Lately, I’ve been fascinated by how many times people will say “we” when they really mean “I”. There’s the courtly “royal we”, the Borg-like hive mind “we”, the “you and what army? we”, etc. So, for a challenge, write your story in the first-person plural.
Think about who would be using the plural first-person. What are they hiding about themselves? What are they telling? How many is the “we” including: one, two, or hundreds? And, for fun, just notice how naturally or unnaturally this “we” comes to you when writing.
Fleet is an avid fanficcer and smut lover who enjoys playing with long-held ideas and figuring out how to break them into something new. Zie loves Batman/DC Comics, writing, reading, music, and puns.
Y’all can find zir on Twitter (sometimes) at @FleetSparrow; on Substack (rarely) at fleetsparrow.substack.com; and on ArchiveOfOurOwn (often) under the name, you guessed it, FleetSparrow.
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21 thoughts on “Day 17- You got a mouse in your pocket? by Fleet Sparrow”
I’m checking in late, but I’m here, I’m determined, and though normally I’d beat myself up about not completing something on time, I’m simply enjoying the prompts as I’m able to catch up.
This prompt took a rare sci-fi turn and it felt right. Note to self: consider revisiting and fleshing this out a bit.
Chronically late commenter Auti here again~
This one was another new experience for me, I found myself writing about the situation I was in at that time- riding the bus. The “we” was the people riding the bus, who are bound together by many unspoken shared agreements, and even some for our collective good, and it wasn’t a story so much as a meditation on bus drivers, and especially the ones who are actively making the road a kinder, more functional place, like the one I had yesterday.
Completed day 17✔️. Yay!
Day 17 in the books!
Yet another 100-word story from me. This prompt was super interesting, but not something I had an idea for that would fit in a longer piece. So, very short and slightly haunting story from the POV of a twin speaking for her sister too was the result.
Day 17 ✔️
This provided some exciting possibilities for a story. I ended up with a 750-word start and outline for a story about a man trying to escape a cursed existence as a werewolf.
When I began this month of prompts, I hadn’t written much and wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. These exercises have revealed a preference for dark stories, sci-fi, and what I would call golden-age Hollywood horror. It is so exciting to get a feel for my genre preferences!
May 17 2023
We spin around around around until I’m not sure which parts are me anymore. We try to make decisions but can never come to an agreement. I am sick of you, but I can never get rid of you. We are forever stuck inside this body, and sometimes I wonder if you really are a separate soul rather than just a voice in my head, here to argue with me or degrade me until the end of time. We are not the same, but no one else can see that. You give me pieces I don’t want and reputations I didn’t choose. When I take the little pill before I sleep, I can kill you for a time, and I sleep and I dream and it’s purely me. I am floating through a whole different continuum of life, free of you and all your judgments. You, who I am not sure where you got your ideas from. You, who hold me back every day. So I wake up and we spin around around around until I’m not sure which parts are me anymore.
Wrote a story about a mother using the word “we” (implying your father and I) when disciplining the kids to show a united front. This continues on when the children are grown and “she”disapproves of what they are doing.
A new person, Shawna Lynn, who had been at our last art sale, had decided to join us at our weekly painting session. Although she didn’t seem to know what she was doing with the paints she brought, what did that matter, everybody has to start someplace. She had brought her husband, who was sitting in the overstuffed chair in a corner of the room. He’d get up and walk around but he didn’t really go anywhere. Our meetings were in the large room of a library where we set tables and chairs up and painted for three hours. Every few months we’d hang new paintings and have a sale. We’d sell quite a few. Many were of the local mountain scenery.
“What smells so bad?”we began asking each other. We didn’t figure it out then.
We’d brought snacks and planned to eat them during the regular 15 minute break we took mid-meeting. “What happened to the cookies?”we all asked. We’d been so busy painting we didn’t notice the snacks were gone until we’d gotten up from our spots at the tables where we had our art supplies set up. No answer from Shawna Lynn or her husband. She continued to sit and paint and he was sitting in the corner chair like nothing had happened.
After we’d packed up our supplies at noon and folded and put the tables and chairs away, we noticed that we were $20 short of what we needed to pay the librarian for the use of the room. We each chipped in $10 each week. Shawna Lynn and her husband should have paid. “Oh, well, maybe they didn’t understand they both needed to contribute,” we agreed. “If they show up next week, we’ll let them know. We’ll also remind Shawna Lynn to wipe the paint off the floor under the table where she sat.” (We’re all seniors and it’s enough for us to clean up our own mess without having to clean up after others).
The following week Shawna Lynn brought her big dog as well as her husband, which ran nonstop back and forth across the library nearly knocking over paint carts. We knew we’d need to ask her not to bring her dog without offending her. People are so touchy about their dog babies these days. “Can you please inform the woman with the dog who joined us today that dogs aren’t allowed in the library?”we asked the librarian.
“Oh, I’m not getting in the middle of that,” she said. “You know how people are about their fur babies.”
“Yes, we have dogs ourselves, but we don’t bring them to a painting group at the library,” we said.
The librarian shrugged her shoulders. What happened to quiet libraries, we wondered.
Oh well, we thought. At least we’d had the foresight to keep the snacks hidden this time until our break. Which kind of worked. That is, until the food was set out and the dog made a beeline for it, knocked down half of it (he especially liked the homemade cookies), but half of it was saved before he could destroy it all. Shawna Lynn’s husband just laughed at the dog’s antics but she had her head down. She did lift it up long enough to stuff her face, though, as did her husband.
They did not pay their share ($20) this week, either.
The following week Shawna Lynn didn’t bring her husband, but she did bring two toddling grandchildren, cute girls, along with the dog. Must we say how that turned out? Sorry to have to leave the library meeting place after that, we decided to have our group meet once a week at our homes. We didn’t let Shawna Lynn know where we met. Later on, when we visited the library to hang our paintings in anticipation of our next show, as we sat in the comfortable chair in the corner and had to get up because of its terrible stench, we realized where that odor we’d smelled had come from.
My story turned into an Interview. I didn’t tell it from the we-perspective throughout, but interviewing my problematic couple helped to shed light on where they only pretend to be a “we” and where the “I” is suppressed.
The story ending up being about a gambling addicted, holy person and a grave robber who is always hungry. They are digging up a grave and a wraith escapes………….and that is mostly what I got.
Not sure if I will come back to this one. But I did manage to write all the dialogue in “plural” pronouns
The “we” in my story was two kids, twins, or one kid with delusions of grandeur. They want to rule the world, but end up naming their doomsday device DD and putting off global domination.
I really like this prompt. Kick out just over 1000 words but not done. Putting it to bed for now because I’m spending the day with my granddaughter. I did a full word count of all my stories so far. Just over 21,000 words. Some stories continue and some are free standing. I’m really proud of the work I’ve done so far. I’ve made it more than half way through and I haven’t given up. Thank you for keeping me going. ❤️
Fantastic! Go you!!!
This one came out super-short, but it’s got an implied beginning, a middle, and a clearly impending end, so I’ll call it a story. “We” is a great way to avoid personal responsibility for even the worst decisions, and it works particularly well in a corporate setting. As a POV, though, I found it too contrived to take into a longer piece. I admire Rathin for making it work, and making it integral to his story.
Thank you, Walter, for the kind words. Honestly, I have clicking back and forth to this platform since I had my story posted here to see if anyone approved of my story or not.
Your kind words mean a lot and will keep me going for the second half.
Stay safe and all the very best wishes.
Once I got started, I didn’t have as much trouble with this as I thought. Started out with Ronan telling their children what it was like growing up among the selkies, and it turned into what makes a family(or ‘pod’ as they called it, because seals) and how they formed theirs. Ended up with 250 words.
I found while going through my story after posting it, that I made some silly mistakes like Raj in the first paragraph, is the fiance, not fiance as I typed it.
Then regarding the part where Ron offered the ring to them and the box fell instead of fall like I wrote in the story.
Finally, the paragraph starting with ‘As soon as’ should have ‘then’ following it rather than ‘than’ in that sentence.
I shall be obliged if you be kind enough to moderate those mistakes.
Let me also thank you for making me a part of “StoryADay”, 2023.
God bless you.
Day 17, ’23
(Let me thank Mr. Fleet Sparrow first for the unique prompt today. Till now, I must have written more than 1000 stories in my life. As a Language Teacher, I must have taught and helped my High Schoolers to write even a greater number. But this is for the first time I am trying my hand at a topic like this. I shall be delighted if my story gets okayed finally. Anyway, let me be honest about the fact that writing a story, using the first person plural “we” didn’t come naturally to me at all.)
This is our story. The story of Shana and Shan residing in the same body. This is also the story of why, after marriage, we refused to have kids, like we told our fiancée, Raj, long before our marriage.
Let’s begin at the beginning.We, Shana and Shan, were dual personalities residing in the same body, we were inseparable. The truth though, got revealed to us accidentally.
We, Shana and Shan (that’s how Baba, who wanted his second issue to be a son desperately, addressed us), were sixteen at that time. Sharp-featured, our eyes were the best thing about our appearance other than our sweet persona. Our deep, black eyes made us stand out in a crowd.
We realised that we were filling out fast as a woman by the day we turned sixteen. We were all curvy and pretty to the point of being irresistibly attractive.
The guests had all gone by that time except Ronit, who our family members felt, was the right guy to be our boyfriend. Our Mom and sister, Sneha, had left us with Ron artfully in our room.
We were standing by the window. It was a full-moon night. Outside, the world looked serene and at absolute peace with itself.
Ron, turning us towards him, put his hands across on our shoulders. Though I felt shivers run down our spine, Shana remained still and withdrawn.
“I hope you have had a great day, Shana. It’s almost 12. I’ve to get back home. Before I leave, I want to hand over your gift. And for that I want you to close your eyes for a minute.”
It was very romantic like in the movies. Ron took our hand in his. Though I craved for his touch, Shana cringed at it! I could feel it within our body.
Shana, the more uncomplicated of the two of us, closed her eyes almost immediately while I forced ours to be partially open and look through the lashes. Ron was too busy to notice it. I saw him taking out with his right hand a small gift box out of his back pocket while he held our hand in his left.
I saw Ron clicking the box open and taking out one of the most exquisite rings I had seen in my life. He took the ring in his hand while the box fall quietly face down on the carpet.
“You may open your eyes now, Shana,” he told us in that husky voice of his.
We saw both of us looking at the ring that I had already seen and heard Ron whispering into our ear:
“I want to put this ring on your finger tonight, Shana, shall I?”
Though I blushed, I was surprised at Shana’s reaction. She looked confused as if she didn’t know how to react to the situation!
Ron put it on our left index finger, looked deep into our eyes, and then did, what I had been wanting him to, since the evening. He kissed us full on the lips. Now, it wasn’t the first time we were being kissed by a boy. But as I pressed ourselves forward, I found a reluctant partner in Shana.
As soon as Ron had left than Shana rubbed our lips with the back of our hand like she had felt defiled by the contact. That’s when I realised that Shana didn’t want Ron to kiss us at all. In fact, she detested the kiss.
A few minutes later, sister Sneha stepped inside.
“We’ll look at all the presents tomorrow, OK? It is nearly 12.45 and time for you to go to bed.”
Saying so, she hugged us. God! This time Shana’s reaction turned out to be a shocker! She clung to sister Sneha and kept planting smooches all over her cheeks and head passionately!
That night, I realised something else as well. As we got into the nightie, we found ourselves standing near the dressing mirror. Shana kept looking at our reflection for hours like she had been doing frequently lately, touching us at places with that pleasurable look in the eyes, sighing, moaning! That’s when I got frightened thinking that something was terribly wrong with her.
My hunches proved right when one afternoon, after school, after we had been sitting on the edge of our bed for long, I found us heading towards Mom’s room. She was cleaning the dressing glass at that time. We found ourselves walking into and across the room to where Mom was standing.
“Mom, I’ve something to tell you.”
Her quivery voice even scared me. Mom, still working on the glass, smiled at us from it, pointing with the free hand backward to the bed for us to sit on.
She joined us a couple of minutes later, wiping her face and forehead with the fold of her sari.
“Yes, dear? What’s up?”
“Mom,” I heard Shana uttering calmly. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I have no doubts in my mind about my dislike for the boys.”
The way she said it, made us nearly jump out of the bed.
“No, I mean, I like them all right but not in the way like most other girls do it. I don’t know if I’m gay or…” She stopped here as Mom kept looking at her in a queer way.
“I became sure about it last night when Ronit kissed me, Mom. It was like I didn’t want my best friend or any other boy to touch me or kiss me then. What’s wrong with me, Mom? Am I a lesbian or what?” Shana broke down.
I could see tears coursing down our cheeks. The pain, frustration and anger in her voice took me back to the night when there was a marriage party at home. The marriage of sister Sneha to her longtime fiance. That night a cousin staying over, had to share our room with us. It was awefully hot and he didn’t mind sleeping on a mattress on the floor. He was older than us by four years.
In the middle of the night, we were awakened by him creeping up to our bed and lowering himself into the empty place beside us.
As he or his hands rather, became quite bold after a while, touching us inappropriately, though, to be honest, I was enjoying these touches and sensations. I heard Shana hiss out with the clenched teeth,”Get out this very moment, if you don’t want me to make a scene, you bastard. You call yourself a brother…..?”
Long after the cousin had left, we found ourselves lying in bed, quacking and weeping. Something must have shut down in us for good on that fatal night.
Though, we got married subsequently after our visits to the psychiatrist, you know by now, why we decided on not having a kid.