CRAFT STUDIO BY GUEST WRITER ANNA LATIMER: HAPPY HOUR
What I was Reading:
“Happy Hour” tells the story of two broke but glamorous and charming party girls, Isa and Gala, who arrive to New York City for a summer of adventure and fun. Told in a diary format through the protagonist, Isa, Happy Hour opens in May as the girls embark on their adventure in NYC:
Excerpt of Happy Hour, by Marlowe Granados
My mother always told me that to be a girl one must be especially clever.
Before landing at JFK, I had three Bloody Marys and an extra piece of cake that fell apart in my mouth. A person should never take on a city with an empty stomach, and I am always hungry.
Leaving London didn’t bother me much because one should always be making moves. When asked, “What made you come to London?” I would say, “I didn’t want to go home.” That, to me, is always enough.
People think coming to New York is an answer, that’s where they go wrong. It was Friday night and the sun had already set. At each subway stop, large groups of friends came on the train. Down the car, someone played a disco medley off a phone. I felt my own night stretch out before me.”
Moves I notice the author making:
- Sensory language: Granados’s description of Isa filling her empty stomach with Bloody Marys and an extra piece of cake, as well as the sound of the disco medley playing down the subway car, add to the sensory experience of the opening scene and immerse the reader in the the novel’s surroundings.
- Liminal Space: The first-person narration allows the reader insight into Isa’s inner thoughts and feelings. Isa’s rich inner dialogue makes an in-between space, like leaving an airport or taking the subway, feel like an important event.
- Ambiguous Ending: “I felt my own night stretch out before me,” leaves the reader with an open-ended conclusion, suggesting that Isa’s journey is young and full of possibilities.
- Irony: Isa’s declaration that “people think coming to New York is an answer, that’s where they go wrong” is a form of irony, as it contradicts the typical assumption that arriving in a big city like New York can solve all one’s problems.
Possibilities for writers:
- Come up with a hook: Granados takes the cliched line “My mother always told me…” and plays around with it. Ask writers to come up with their own hook that could involve breathing life into tired life advice.
- “I” statements: Isa begins a paragraph with something someone else has told her, and then flips it into what she feels or believes with strong “I” statements. For instance: “A person should never take on a city with an empty stomach, and I am always hungry.” Have writers come up with their own “I” statements that contradict or react to advice that they have heard before.
- Setting: Granados uses setting to add atmosphere and context to her story. The descriptions of the subway stops and the night scene in New York add to the story’s overall mood and help to create a strong sense of place. Have your writers come up with a location for their story that they know well and can describe in vivid detail.