In Danielle Evans’ “Someone Ought to Tell Her There’s Nowhere to Go,” tension is introduced in the first sentence. I’d noticed that the stories that I really enjoy are those that introduce tension in this manner because they bring the reader in. Once the story begins with conflict or opens with a big scene, the reader is drawn into the story and is more likely to be patient and interested in the details about the characters and the setting.
In that respect, this story begins with a bang. Evans doesn’t waste any time and begins the story with “Georgie knew before he left that Lanae would be fucking Kenny by the time he got back to Virginia. ” The main character, Georgie, and his eluding love interest, Lanae, establish the main conflict in the story and maintain it throughout. The story has other tensions, minor conflicts involving Georgie and Lanae but all of these are secondary, used to reinforce the primary tension. Evans does a great job of staying focused and not meandering too far away from the primary conflict while at the same time introducing details into Georgie’s life that help illustrate the kind of person that he is. For example, “Now it was a weekday in the suburbs in the lack of human presence made him anxious. He turned the TV on and off four times, flipping through talk shows and soap operas and thinking this was something like what had happened to him: someone had changed the channel on his life.” This line and others like it help show that even an apparent lack of tension contributes to a tense environment in Georgie’s life.
In the end, the tension between Georgie and Lanae is resolved in that it is doubtful that she will ever speak to him again. This is not the resolution that someone might expect in the beginning of the story but given Georgie’s actions, this is the only resolution that seems plausible. The tension in the story is primarily driven by the plot with some of the contributions coming from character development. Georgie is presented like a lost soul, sad in his desperate desire for Lanae, and perhaps not even her but what she and her daughter represent. I did not notice much attention being paid to the setting other than the occasional mention of suburbia thus tension is primarily build by the plot and the characters. In her attempts to portray lonesomeness and desperation and how these two factors often result in bad decisions, Evans succeeds.