This prompt is the one that started the craze of writing I have been battling with for the past 45 days. I have made major modifications to Rose because this prompt sparked an idea, something that has seriously changed my book. Here's a link to my original blog post to see some of my thoughts on perspective-
After thinking heavily about perspective and POV in writing, I realized the the POV in Rose is convoluted and unclear. It randomly and unnecessarily switches from person to person, distracting the reader from what is happening in the story. It also lent me a writing crutch of telling what people are thinking, rather than using body language to communicate. So, I reevaluated what I was writing, and now I'm ready to show what perspective does to a story.
Here's a link to the original version of the chapter-
And here's the new version of the chapter!
“Fils, get back here! You will not walk out of this house!” Hubert shouted from his office.
Anger thickened my blood and I could feel it firing through my veins as I stomped down the stairs, purposefully making as much of a racket as the carpeted marble would allow.
I heard Mère’s soft steps following me. She grabbed my arm when I was halfway out the front door. “Please don’t do this. You know things are not going well for him.”
“I know, Mère, but I can’t have this discussion with him right now.”
“He’s just trying to become involved.”
“By drawing up plans for my future house with Violette?”
“He wants to help!”
“She’s not even seventeen yet! The deal was we’d get married after she turns twenty one. And after all these mortifying attempts to date her that always end in failure, why would I even want to marry her?”
“You don’t really mean that, do you?” Mère’s brown eyes glistened with worry as she pulled her arm away.
“I didn’t…Je suis désolé.” I sighed, the guilty weight of my anger pressing my shoulders down. “I’ll be back later. I just need some time to myself.”
“Phillippe…” she started to respond, bit her lip, then gave a slight wave which I took as her permission to leave.
Sammie’s engine purred to life as I revved the car out of the driveway and turned up the volume on the stereo. I made it three whole minutes before the sensation to gouge out my eyes had me pounding my fists on the steering wheel and groaning like an injured ox. Vi was impossible, just like my father. I still had four years before my life turned into one of those horrible nightmares that you can’t wake up from. Yet there was my father, presenting me with his plans for my future house nestled right between the two wineries, telling me all the details he thought out for us. It would be perfect for tours, with a large enough entryway that ran straight to the back where people could go see either vineyard and the newly constructed processing plant that would join the work of both companies together exactly as Hubert wanted. It was a good thing he didn’t show Stéfan the plans, because all they needed was another reason to argue.
Sighing, I relaxed my shoulders into the red leather seat and turned down the music, realizing the noise was only adding to my anxieties. I skipped through radio stations, looking for some calmer music, when my favorite song started to seep through the speakers. Vi always complained about my favorite band because they sang in English, which made no sense to me when we both had to learn English since we could talk. Both languages were part of the business, so why did it matter if I listened to music in English? She wasn’t my wife, yet.
I arrived at my destination, wishing it were sunny outside. It had been all week, but the grumpy fog that snuck in overnight seemed very fitting for the sour day I was having. I parked at the Château, just like I did two weeks ago, and wandered along the green grounds. There were way too many pear trees in Domfront. What if I couldn’t find the right one? What if she wasn’t here because last time wasn’t a regular occurrence? Why was I caring so much over some random fille?
Then I saw the tree. I knew it was that pear tree because of the long blond hair shielding her eyes, and a book covering the rest of her face. As I approached, I waited for her to look up and see me, even though it didn’t work last time. But something was off, so I stopped a few feet away. Her eyes were staring at the pages, but they were not moving. She wasn’t actually reading. Her knuckled were white from gripping the book, which I could now see was Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, so tightly. Then she slammed the book closed with a satisfying thunk and all but threw it at the ground.
“Ho! What did Dantès ever do to you?”
Her head jerked up. “Phillippe!” Her cheeks turned a lovely shade of pink. “How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough.” I sat down across from her. “Is something wrong?”
She sighed and looked away.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Would it help to talk about it?”
“I just watched you practically throw Le Comte de Monte-Cristo in frustration. Talk to me. I’m a surprisingly good listener.”
“Just some family issues.” She waved her hand in the air as if she could brush away the problems, then picked up her book and brushed off the dirt and grass.
“I know how that can be. Sometimes I get so frustrated with my family, but I don’t want to do anything rash, so I take some times to myself and get away from everything until I feel better. I don’t want to say something I’ll regret.”
She folded her arms, hugging the book to her chest.
“Oh.” Suddenly, I understood. “You already did something, and now you’re dealing with the regret.”
“Well, it’s not like I can just get away from the problem. I am the problem. So now I’m stuck here with my rash words and regrets gnawing away at me.”
“You don’t have to be. Take some time away.”
“I can’t just leave. I have a job here. Besides, I wouldn’t get very far walking.”
“Why would you have to walk anywhere? I’m here.”
“You’re going to carry me?”
Laughter rumbled out, and it took me a few seconds to realize it was my own. “Vraiment? How do you think I got here?”
She blinked at me.
“This whole town is enveloped in this old way of life. I have a car, Rose. Come on.”
She shook her head. “I can’t leave.”
“Why not? What else do you have to do, besides making Dantès feel guilty for more stuff he didn’t do?”
“Well, nothing. Today’s my day off.”
“Then let me take you away for just a little bit so you can clear your mind. You need to get away so you can clear your mind, otherwise you’re just going to keep beating up on yourself—and your book.”
She laughed a little.
“Allons-y.” I stood and held out my hand for her.
She tugged on her earlobe and looked down at her book. “I’ve never been outside of Domfront before.”
“We don’t have to go very far. Let me take you out to lunch. I know a place nearby.”
She nodded and took my hand, so I pulled her up. We walked back around the Château and into the parking lot in simple silence. I pulled out my keys, unlocked the car, and opened the passenger door. When Rose didn’t get in, I turned back to see what was wrong, and instead I almost had to catch her eyes as they popped out of her head.
“You didn’t tell me you were rich.”
Mentally, I banged my head against a wall, repeatedly. I knew there was something I overlooked. What was I thinking? Of course this is how Rose would react when her family is so poor that she’s spent years working to send money to help her family. I shoved my hands into my pockets. “Yeah…well, my parents are. Is that okay?” Having spent my entire life surrounded by the obnoxiously wealthy, I forgot that Black and Red Bugatti Veyron’s were abnormal. I told Hubert when he bought it that it was too much. Then I realized that Rose had been laughing at me for about twenty seconds. “What?”
“I’ve never seen something so expensive in my life. Are you sure you want me anywhere near this thing? I was taught not to touch things I couldn’t afford.”
“Well, let me go get the towel out of the trunk for you to sit on so you don’t ruin the leather. It’s custom.” Now it was my turn to laugh at her raised eyebrows. “I was kidding! You’re fine. My dad is kind of a snob about cars, but I don’t really care. On a serious note, you are absolutely not allowed to touch the door handles because only I will open your door.”
“You don’t have to do that. That’s ridiculous.”
“I insist. See, my mother taught me this foreign concept called manners and I promised I would use them.” I opened her door with an extravagant flourish. “Mademoiselle.”
She rolled her eyes but still cautiously slid into the seat, making sure to keep her back off the leather and her hands on her purse in her lap.
I ran around to my side of the car and climbed in. “You know you have to put your seatbelt on, right?”
She looked around confused, then found the belt and latched it over herself. “Sorry. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a car.”
Starting the engine, I quickly turned off the stereo as a habit. It was only on when I was alone in the car. After two minutes in utter silence, I glanced back over at Rose. Her back still hadn’t touched the seat, and only one hand had strayed from her purse to her earlobe, which she was rubbing and pulling incessantly. “Relax, Rose. It’s not like I’m going to kidnap or murder you. How fun would that be? It’s too messy and then I’d have no one to eat lunch with.”
The look on her face was priceless. “That’s not why I’m nervous, but maybe it should be. I barely know you.”
“Well, you know my name, and you know that I’m a rich snob. What more do you need to know?”
She half laughed. “I’ve never been outside of Domfront before. Everyone’s always told me not to because the world is dangerous. And here I am, sitting in a car with someone I don’t know, heading out into the dangerous world.”
“You really think that going ten minutes outside of Domfront will kill you?”
“How should I know? I’ve never been anywhere else.”
“Why do you think the world is this big scary place?”
“Because…” she trailed off, eyebrows scrunched together, then finally slouched back against the seat. “I guess because everyone always told me it was.”
I chuckled, realizing that some people really are naïve. “Well, here we are.” The car rolled into the parking lot and to a stop in front of the large white restaurant, Auberge de la Mine. When I helped Rose out of the car, she stared at the vines dotting the wall. It reminded me of some of the buildings in Domfront, so I hoped that would put her at ease. I held open the door and escorted her inside, where we were slammed with a wall of smells I couldn’t identify. The way Rose was concentrating, I wondered if she could. I talked to the hostess, while Rose stared off to the back of the restaurant. Waitresses carried trays of chocolate desserts and entrées across the room to the spotless white-clothed tables. As I looked around, I was less impressed than Rose. It was not as formal as I remembered, but it would do considering Rose and I were both wearing jeans. Casual clothing would not do for the restaurants I was accustomed to.
Rose started to wander, probably carried by the smells, so I put a hand on her arm to keep her from straying. Then the hostess led us to our table, and I had to practically drag Rose to her seat, which I pulled out for her. When the waitress listed off the specialties, I knew Rose wasn’t paying attention, so I ordered for her after a half-nod of approval. When the waitress handed us the wine menu, I quickly dismissed it. Wine was the last thing I needed to be reminded of right now, especially since I could see one of the Chevalier family’s specialties on the front. Rose had already learned I was rich, she didn’t need to know why. After a few moments of silence, our first course arrived.
“This is just the first course? Maybe I should have paid attention when you ordered.”
I just smiled as we both dug in. Three courses later, the desserts arrived.
“Phillippe, this is too much.”
“Non! This is my treat. I needed to get away as much as you did, so please just enjoy it.” And from what I could tell, she was enjoying it. If she had never been to a restaurant this nice before, what other things had she not yet experienced?
“So what does your family do that you can afford all of this?”
“Ah, some old family business that my father runs.”
“And you don’t want to get stuck following in his footsteps?” She guessed.
“What? Non! I love the family business. It’s like a distant relative you can’t help but love unconditionally. I’m honored to take control when the time comes. There are...other stipulations from my parents that I need a break from. I don’t really like thinking about it, but I’ll do anything for the company.” Those bittersweet words were frustratingly true. I couldn’t just let the winery die because I didn’t like Vi. “What about you? What made you unjustly throw your book, like Villefort threw Dantès in prison?”
“My family came to visit last week.” She sighed, pushing food around on her plate with her fork. Then words began to spill out. “I never get to see them. My sisters grew up without me and I have no idea what they are like. I don’t even know what my dad is doing for work right now. I got upset because I don’t feel like part of the family and I said some mean things. The worst part is that I never apologized. I just need to keep myself working in my aunts’ shop so my parents can have the money.”
“Well I think working is a good way to show them that you are sorry and you still care.” We smiled, then continued to finish our desserts as we reached an unspoken agreement to not mention our families again. I didn’t have to ask if she was enjoying her chocolate gâteau, adorned with fresh strawberries. Her eyes reflected everything she felt, just like the mood reflects the sunlight. They really were the color of the moon on a clear night, so gray and bright, but they would cloud up when she was feeling bad, like they had been earlier.
Then the check arrived and I had to redirect my attention.
“How much did this cost?” she asked through a mouthful of chocolate.
“Don’t worry about it, it’s my treat.”
“Just let me see it.”
“Absolutely no. It isn’t gentlemanly of me to let you think about the check.”
“You can’t pay for all of this.”
“I always pay for all of my dates.”
“This isn’t a date!”
I was only slightly disappointed by her adamant protests. “Okay but you still can’t see how much it cost.”
She sighed, rolled her eyes, and finished her last bite of gâteau.
After the check was paid, I escorted her back to my car, and we headed off. When we arrived back at the Château, we walked back to her tree, arm in arm. “Now you can’t say you’ve never left Domfront, so next time will be easier.”
“Next time?” Her eyebrows scrunched together again.
“Next time you need to get away for a bit.”
“What makes you think there’ll be a next time?”
“I’ll answer that next time.” Then I turned and ran off, hearing her sweet laughing behind me.
What do you think? Did perspective change things for you?