Jail Mail

I have uploaded Ronni’s Reprisal, the story which earned me 76% on the Open University course, to the ‘OU Pieces’ section.

I can’t claim it’s my best ever piece, but it is a departure from my usual light and frothy ‘chicklit’ style, and I’m glad to say my tutor rewarded my step out of my proverbial comfort zone.

For part 2 of the exercise we were asked to explain, in about 300 words, our choice of narrative point of view, tense, genre, point at which the story begins and any emotion or mood we wished to convey.  These were my answers:

Narrative point of view

Ronni’s letter to her pen friend naturally presents a first-person viewpoint.  My aim here was to ‘show not tell,’ allowing Ronni through her own words to reveal her irrational, obsessive personality and Jason’s emotional effect upon her.  Writing from Jason or Naomi’s viewpoint would not have achieved this.

The second half of the story employs a third-person omniscient narrative, to give the true version of events and refute Ronni’s deluded account.  The author is all-knowing and thus trustworthy.


The story is told mainly in the continuous past tense.  The events leading to Ronni’s incarceration have happened, but Ronni is still brooding upon them and her punishment is ongoing.

There are present-tense elements to her letter, in which she tells Paula her current feelings and interests.


I set out with no specific genre in mind, although facets of a crime story, possibly even a psychological thriller, are apparent.

I traditionally write in a humorous, ‘chicklit’ style, so this exercise was a large step outside my comfort zone.

Point at which the story begins

It begins at the end so far as the crime and trial are concerned, but at a point where Ronni is still living with the consequences of her actions, albeit in earnest denial of any guilt.

I aimed to dissect Ronni’s emotions then summarise the backstory less intimately, to avoid both repeating too much of her account and slowing the narrative flow.


I strove for an overall mood of unease, exposing Ronni’s warped malevolence, in contrast with the ‘victim’ act she presents in her letter.

I chose not to focus on Jason and Naomi, relieved and safe now their tormenter is imprisoned.  There is greater tension in showing Ronni vehemently believing a relationship existed between Jason and herself and they will be united upon her release.  One is left wondering what future threat she poses to Jason and Naomi.


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