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Thread: "Buster's Gift" and "Russ the Provider"

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    X (or) Y=X and Y=-X Jean-Baptiste's Avatar
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    "Buster's Gift" and "Russ the Provider"

    I would like some criticism on these two stories that I've written. Any comments on either (positive or otherwise) would be appreciated. Above all, I hope that you will enjoy the reading of them as much as I enjoyed the writing.
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    These fragments I have shored against my ruins

    James Joyce, the pirate. Why don't you write books people can read? -Nora Barnacle

    Insupportable claim: Reading my stories will make you a better person. Do your best to prove me right. http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=20367

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    X (or) Y=X and Y=-X Jean-Baptiste's Avatar
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    Really? Nobody has anything to say about them? Even to tell me that they're boring and pointless?

    I've written an introduction to them, if it helps to know my intentions. It is posted in my blog.
    These fragments I have shored against my ruins

    James Joyce, the pirate. Why don't you write books people can read? -Nora Barnacle

    Insupportable claim: Reading my stories will make you a better person. Do your best to prove me right. http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=20367

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    Your writing is head heavy, too analytical, while there is not enough emotion present, either in the story or the very sentences themselves.

    I think your writing will benefit from your growing closer to your heart.

    Or become a scientist.

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    X (or) Y=X and Y=-X Jean-Baptiste's Avatar
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    Okay. Could you repeat that? Wait a minute. Okay.

    Uhuh, Mixture one part treacle with three parts yummy lick-it-up sugary sweetness, uhuh, a generous helping of simpering drivel, yeah, and five ounces blood-tears. Got it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AdW2356 View Post
    Or become a scientist.
    Well, I guess I'm in the wrong forums. So long.
    These fragments I have shored against my ruins

    James Joyce, the pirate. Why don't you write books people can read? -Nora Barnacle

    Insupportable claim: Reading my stories will make you a better person. Do your best to prove me right. http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=20367

  5. #5
    one of billions zanna's Avatar
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    Hey, now. Don't go leavin' us on account of one person that didn't appreciate your style! I did like the stories. Made me think of sepia-toned photographs, and long, hot, summer days. The mood seemed fitting, though. It was very delibrate. You do very well painting pictures with your descriptions, I could "see" everything in my head. When's the next one?

  6. #6
    X (or) Y=X and Y=-X Jean-Baptiste's Avatar
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    That's very kind of you, zanna. I'm flattered! I didn't mean it. About leaving, I didn't meant it. I think, though, that I may have been too hard on the critique above. I hope I didn't drive AdW away; I was just horsin' around.

    The next one...when I get around to it. I've got a few more stories rolling around in my head. One of them I've been thinking of starting soon; a couple of others are yet vague ideas--inchoate stories. They're all just practice anyway, right? Didn't someone say we're all just practicing anyway? Maybe I made that up.

    Thanks so much for your comments.
    These fragments I have shored against my ruins

    James Joyce, the pirate. Why don't you write books people can read? -Nora Barnacle

    Insupportable claim: Reading my stories will make you a better person. Do your best to prove me right. http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=20367

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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    hey Jean, I've read Russ, but haven't got around to reading your other story yet.
    Quote Originally Posted by AdW2356
    Your writing is head heavy, too analytical, while there is not enough emotion present, either in the story or the very sentences themselves.
    I don't agree with that at all, but there are some changes I'd suggest.
    Alright, Thel. Cín I say ďI love you,Ē over the telephone?
    this seems a bit unrealistic. Even if the guy has never used a telephone before, I don't think he'd waste much er.. cognitive effort on this question I think he'd either blurtit lut or forget to say it.
    hum, there was some passage I was going to comment on but I can't find it now.. Will have to read the story again...

    there are two more things, though.
    1. we only get to see Russ' at home where Ethel does everything for him. But seeing as he is a logger, I should think he is more independent and competent when it comes to his work? Could you bring out this contrast more? E.g. you could open the story with a scene showing Russ at work and then he goes home and is totally different?
    2. it's not always clear to me exactly how aware he is of his lack of self-reliance. I suppose the ending is meant to come as a shock to him? Like he realizes he will have to take on Ethel's role now? If that's the case, then he's maybe a bit too aware of his weaknesses throughout the story.

    I know he's supposed to become gradually more independent but I think it might be a bit too rushed???
    I know what kind of character you have in mind (my dad is like that ), but I'm not sure I'd get it if I didn't know already
    heehee, give me some time to read it again

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    Left 4evr Adolescent09's Avatar
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    It might just be me, but I like stories with heavy description, some imagery.. analogies.. Your first story (the only one I had time to read) has an explicit style; smooth and understandable but I'm not sure if it flows correctly. I think more description would help.. but hey, maybe people don't like reading pages and pages of description. Perhaps your using a whole new style that is unknown to me. -----Sorry I couldn't say much.

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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adolescent09 View Post
    It might just be me, but I like stories with heavy description, some imagery.. analogies.. Your first story (the only one I had time to read) has an explicit style; smooth and understandable but I'm not sure if it flows correctly. I think more description would help.. but hey, maybe people don't like reading pages and pages of description. Perhaps your using a whole new style that is unknown to me. -----Sorry I couldn't say much.
    i agree with Adolescent there. A little more descpription would be helpful. It doesn't need to be pages and pages, only a little bit more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jean-Baptiste
    They're all just practice anyway, right? Didn't someone say we're all just practicing anyway? Maybe I made that up
    heeeheee, thanks for bringing that up.. I thought about it the other day. I suppose the answer to that question depends on what you have in mind: if you want to become that great writer and write that magnum opus one day, it's yes.
    As for me, I don't like the idea of practicing at all I mean, I don't mind reworking my stories, but I'm pretty sure I'll never be that great writer and never write that great book. I want my stories to be good now

  10. #10
    X (or) Y=X and Y=-X Jean-Baptiste's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for your critique, Sleepy! Those are all very helpful suggestions. That thing about the telephone, I had some misgivings. I agree that he would not say it either way.
    And, yes, I agree that Russ is only presented from one angle, which does detract from the overall impression of him. I did that for several reasons. One was that I was too lazy to develop the other side of his character, and wished to leave it assumed. Another reason was that I simply didn't think of it (thanks for making the point). And the other reason was that I didn't think it mattered, as he's retired from that line of work, but I see your point that it does matter.
    Your second point is excellent. It had not occurred to me. You're completely right; that's going to take some thinking; I'm not sure how to fix it, but it does need to be fixed.

    Adolescent: I am aware that the description is lacking; it's not one of my strong points. I think I was influenced by a short story I read a while ago by Aldous Huxley (I don't remember the title, something about Tuscany I think) in which the first fifteen pages were entirely descriptions of the landscape. I actually didn't read the whole story; I was drowning in description and had to save myself. So I think my lack of description in these stories is an attempt to avoid this tragedy of Huxley's, but I over-compensated. I did add some descriptive things (you should have seen it at first). It was pointed out to me that Buster should at least be able to pick his parents out of a crowd; how can I argue with that?
    I wonder if you could speculate more fully on this problem of flow that you point out. I'd really appreciate it.
    Thanks for your input.

    As for practice, Sleepy, I guess I'm always waiting around for "the real thing" to happen, and it's continually escaping me. I don't actually intend to be a writer, but I do want to know the ins and outs of stories--to know how they work. I guess that's what I mean by practice.
    These fragments I have shored against my ruins

    James Joyce, the pirate. Why don't you write books people can read? -Nora Barnacle

    Insupportable claim: Reading my stories will make you a better person. Do your best to prove me right. http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=20367

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    Left 4evr Adolescent09's Avatar
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    Please keep in mind that I'm not exactly the best person to pick for making speculations on contemporary literature which tends not to be heavy on description and imagery. Most of the books I read are classic fiction/non-fiction but I will expound on my "not sure of flow" statement with just the first few pages (sorry, I don't have too much time on my hands..):
    "Buster sits in the kitchen...." "He wonders at flickering lights...." "Begins to think of eyes as lights..." "Do lights have memories (which is a very interesting figurative perception)--- "Edna shakes the measuring cup.."

    The first part is smooth and explicit; it doesn't jump into straight imagery which is not only good but effective...You also effectively bring Buster directly to his thoughts without implying that he's dreaming or being whimsical. You are putting Buster in a sort of time retrospect, but the part with the lights just does not seem to click (Hence let me make clear, I am not the best judge).

    "Itís obvious from his grades, after five years in school, that he doesnít have much intelligence. All he has going for him is Baseball, and he canít even keep his head on that."

    ^^I'm not sure if it is just me but I never knew inept people who can't even seem to fathom the fundamentals of baseball were so imaginative? Since when was imagination and ignorance so diametrically linked?
    I'll try to look up more statements which pose as flaws or appear disjointed to me.. but as for now, adios.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    In due consideration of my confessed naivete on this subject, do forgive me if I'm making myself look like an idiot by bringing up erroneous propositions...
    Last edited by Adolescent09; 01-08-2007 at 08:46 PM.

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    X (or) Y=X and Y=-X Jean-Baptiste's Avatar
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    Thanks for giving so much thought to this, Adolescent. I admit, if I'm understanding you correctly, that the first little bit of the story does not flow easily into the rest. It is choppy, the transition, that is. It was a lazy attempt at giving a solid account of Buster's mental habits, so that the reader doesn't fall into the trap of believing what Edna thinks to be true. The thing about his grades and baseball is an assumption made by Edna in an attempt to fit Buster into her ideal of a young boy; perhaps the structure of the writing there makes that vague; I'll try to think of some way to make it sound more like Edna and less like the narrator. I didn't mean for the reader to come to believe that Buster is stupid, but merely to understand how he is viewed by those closest to him. There should be enough first hand evidence for the reader to come to the proper conclusion about Buster's intellect, and therefore pick out the mistakes in Edna's well-meaning but entirely faulty judgement.

    That first bit, again, is entirely disjointed. I'll try to think of ways of incorporating it into the story more. Do you think that something so simple as moving it to a different place in the story would be beneficial? Do you think that it is at all necessary, or could it simply be dispensed with?

    Don't worry about erroneous propositions. I appreciate your thoughts.
    Last edited by Jean-Baptiste; 01-09-2007 at 03:37 AM.
    These fragments I have shored against my ruins

    James Joyce, the pirate. Why don't you write books people can read? -Nora Barnacle

    Insupportable claim: Reading my stories will make you a better person. Do your best to prove me right. http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=20367

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    Left 4evr Adolescent09's Avatar
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    "There should be enough first hand evidence for the reader to come to the proper conclusion about Buster's intellect, and therefore pick out the mistakes in Edna's well-meaning but entirely faulty judgement."

    You're right, there is enough first hand evidence. But the "baseball" statement sounds so much like the narrative that one is compelled to think that you are contradicting yourself, whereas if it is clearer that it is stated by Edna we realize that Buster is actually "special" without blatantly appearing so in public. That would be a very strong ground point which many people could relate to.

    Nonetheless its a nice story.

  14. #14
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    i can't access your stories because whatever program you have them saved in is incompatible with my computer. why not just post them the old fashioned way, in this thread you started for them?
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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    The Druid
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    Might I suggest something I learned after doing readings of some of my plays. Listen, try not to defend your work, and when it comes to praise or criticism...read Kipling:

    "If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same."

    Best,

    Jack

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