mundane: of or pertaining to what is common and everyday; ordinary; commonplace.
I've had some interesting thoughts the past twenty-four hours about what I should include in my writing, and what I should not. What works, and what doesn't. I was talking to one of my friends yesterday - she's a reader, not a writer - and she made the comment that she likes it when stories include moments of the mundane, when she feels like she's experiencing more of a real-life moment than something manipulated by the writer. It makes the characters and the story feel more real to her, and actually puts her more into the world of the story.
I'm going to include two samples down below. This is a bit of an experiment, so just play along. Let me know which excerpt you prefer, and why. Think along the lines of a scene focused on the mundane versus a scene packed with directional purpose - and what makes that difference.
Nancy peeled the shrimp one by one, her fingers pinching the firm, papery-thin shells as she slid them off the slippery meat. The shrimp made a wet slapping sound as she tossed each one into a glass bowl near the sink. She closed her eyes against the sunlight shining through the window. It was yellow, but cool, and made Nancy's mind soft at the edges, made her focus on nothing and everything at the same time. It was moments like this, standing alone, the salty smell of fish and lemons hanging in the air, that made her appreciate these moments she had to herself.
Nancy peeled the ice-cold shrimp one by one, her fingers pinching the firm, papery-thin shells as she slid them off the slippery meat. The shrimp made a wet slapping sound as she threw each one into a glass bowl near the sink. She had to work faster if she was going to get dinner ready in time. Rick liked to sit down to a hot meal when he got home, and she liked to provide that for him. He did so many things for her, and this was the least she could do. She closed her eyes against the sunlight shining through the window. It smelled like the lemons she had just cut, cool and yellow. If she made this meal perfect, Rick might not hit her afterward. His fist might not feel like a hot brick against her cheek.
So, you tell me, which works better for you? Why? Do you include mundane moments in your stories, where it doesn't really move the plot forward? Or do moments like that in a story drive you nuts when you read them?