft1 ·
Thank you kindly!  

Yes, it isn't easy, especially with this particular prompt.   It didn't have any kind of easy hook as in the previous prompts.   The only thing it had was that one of the sisters was more flamboyant and the other one more reserved.  Such a prompt is asking for several possible developments.  The spooky one.  Somebody is following the girls because they know some sort of key piece of information.  But that line falls apart after close consideration for why did "the evil beings" needed to approach them particularly in the museum?

The other obvious line is that the girls are related to some of the historic owners of the manor.  And in the museum, they find some sort of evidence and blah, blah, blah...  However, this type of narrative requires substantial research to sound authentic.   For example, there is a video on Youtube that traces English royal families. It asserts that since Windsors usurped the throne sometimes in (I think 18 century or so) the true royal hair lives in Australia, has his own farm and is entirely democratic in his political persuasions.  The bottom line is that one can fake this and write something approximate.  But I don't like hacks.  )))

So I decided to write a purely character-driven story.  That is - one sister being shallow flamboyant kind and another one reserved, ethical-sensory type and a bookworm, and see where it will take me.  

And...lol.. it didn't take me far.  This story doesn't have a real full-fledged plot.  O'well.  Can't get them all. )))
👍  
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@iamsaray ·
Well, I understand the point you want to reach, it is a hard thing to get the story to have the light plot that everyone wants to read, the writers do a lot of research to create a much more realistic story, that is somewhat complicated to achieve but you are doing very all right :)
👍  ,
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@owasco ·
Nice job with the prompt! It could have gone so many ways, and the entries were very very different from each other. Yours gave a back story to the visit. Great idea, nicely done! 
👍  ,
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@mgaft1 ·
Thank you!  I am yet to read everybody else's stories.  For me, this wasn't a very easy prompt.  I saw three possible ways to continue: the spooky one, the ancestral one, and astral travel one, or a combination of those.  But following mentally through with each of these plotlines, I found some inherent flaws or too much research needed to be done to produce something authentic.  

The prompt presented only one real character hook - it is when Clara had certain expectations.  That was the avenue that I took and tried to open up with the narrative, hoping that it will lead me to some sort of comprehensible plot.  It really didn't and in terms of plot, this story of mine is deficient.  So I was lucky to get Curie vote simply based on character development.  But who said that life is fair? This time lady luck was on my side. )))
👍  
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@owasco ·
Both the @curie and @therising were well deserved. Congrats! 
👍  ,
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@marcybetancourt ·
Hi. First I would like to make an observation about we-write / freewritehouse. I find it fascinating what they have achieved. Many people have written in this "contest", I don't know if it really is a contest; But the truth is that they have motivated many people to write fiction narrative and that is spectacular. For that I congratulate @zeldacroft and @FreeWriteHouse

The following is your narration @mgaft1. I feel you achieved a great story. Even when the character Clara is not well defined according to my appreciation.

It is complicated to write the continuation of a text that is not yours. 
It is complicated because the rupture of narrative style is observed.

Your proposal of two endings is genial and the first time I see it. Or an ending with then, you understand ..

Anyway, good work and it was a pleasure to have read you @mgaft1
👍  ,
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@mgaft1 ·
Hi  @marcybetancourt,

Thank you for such a substantial comment and I am glad you enjoyed the story in general.

It is called the contest because @zeldacroft appoints a winner and the winner gets some extra N steam dollars.  This is not the only such contest on Steemit as there are also @bananafish and @afdsactly contests run on the same premise.  That is not to say that this contest is of any lesser value.  I personally enjoy participating in it.  But if I were to post this story elsewere I would definitely change the beginning so that style would be consistent.

My story doesn't have two endings.  I simply broke the prompt in two chunks because I needed to accentuate the fact that Clara had "expectations" about this visit to the Maner House.  From there the story plot could go several directions, but I found this being the only character hook and started to build my development from here.  From that point in the prompt, I actually build the story not forward, but backward into pre-history direction.  I hope it is clear that having gone through this manor excursion Clara will come back to her salon and suck it to Mildred. )))

In my story, Clara is a shallow person, seeking much attention and trying to assume a primadonna position in the little place where she worked.  I've met hundreds of people like this. )))  

The story didn't end up having a very well pronounced plot and this is its definite flaw.  Should I have more time I would definitely work it out to more substantial plot development.

Thanks again,
Cheers!
👍  
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@marcybetancourt ·
Ok. I re-read and now I understand my misinterpretation of two endings. And I also understand Clara's character better.
Actually, these contests are very good because they encourage writing but many times the speed of submission time limits the stories.
I value your honesty and clarity as a writer
👍  
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@justjoy ·
I like the final sentence..............screeching.....poorly greased...........slow........routine!
Fortunately, as in the travels of your characters, life sometimes 'runs on oiled wheels'. 
What a relief.
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@mgaft1 · (edited)
That's true.  Sometimes it unexpectedly jerks forward and sometimes it goes smoothly.   I asked many ladies on the Rusian site why do they like traveling.  The general consensus was approximately the same as in my last sentence,  That's why I ended it up like that. )))


By the way, I used in this story one of the words that I learned from you,  the word "glut." In the following sentence...So thank you!

>How could Kelly explain to him that only being away from home, she felt that she was herself, separated from her everyday mundane existence, allowing her temporarily suspend dull emptiness and make her senses <strong>glut</strong> with new colors, sounds, and touches?
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@delishtreats ·
There are so many various ways to finish the story that I could think of but I keep being surprised that each person attending the contest takes a turn that I wouldn't expect :) 

I would however still like to hear Clara talking about the experience at work and see if it was really better or not :) Must be difficult to work in such a competitive environment... 

Thank you for sharing and have a lovely day!
👍  
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vote details (1)
@mgaft1 ·
Thank you!

Yesh, there are as many ideas as there are people.  I, for one thing, wouldn't want to hear what went on in Clara's office as it is quite predictable.  )))
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@darthgexe ·
Oh God how it was possible that you broke the promt in two parts, make a double continuation and everything looks homogeneous, you did a great job
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@mgaft1 ·
Thanks a lot for reading and commenting!  

I broke it in two because it suited my narrative. ))) My main character hook in the prompt was at the point where it was stated that Clara had "expectations."  That's why I started to develop the narrative right from this point.  Then I simply included the remaining part where it fitted the best.  )))

Cheers
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@free-reign ·
Great job!  I don't have any problem with rearranging the prompt.   Seems that would fit in with the creative aspect as long as the entire prompt is included.  You handled that well a few weeks ago too.  I like it!

Congrats on the Curie!
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@mgaft1 ·
Thanks a lot!  

I'm generally is too lazy to rearrange the prompt and do it only for a reason of big gravity.   In this case, the character hook - that is the statement that Clara had some expectations - was at the end of the second paragraph and that's where I started to develop the narrative using this hook.  The remaining purely situational piece of prompt I put where it was appropriate.  :)

Cheers!
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@mariita52 ·
Wow, good twist to divide the story.
You achieved another totally original and authentic one.
Congrats on a Curie vote!
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@mgaft1 · (edited)
Thank you!

Yeah.  I was lucky on the Curie vote...

I've already explained to another friend my motivations in slicing the prompt.  So I will just copy my explanation below. )))

I'm generally is too lazy to rearrange the prompt just for the fun of it and do it only for a reason of big gravity. In this case, the character hook - that is the mentioning that Clara had some "expectations" about visiting the manor - was at the end of the second paragraph and that's where I started to develop the narrative using that hook. The remaining purely situational piece of prompt I put where it was most appropriate. :)  

Cheers!
👍  
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