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Spatial Rift 47
08-08-2005, 11:39 AM
Note: I specifically checked in ATMB about posting this, and C K Dexter Haven gave me the OK.


My girlfriend is a writer, and IMO a very good one. She's looking for some more exposure, not that kind of exposure, you pervs so in this thread I hereby post a link (http://lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=54&TopicID=173213&PagePosition=1) to another message board where you may read her short stories. The last one on that page, "Stitches," is her most recent, and the one for which she is most seeking comments. Enjoy!

dotchan
08-08-2005, 02:18 PM
Maybe I'm not her intended audience, but I couldn't really connect to anyone in the stories (except the doctor who had to go to her own ER as a patient). I'll try reading them again later, and maybe I'll be able to put into words this vague sort of distance I feel between me and the story.

Odinoneeye
08-08-2005, 04:13 PM
Actually, she and I could do each other a favor. I'm starting to do some freelance proofreading work, and I'd be happy to look over her stories for punctuation, spelling, grammer, etc, as well as story content.

The only thing I would ask is that she let me use her name on my resume.

Something like..

Spacial Rift 47's Girlfriend - Writer - Proofread several short stories.

Feydeau
08-08-2005, 05:33 PM
I'm all confused (which, really, isn't all that difficult to do).

Are we supposed to comment here, or over there? Because, truthfully, I don't feel like registering for another board.

Could I email my thoughts to you (that is, if we're not supposed to post here)?

monospectacular
08-08-2005, 06:05 PM
Actually, she and I could do each other a favor. I'm starting to do some freelance proofreading work, and I'd be happy to look over her stories for punctuation, spelling, grammer, etc, as well as story content.

The only thing I would ask is that she let me use her name on my resume.

Something like..

Spacial Rift 47's Girlfriend - Writer - Proofread several short stories.


Just some friendly advice...if you want to proofread a person's work, perhaps you might learn to spell grammar.

Good luck to you anyway.

Spatial Rift 47
08-08-2005, 09:05 PM
I'm all confused (which, really, isn't all that difficult to do).

Are we supposed to comment here, or over there? Because, truthfully, I don't feel like registering for another board.

Could I email my thoughts to you (that is, if we're not supposed to post here)?


No no no. Post your comments here, and she will see them. I certainly wouldn't ask you to register for another message board.

Odinoneeye, I will pass the suggestion on to her, and advise you of her response.

Spatial Rift 47
08-09-2005, 02:01 PM
C'mon people, you know you want to post your comments. Good, bad, anything ...

Sage Rat
08-09-2005, 02:59 PM
I always respond with only negative things when asked to critique something. SO, beware.

It seemed to me like she was trying too hard to interject description into what was a first person, dialogue-style narration.

Most of the people in our small, sheltered town, are elated because the last time Lana tried to have a child she lost the fetus five months in, after doing a Scarlett O'Hara and falling down a flight of stairs.
Since the tone of the narration sounds like someone talking, when they suddenly come out with "our small, sheltered town" it sounds fake and detracts from the story. It just doesn't sound like natural speach.

Of course, this is something that she probably just typed in--but still I would recommend to either gloss over the description as much as a person talking would or to spend more time on each detail, instead of trying to insert a few keywords here and there. Probably better to go for more description. For instance, you could rewrite the above as:

"Her pregnancy was a pretty big deal for everyone in town. And I mean everyone! It's a small...well sheltered area really and we all knew what happened in each others daily lives and we cared about each other. Lana had lost her last child. Fetus. Took a Scarlett O'Hara down the stairs at her home, and that was that. But this time, 'This time!' we all hoped, right along with her."

I might also caution against using the present tense--but that's not a big issue.

Cat Whisperer
08-09-2005, 03:11 PM
I saw some grammatical errors - would she be interested in corrections of those?

I have to say, the subject of "Stitches" is quite clichéd at this point.

Seriously, has your girlfriend considered writing for Harlequin? My husband gave it a try, but he couldn't stay serious enough to produce a whole story (he kept killing off the characters and stuff). They apparently have a very set pattern (of course), but it might be a good way to earn some money writing.

Charlie Tan
08-09-2005, 04:39 PM
It's not bad. I could see the little shop.


I've wanted to be a writer for at least 30 years. I think I'm coming to the point where I know I'll never get a novel published, but I did manage tobecome a fairly good journalist and people keep saying that when I'm writing in my own language, it's good writing. I've gotten some essays and articles published in prestigeous places over here, but from there to writing long fiction... I just can't find the story.

Stiches is a bit clichéd, but that will change with practise. I get the impression that GF is fairly young (at least from my POV) and while there are some people who produce their lifetime masterpiece at 25, I find that most writers hone their skill and get better with time.

My first piece of advice it that she needs to find a story, not just write out a story, becuase it looks like a subject (wife beating), that might be interesting, which is the vibe I get. The story in the little shop could easily be quite mundane and a lot better for it. Is the protagonist the 1st person narrator or Lana? Because, if it's Lana, then she comes sliding onto the stage worthy of Cosmo Kramer. And if it's the narrator, then her story gets lost. I want to know more about the girl/woman who spends a summer knitting for a couple of old ladies in a murky shop. That's a far more interesting story than one about a friend who gets beat up by her husband.

The second piece of advice is that GF needs to find her own voice. The whole time, I had a feeling she was trying to write as one is supposed to write this kind of fiction, instead of telling the story, i.e. all mind and no heart.

So, as an intellectual excercise from a young writer, it aint too bad, but she needs to spend some time thinking about why she writes and what she hopes to accomplish.

Spatial Rift 47
08-09-2005, 05:32 PM
Yes, she's 19, and just getting started on what she hopes will be a writing career. She has another, much longer story called "Open Window," and if anyone is interested in reading that she's willing to make it available.


Personally, I'm curious as to what exactly featherlou and Gaspode mean when they say the story is "clichéd." The topic of spousal abuse is overdone?

Cat Whisperer
08-09-2005, 05:41 PM
<snip>
Personally, I'm curious as to what exactly featherlou and Gaspode mean when they say the story is "clichéd." The topic of spousal abuse is overdone?
Very much so (well, woman beat up by man is). Now, if she wanted to write a story about a MAN getting beat up by his wife, and all the twists and turns thereof, that would be a lot fresher.

Which is not to say she can't write whatever she pleases; just that this particular topic has been done to death.

Ghanima
08-09-2005, 06:05 PM
I didn't read them all, but I thought they were quite good.

Charlie Tan
08-10-2005, 03:51 AM
Yes, she's 19, and just getting started on what she hopes will be a writing career. She has another, much longer story called "Open Window," and if anyone is interested in reading that she's willing to make it available.


Personally, I'm curious as to what exactly featherlou and Gaspode mean when they say the story is "clichéd." The topic of spousal abuse is overdone?
I want to make clear that being young shouldn't be ragarded as a disadvantage, and being older is certainly not a virtue. If age should add anything, it's perspective.

It's clichéd because every other cop show, soap opera or drama series always have a woman show up with a black eye way too often for the storyline to contain any more interest.
Now, something that would be interesting is a story told from the abuser's perspective, preferably a 1st person narration. What goes on in the mind of a man that beats up hiswife?

Infovore
08-10-2005, 12:07 PM
This might be an irrelevant comment, but the abusive husband's name in "Stitches" didn't work for me. It's a very distinctive name and the only other person I've ever encountered with it is Cillian Murphy, the creepy guy who played the Scarecrow in "Batman Begins" (and looks like he's going to be playing a creepy guy in the upcoming "Red Eye" as well). I realize the husband is supposed to be creepy, but I kept picturing him as Murphy and it kind of kicked me out of the story.

Cat Whisperer
08-11-2005, 10:14 AM
<snip>Now, something that would be interesting is a story told from the abuser's perspective, preferably a 1st person narration. What goes on in the mind of a man that beats up hiswife?
I second this - everyone vilifies wife-beaters, but no kid wakes up one day and says, "I'm going to grow up to beat women!" It could be very fascinating to look into the emotional turmoil of the abuser as well as the abused.

dotchan
08-17-2005, 11:54 AM
Okay, I've had some time to think about it, and I've read the other thread, too.

1) There's too much "tell" and not enough "show".

Not that narrative is a bad thing, mind you. But a lot of times I felt like the narrator was trying to explain stuff to the audience, instead of being a person actually experiencing what was going on. (Not that a first person narrator can't be omniscient, but I couldn't tell if the narrator was being set up as such, and that was very distracting.)

Plus, the narrator often makes a lot of value judgements on things that perhaps is better left to the reader.

In "Genius is Nonconformity", for example, I felt that the opinions were much more of a reflection on the narrator that it is a commentary on state of modern collegiate education; I don't think that was the author's intention.

2) Some of the stories don't really begin at a point that I find interesting.

The first paragraph or so of a story is the hook. It doesn't have to be the beginning of the actual tale - it can be the middle, or even the end, or any arbitrary point where the reader would go, "okay, I'll bite", and follow along for the rest of the ride.

The ER story, for example, probably could have started in the actual emergency room, as the doctor is waiting to be assessed for triage. Then you can backtrack a bit and explain how she ended up there, a patient at her own hospital, surrounded by the people she usually treats.

I do like the opening of "Nosehair":

I wasn't planning on seeing him today. Not that I didn't want to see him, because I did, desperatley, but because it was a Monday and no one ever visits me on a Monday.

(It could be tweaked a bit more, methinks, but it's still great. It definitely grabbed me and made me want to keep on reading.)

3) The pop culture references are rather distracting.

Personally, it feels more like name dropping, and it doesn't really add anything to the story. For example, in "The Cold Redemption", I didn't think it was necessary to name the movie or the actors, since the title itself is already a winking allusion. And the parentheses weren't necessary for "The Old Man and the (bus) Sea(t)" - just have it as "The Old Man and the Bus Seat", and those of us who are familiar with Hemmingway will get the joke.