Tag Archives: (He) Said (She) Said

“(He) Said, (She) Said” – why is getting the last word so important?

he-said-she-saidWhat is it about getting the last word? Sometimes people don’t care if they are right or wrong, or how much they hurt each other or themselves. Ending a conversation, or hurtful action, on a dismissive note  is all they need. That’s why getting the last word is so important: it reinforces who you are, that you matter, and that your vision of the world is the true one. (To hell with someone else!)

Such is the case with the two characters, young professionals Danny and Meredith, in the second story of my first collection of three stories, Trio 1, The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes. As the title suggests, who do you believe? It’s a ‘he said, she said’ situation. But doesn’t the person with the last word often get to re-write what happened? Isn’t history written by the victors, and the quieter, smaller voice, gets erased?

Danny and Meredith, old school fiends who lost touch during ‘the university years,’ meet up for a drink in a London pub. They were never romantically linked, but outside of the friendship circles of their younger days, dressed formally and working, and with a little alcohol in their bellies, perhaps now is good as time as ever. But do sparks fly, or signals get misread? Are they being friendly, too friendly, or just plain abusive?

And who do you trust? Who encourages whom? Who gets seduced, and who goes along for the ride? Everything looks so much worse in the morning, when explanations are needed, and self-justifications. Social shame can be a powerful force, not to mention having to text with the same person the morning after about the night before. Who wants that?

To see how far Danny and Meredith go in the battle of the sexes (and of whose story is to be believed), my website has the first page of “(He) Said, (She) Said.”

More importantly, will they talk again after the fact?

Press Release, The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes (publishing November 5, 2015)

The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes (cover)FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Matt Fullerty’s ‘Trio 1’ of criminally-minded short stories is publishing on Bonfire Night!

ISBN 978-1-937056-55-1

THE MAN IN THE GRAY TIE AND OTHER CRIMES

BY MATT FULLERTY

The Brits and Americans are as crazy as each other!

In three stories about fraud, sexual indecency and, of all things, plagiarism, Matt Fullerty has crafted three modern tales of danger, duplicity and escalating violence.

Will Doctor Sidney Holton escape a criminal gang running a secluded auction house in the English countryside? Will young city professionals Danny and Meredith agree to disagree about what happened on a fateful London night after drinking too many in the pub? Will middle-aged Seattle best buds Judy and Soo help each other get into print with the Great American Short Story—or will they just rip their typing nails into each other’s throats?

You guessed it. Sometimes, in British lives too, there are no second acts.

Matt Fullerty’s story collection The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes (144 pp, $5.95/£3.95/€4.95) is released on November 5, 2015 by Parkgate Press / Dionysus Books. It forms Trio 1 of his nine story collection, Rising Apes, Falling Angels.

Patrick Willers, University of Michigan and Maxwell School, Syracuse University, says:

“‘The Man in the Gray Tie’ captures the anxiety of losing everything for a thrill. The whole premise is discomforting: the doctor despises his wife and gets his sensual thrills from bidding-up at random auctions, but just can’t curb his cunning fun. Story two, ‘(He) Said, (She) Said,’ conveys the awkwardly optimistic anticipation between two friends who meet for a drink—that game of Red-Light/Green-Light, that discomfort of ‘not knowing’ and being trapped in the ‘friend-zone.’ Finally, in a nod to Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Rope, ‘The Last Page of Friendship’ explores betrayal between best ‘frenemies,’ wannabe writers who try to control each other’s story, with horrific consequences.”

Dr. Dean Lawson, East Carolina University and the University of Alabama, says:

“The title story is reminiscent of an O. Henry story with the unexpected twists, also of the Roger Moore Bond movie Octopussy where Bond bumped up the price of a bogus Fabergé egg. The second story is a human sexual roller-coaster exploring the paradoxes of missed social cues, the characters hitting all the wrong notes in a story of guilt and shame. The third is my favorite, setting up a poisonous literary rivalry between old West Coast friends, and should be read with the lights off.”

Matt Fullerty lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and expanding family. The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes is Trio 1 of the criminally-minded short story collection Rising Apes, Falling Angels. Matt’s novels include The Knight of New Orleans about American chess prodigy Paul Morphy and The Murderess and the Hangman about hard-drinking Kate Webster who murdered her London landlady. His website is mattfullerty.com.

The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes is available to purchase at Buy Books.

ISBN 978-1-937056-55-1

To place orders for The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes, contact:

Editor, Parkgate Press / Dionysus Books                                                               7796 Marshall Heights Court
Falls Church, Virginia 22043
Email: editor@parkgatepress.com                                                                                             Website: www.parkgatepress.com

To arrange a book signing or interview, contact  editor@parkgatepress.com.

# # #

Trio 1 publishing on November 5, 2015 (Stories 1-3)

The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes (cover)I can now confirm that the first three stories of Rising Apes, Falling Angels will publish on November 5, 2015. They will form a standalone trio (Trio 1) called The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes.

Each story focuses on a particular theme: fraud in “The Man in Gray Tie,” consent in “(He) Said, (She) Said” and plagiarism in “The Last Page of Friendship.” Well, plus a little cheating, lust and murder!

The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com (in Kindle, nook and iBook formats).

Roll on November 5, 2015!

The importance of readers for work-in-progress…

Importance of ReadersWriting for years, I’ve learned the hard way that I make mistakes. Lots of them. In fact, it’s so easy to make mistakes, you can spend all your time correcting past ones when you should be writing new material.

Errors are there to be corrected, but wouldn’t it be far nicer to write on, a little less haunted? James Joyce once said: “I don’t make mistakes. My mistakes are the portals of discovery.” I love the sentiment, but arguably I’m not James Joyce (last time I looked).

One answer is to try and get readers for your work. In the past, I’ve baulked. What, showing my work to someone? I had to get over this. If you can’t show work-in-progress, how will you ever release writing to the big, bad world? My advice is to just get two readers.

Why two? Well, it’s enough to manage. Not only do you have to write to a schedule, you have to incorporate their edits. That’s the idea: they comment at the macro level (characters, story, setting) and micro (language, pace, typos), and you have to interpret it all.

I’m very grateful to my two readers currently offering feedback on Rising Apes, Falling Angels. I offer them a small fee per story, and in return I plan a schedule of turnaround dates. I leave it open what they work on exactly: I’m happy for them to read the story, and focus on whatever strikes them as needing most work, including what I did well (something!). It’s good to know what you write well, in order to write more of it. Of course, it’s even better to know what’s pretty poor, in order to rewrite or cut.

Readers also notice factual and continuity errors. One of my readers noticed a continuity mistake in (He) Said, (She) Said, a story about consent (or perhaps lack of) from The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes. Here’s the reader’s comment:

Alsoyou make such a deal out of Danny not having his watch on at the bar and on the walk home but you say that he clicked his watch on after the non-rape-rape encounter…not sure if I misread this but I think you may have made a little slip up.

Of course, in a story where facts and point of view are paramount, I hadn’t intended the error. Danny will no longer have a magically appearing watch, given he never brought it out to the bar in the first place.

Just as important, readers pass opinion on believability and levels of excitement or apathy.

Ultimately, having readers of drafts ‘in your corner’ is a social connection for the isolating business of the daily writing grind. It’s a way of connecting with ‘real readers’ (which they are too, of course). That’s what writing is all about“only connect,” as E. M. Forster said.

So bringing the process forward is both professional and a step toward answering messages from more people, once the time comes.

Happy reader hunting!

 

Introducing “(He) Said, (She) Said” (Trio 1, Story 2)

beer-wineThis story was influenced by a 2014 court case at the Old Bailey, London in which a public schoolboy was accused of raping an ex-classmate. There were also a spate of similar stories in the US, often on college campuses or fraternity houses, and a debate grew around the subject, particularly the idea of consent. (According to the University of Georgia’s University Health Center, “consent is sexy,” the strange notion of using sexual appeal in trying to get college kids excited about asking permission.)

The accused man in the London case, Archie Reed, was eventually cleared of all charges, which is not to say that plenty of cases have judgement passed that neither side feels satisfied by. There must always be a friction in such cases, two sides to one story, often taking place in confined space and time, and yet resulting in such polarizing, violently different interpretations, especially once the law gets involved.

In effect, the story “(He) Said, (She) Said” grew out of these media stories, particularly the Archie Reed case, although ultimately the story’s intent is to remain finely balanced over the question of guilt, on both sides, as well as other ideas of reconciliation, remorse, memory, and reputation, especially among friends.

It’s an ominous subject, and yet certain absurdities are revealed from such cases, especially in the case of an acquittal. They becomes tales of character and personalities, of people unleashing forces more powerful than their ability to control — forces of social, legal, and individual judgement.

Judge for yourselves!

…And Other Crimes…Inspired by a Spike Lee Joint

spike-lee-joint-1.2A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering how to title my first collection of three stories. Since they were crime stories, I hit on the idea of replacing Stories with Crimes, so instead of The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Stories, I settled on The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes.

I owe this homage to a memory of Spike Lee titling his movies ‘joints’ rather than ‘movies,’ ever since I saw Lee’s joint Do the Right Thing. The opening credits got a laugh just by announcing ‘A Spike Lee Joint.’ Entertainment first! Plus you can get high off a Spike Lee film.

Henceforth, my ‘stories’ for my Trio 1 will be known as ‘crimes,’ hence the title The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes. Fraud is the focus of “The Man in Gray Tie,” consent in “(He) Said, (She) Said,” and plagiarism in “The Last Page of Friendship.”

Smoke ’em if you got ’em.