A note from Laura
This week I’d like to draw your attention to Olivia Lee’s piece of short fiction, “The Note.” For me, this piece perfectly combines a sense of mystery and intrigue that carries the story and makes you want to read what happens next, with an attention to detail—a kind of deep observation—that allows you to imagine yourself at the center of the narrative.
As I read this story, I want to know the narrator better. How did she discover the tree, and why is she so certain that the mysterious girl she discovers there wouldn’t want to be her friend? I also want to know more about the mysterious girl. Where did she come from? Why is she there? Did she leave the note alerting the narrator to the hunters?
But despite the mystery that the narrative holds, there’s much that I can relate to and imagine clearly, like the appeal of the tree itself with its soft patches of grass beneath and the solitude it affords. Aside from the sharp detail provided in the story, another tool the author uses to help plant the reader in the center of its setting is the use of second person narration. The author uses this narrative style briefly and effectively in the second paragraph. Lee writes:
If you felt the grass, you knew that it was very soft. When gazing up, you would see many birds of different shapes and colors sitting on the high branches. You would feel safe under the tree, like it was protecting you from bad things.
Using this technique, the author transforms “you,” the reader, into a character in the story, steering you to experience the unfolding narrative firsthand. This weekend, I invite you to try using second person narration in a piece of writing. Play with this style of narration to see how it affects the tone of your writing and how it can act to immerse the reader more deeply in your story.
Until next time,
A New Magazine Page
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new magazine landing page on our website! The new page makes it easier to navigate to the current issue, our archives, and past artwork and writing, all from a central location. We very much appreciated your patience during its preparation and testing phases. Be on the lookout for more exciting revisions to stonesoup.com in the coming months!
From Stone Soup
By Olivia Lee, 10
The path that led to the tree went zigzag, but it wasn’t very long. It had slight curves with small bumps. It was like a stone platform, with barely any cracks.
But what was really a sight was the tree. It was a very tall one, its leaves dark green as ripe cucumbers. The branches curled softly, like breezes tickling waves into the air. Under the tree was a spot to sit, with patches of grass covering the dirt. If you felt the grass, you knew that it was very soft. When gazing up, you would see many birds of different shapes and colors sitting on the high branches. You would feel safe under the tree, like it was protecting you from bad things. You would sit there for a long time, but then it would be time to go. The patches of grass would sit still, hoping you would come again.
I only saw someone else come once. She was a girl, one who sat quietly under the tree by herself. Often, she would fling one of her long legs over a thick branch while the other leg stayed hopelessly on the ground. I tried to say “Hi,” but before I could, the girl went off into the forest behind the gates to the left of the tree. I wanted to follow her but decided not to because if she saw me, she wouldn’t want to be my friend. I sighed.
I came to visit the tree whenever I had time left in my day. Even if I had only a few minutes, I wouldn’t miss a single moment to come to the stony pathway.
I’d come here before breakfast, before school, before anything, or after anything.
But sadly, I had no one to bring with me. I’d ask my mother, but she was always busy knitting with her sharp darning needle or busy dealing with my sister, who was always running around. I’d ask my father, but he was too busy changing into his work clothes. I’d ask my sister . . . actually, I wouldn’t. She would be too loud and energetic to sit under a quiet, peaceful tree, and people would be annoyed. I’d ask my friend Cindy, but she was just like my sister. Talkative and energetic. I wanted someone who would enjoy the tree with me.
Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.