Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Frank and Claire's Relationship

As I promised yesterday,  I had a chance to sit down and do some writing.  I got about 450 words in and I am excited about it! I really needed to write about the relationship between Claire and Frank.  It kept bubbling up in my mind and had to get out!  I added an excerpt below.  Please answer the questions following the text after you read it.  I want to know if I am on the right track.

Claire watched as Frank deftly picked muffin crumbs off the table with his large fingers.   It seemed like every morning for the last twenty years, she had watched his large hands moving over the table like birds of prey erradicating any tid bit left.  She would have liked to think that it was because her muffins were so delicious, but since he did it with embarrassing regularity with virtually every food and in any circumstance, she had long since dimissed this notion.  
“Busy day today?” Claire asked as she cleared Frank’s plate and coffee cup.
Frank got up and stretched, nearly touching the ceiling.   He caused a momentary eclipse of the morning light streaming in the kitchen window, throwing Claire into shadow.  She had always loved how big he was, it made her feel safe, even if he did take up a lot of room.
“I have the normal classes, then office hours.  I also have another meeting tonight with the grad students, so I’ll be home late.”
“Another one?   Should I keep dinner for you?”
“No, don’t bother. We’ll grab something close to campus.”
Frank was backlit, surrounded by a bright line of light all around, so Claire couldn’t see his face very clearly.  She wondered what she would see there.  He had been keeping an awful lot of weird hours lately. 

“OK.  I’ll be in the dark room today, so I may not answer the phone.  I took a roll of film of the garden.  I’m excited to see how they came out.”
Frank bent and quickly kissed Claire on the cheek.  “Have fun making like a photographer.  I probably won’t call.  I’ve got a pretty packed schedule.  I’ll see you tonight.”
After Frank left, Claire sat down with her own breakfast.  As she cradled the cup of coffee in her hands, she thought about his odd schedule and how it had cropped up on and off through out their marriage starting when Anna was a baby.  She had never wanted to prove it, but she could swear he had been having affairs.  Did it matter more now than it did in the past?  Did the gold band on her left hand represent less of her commitment now that Anna was in college?  If he was having an affair, what would she do anyway?  Leave?  And do what? Starve?
Claire frowned as she put the dishes in the dishwasher.  Then she resolved to put it out of her mind.  Regardless of what Frank was doing, she loved him.  It was almost a reflex.  She wasn’t going anywhere.  She looked at the clock.  She wanted to get the household chores done so she could get into the dark room.

1) Describe their relationship?  Who is the dominant partner?
2) What does Claire think about the relationship? Of Frank?
3) Even though this scene is from Claire's point of view, is there any indication of how Frank feels about Claire?
I'd love to hear what you have to say.  Write on!


  1. 1. Hard to say who is dominate but I guess Claire would be the one who "takes care" of most family issues.
    2. I think she loves him and feels safe around him.
    3. Not really any indication of how Frank feels.

    Good piece of writing so far though. Keep up the good work! (So hard to be a critic.) LOL!

  2. It's a good piece and I feel it does shed some light on both sides of the relationship...

    1) I'll save my description for #2. As for the dominant one, I think they're both dominant in their own way. Like Valerie said, Claire is dominant for the household stuff while she accepts that Frank is the "breadwinner".

    2) Claire came across as a content, long-time married partner. She's aware of some of Frank's faults, suspects others (an affair), but is also aware of what continues to draw her to him and why she stays in the relationship. It felt like the thoughts of a woman who is satisfied with where the couple is in life and isn't looking for excuses to change.

    3) Maybe it's because I'm a guy, but I did read a bit into how Frank feels. "Have fun *making like* a photographer" sounds like he doesn't believe her photos will be anything more than raw amatuer stuff. Given that your synopsis reveals the affair, I may have been prejudiced, but many of his other comments were telling.

    "We'll grab something close to campus." - If I was working late, I would have said "I'll" instead of "We'll"

    "I probably won't call" - Maybe it's just me, but I'd either say nothing about calling or indicate that I'd leave a message. Stating that he won't call just sounded like an excuse in advance of a misdeed.

    "I've got a pretty packed schedule" - Similar to the comment about the call, this felt like an excuse in advance of a misdeed. He knows he's going to be doing something wrong so he's laying the groundwork for a later excuse to cover himself.

    Overall, I liked it. It's a good piece of writing and flowed well. If I was writing it, there might be words I would change, but it would be minor semantics rather than anything major (i.e. "she cleared Frank's breakfast dishes" vs "plate and coffee cup").

    Hope this helps and keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks so much for your comments. It is really helpful to hear what you have to say. I think Claire is starting to become more dissatisfied with her relationship with Frank, even if she doesn't realize it yet. I will have to make some revisions there. Maybe I should take the synopsis down, as Virtualchoirboy said, it might be prejudicing comments. What do you think?