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Another Friday Challenge from bestselling author Diane Hammond

Five-Minute Fiction:

Interior Monologue

A character’s interior monologue is a close cousin of the stream-of-consciousness style. The stream-of-consciousness technique presents a seemingly unfiltered transcript of a character’s thoughts, including likely non-linear twists and turns.

An interior monologue presents a character’s thoughts in a more filtered, descriptive, less stylized way. It can be written from either the first- or third-person viewpoint.

The challenge: In five minutes or less, narrate what you or a character are interpreting from the surroundings.

The setup: You or your character are sitting alone in the late afternoon at a table at Starbucks as a noisy couple of teenage girls comes in.

Here’s my raw example. No stopping, no editing. Four minutes, 45 seconds:

The girls look younger than they probably are—maybe fifteen but possibly eighteen. It was odd, how girls looked younger and younger, or maybe it was just that she looked older and older when she looked in the mirror, which she did less and less often. She’d noticed, too, that she squinted at her reflection, blurring it slightly as though to see a younger and more acceptable version of herself.

She saw the barista, a young (as she said . . . ) man, size up the girls as they approached him. Her husband had sized her up just this way once. Now, never. Sometimes she thought this was because of simple familiarity—her image must be burned into his retinas by now, after all these years. Sometimes she thought it was revulsion, or at last dislike.

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