Anything worth while here? I've been cycling through a few different ideas for starting a novel taking place in SF:
Here lie the South San Francisco letters sprawled out flat on the hill like some pitiful response to Hollywood, an attempt from the city to frame itself as anything other than a background noise that creeps behind the consciousness of The Bay. The South City is a place for large short buildings that sell tiles or make tires, all sorts of beige in their paints all across the antiscenic views from the roads that cut past it, these roads holding up drivers heading towards cities with more promise and interest. San Francisco provides hills and skyscrapers and great trees and towering landmarks and colossal lobes of fog looming miles in the air and the city plays fully in the third dimension, while the city a ways below sprawls stale and flat across the plain it sprouted on and the plain it spread across and the plain it blankets now.
Didn't get anything for this in the last thread, trying again. I'll critique others when there's more to critique.
God was angry. Emma could feel a magnetic repulsion from Church. She drove home in deep consideration. The right thing was to cut out Albert like cancer. Ignore him, shun him. But she could not, or would not. She looked forward too much to seeing him the next week; her consideration of any alternative was shallow at best, a mental show for God: a barrier between herself and the Spirit erected with the mentality of a child. He could see beyond the barrier. Should she repent? Would it matter? She felt ashamed to repent, too ashamed even to pray. She would see Albert next Sunday and nothing would change. The diamond ring felt leaden on her finger and hallucination added to it the weight of the coming golden band. The radio sang
>>7630376 I really like this, a lot. My only suggested changes are little, like I would consider changing "Emma could feel" to "Emma felt." I'd also recommend changing "cut out Albert" to "cut Albert out," it sounds more natural and even dramatic
I've got a section of this in another thread, but I'd love to get all the critique I can get. I hated this until I posted it and it got a fairly positive reaction, but who knows, maybe that was just luck
>>7630529 I love the idea of how you basically think of your surroundings as alive and take it from there. But, i don't think you've got it yet. I felt confused after reading it perhaps because I'm not from Lé USA. Keep writing. Don't commit Sudoku yet.
Bonus and more helpful Critique: Read the first 3 paragraphs of Suttree.
The street lights were on and the streets were awash with a sickly orange glow reflected back at me through the puddles. The pavement was dirty with the kind of muddy grit that you always found after it rained. There were a couple of cars passing me on the road but it was fairly quiet. I didn’t want to attract any attention and I kept a look out on the road for police cars. Ahead of me loomed a grey bridge where the motorway crossed the road. On the left were a couple of houses. To the right stretched the fields which hugged the motorway off into the distance. There was a black horse in the gloom, foraging quietly some way out in the field. He looked at me, snorted, and went back to whatever he was doing. I crossed the road and climbed over the fence into the field. My boots splashed into muddy water and I made my way across it, away from the road. It had rained heavier than I thought and my footsteps squelched in the mud. There was a side-road which led down the edge of the field and beyond it a set of fences which led to an estate. I stepped through the darkness enjoying the silence away from the road and the cool light breeze on my hair. As I grew closer to the black horse I saw he was wearing a winter coat which glistened with dew. It was past midnight and the place was eerie and quiet. I had planned to put up my tent in the field, away from the lights, but the mud was too thick and there seemed like no other decent place to go. I looked around in search of a quiet place. Eventually I decided to cross the field and try the side-road. Not far ahead of me, the road turned into a gate, and beyond the gate I could make out the shape of caravans in the dark. I remembered that this was a gypsy camp. I waited for a couple of minutes, thinking. There was nobody around and the caravan park resounded with silence. I took my backpack off and placed it on the floor next to me. My sleeping bag was packed at the top so it was easy to get to and I unrolled it on the side of the road as close to the grass as I could get it. I was terrified of a car running me over in the middle of the night as I was little more than a black lump. I tested the ground for dryness where I was and decided it would do. There was wet grass leaning over where I was slept and I snapped it out of the way. In the bag, I breathed warm air and tightened the hood around my face. It wasn’t really the place to get changed. I was still wearing dirty boots. There were stars in the sky above me and a light covering of cloud with no moon. The air was light and breezy. I took a few breaths of it in, closed my eyes and went to sleep. I must have managed an hour or so because I dreamed of a faraway exotic place in the desert. There was a big temple of some Maharaja and in it there were tigers and fountains but I had no time to take it in because already I was rushing past it and up soaring above the desert which was all spread out below me and it was all a distant blur by the time I woke.
>>7631691 Cool. Like the atmosphere but it's a bit cliched. Orange light and Fog and black horses. Sounds like you saw a photograph and wrote a description of it. Which is good, in a sense.
Also, the simplicity is refreshing but if you're just beginning then maybe try developing some panache and vocabulary.
Personally, simple words just don't cut it for me anymore. E.g. Light and breezy air is just too familiar but something like say(this is shit i know) a soft rolling breeze sounds better. What do you think?
It was never easy. No, far from it, he found that the facile grace, which had for so long been his sworn ally in adolescence, diminished like a dusted pen interned to a forgotten study, solemn in its acceptance of present circumstance. His face soured as he thought of his vulnerability to time, of the incessant march of progress inherent to "growing old". It seemed some great injustice, and in this selfsame profoundly original observation he took consolation. Time would pass him by, certainly, but he would struggle with the best.
>>7631639 What would be a good way of going about that without removing the thoughts? I can't think of a way to show and not tell without making it comical. It's important for her to think these things and not just demonstrate emotion (especially not sitting alone in a car).
I agree with your point - that it's all exposition - and I'm certainly not trying to argue, but I could use some help on how exactly to change it.
I really didn't mean it. It just kind of happened. We had been yelling at each other for weeks, and you wouldn't listen to anything I was saying that night. Before I had a chance to realize what I’d done, my fist was wrapped tight and firm like a baseball in the air between us, and you were on the ground. Two drops of blood, barely noticeable, sat stained on my knuckles for a moment, before making a home in the wrinkles and cracks of my hand.
I didn't mean it, I tried to tell you. The expression of regret written all over my face was genuine and should have said it all. But now you were crawling away from me, backwards on your hands and feet. It kind of made me want to laugh for a second, you looked so funny. Then the disgust I’d felt for myself quickly returned.
No. Stop. I'm sorry. Come back.
Now tears were falling from those eyes I'd spent nights staring into until exhaustion overwhelmed the two of us. Your soft, snow-white nose, kissed by me a thousand times in attempts – with a dwindling rate of success – to cheer you up, was beginning to let out tiny droplets onto the kitchen tile. I remember you spending hours bleaching every square inch of that floor, scrubbing at the grout like you were trying to dig through to the other side of the world.
And those hands that had wrapped themselves around the back of my neck to pull me toward you, nearly inside you, so we could each kiss these lips of ours – those hands were now smacking the floor in high frequency to move backward and away from me. Your lips had become contorted in a way that I couldn't recognize. You were starting to scare me. Or was I the one scaring you?
I wished right then that I could take it back, that more than anything in the world. I dove to the floor after you. I grabbed at your ankle as you kicked with both feet. I wondered now if I was making it worse, but I didn't want you to go anywhere. Not now. Please don't go.
Now listen, because I’ll tell you what your first instinct is gonna be. It’s gonna be “This has nothing to do with me.” I guarantee it, I fucking promise you. But it isn’t going to be a sentence like that. Nothing articulable. Not for you. More like a feeling. Before you get that blue electric pulse of fear or an adrenaline jolt or a sudden loosening of the bowels or whatever they usually say, that is what’s gonna be creeping through your head. That feeling of “Huh?” A sort of dumb cartoony “Wuh?” You’re gonna want to laugh and politely say, “No thanks, you’ve got me confused with someone else,” like the guy is offering you a wallet he thinks you dropped instead of that bright, oily little Glock with its muzzle pointed straight at your viscera. But I want to you to try to resist it. I want you to resist the urge to dismiss this raggedy man and the weapon he is pointing at you as things which do not belong to your own personal existence. Because believe me they do now. And I also want you to skip over the incongruity of the fact that all this is happening in bright (or “broad,” as they’ll say later on the news) daylight at the HEB supermarket that you shop at almost every other day, a cool breeze blowing from the West, about a half-mile from your apartment, and that there are people walking by with their groceries not so much as tossing a spare glance over at you. Just another guy being hassled by a hobo for cash in the parking lot. Pretty common in this city. Nothing special. Trick is not to meet their eyes. But above all, and really listen to me here, I want you to avoid falling into a state of “hyperawareness of your surroundings.” See, there’re gonna be certain juices flowing in your brain that have never traveled there before. The stuff your body has been holding out on you all these X years. The primo stuff. You’re gonna feel keen as shit, what I’m saying. You’re gonna be able to note the filigree of hairs on a cart-pusher’s ass crack from fifty paces, to hear conversations taking place in cars passing by on the side road. You’ll hear timbres to the squeaking of shopping carts and the blaring of car horns that you never imagined. No kidding. But you need to ignore all that shit. Tune it out, because it will kill you. If you space out and get all sucked up in the naturalistic wonder of the world you are likely soon to be departing, the infinite reducibility of existence and whatnot, you are fucked. You don’t need to be pondering the universe at this moment. You need to focus all that hyper-attention back on the absolute geometric simplicity of the situation you are in. You need to measure the dimensions of the three agents that are gonna decide what happens to your body in the next couple seconds: The Guy, The Gun, and You. Cause listen buddy, this is probably going to be the moment you die, and it is important for you to try and occupy it as fully as you can. So let’s get started.
It started in a streetfight, not by formal definitions, of course - a streetfight presupposes at least two able combatants, and there were three guys there, one combatant, not me. I got pummeled to half-death in that foul-smelling alley by a man so bald you could guess even with his hood on, and surprisingly beardless(what is it with the lack of hair?) bum bore witness, urinating judgementally in/on the vicinity. The hospital I woke up in was noisy but always in the distance, my bed shrouded in mystical silence considering it was New Year's Eve and the place was supposed to be crowded as the alley near the bar where I almost bled out, but the alley was empty then, so it all almost made sence. My head suffered a peculiar trauma reserved for botched operations, and that made bald man's fists surgical in nature, which I appreciated with ire. Trauma was also exciting for surgeons and nurses and cleaning staff alike, as I lost my primary language, and had to explain myself in the only spare one I had.
Crux of the issue was, still is: I enjoyed the language a great deal. I used to write, read, talk, think and observe in it, and the old saying of "you don't value it until you lose it" is honestly a giant flaming pile of garbage, as I didn't sing praises and prayed and remembered it in fondness every waking day, but I breathed it, the language, so this passive-agressive aesop fails miserably at educating me. With kinds of pain, the severest one is with a promise to stay; and no matter how small of an irritation it is, considering having concepts just on the tip of your tongue, barely out of reach, screaming at you to scream them out, with you failing time and time again, this for the rest of your life? The hospital was sterile and grey, numbing this feeling for the holiday days of recovery, it changed as I moved back to the apartment. My room kicked me in the balls like they have wronged her gravely. It has grown cobwebs, not in my absence, necessary, perhaps they were here before, their silk tentacles spreading over bottles and books; panorama looked distantly familiar, the house of the friend you fancy more than the friend herself. Stories filled the room, sweating dust particles, and just then I realized: they are stories in language unfamiliar, ones I could retell but not tell.
>>7631814 The patronizing narrator always feels corny, no matter how good you are at it. I especially dislike the shift between short punctuating sentences and simple lingo and the "infinite reducability of experience" stuff, this is not a cliche because nobody really does that, but it feels cliche-like. The desperation in inducing the reader with visceral view of the scene falls flat in part to try-hardness of "listen"s and the vile abundance of "need"s. This is almost commendable, as I've been in this situation, and should relate, but it still feels like a corny method of exposition.
>>7630067 Here lie the South San Francisco letters -sprawled out flat on the hill like some pitiful response to Hollywood - an attempt from the city to frame itself as anything other than background noise creeping behind the consciousness of The Bay.
The South City is a place for large, short buildings that sell tiles or make tires. All sorts of beige in their paints, across the anti-scenic views from the roads that cut past it, these roads that hold up the drivers heading towards cities with more promise and interest.
San Francisco provides hills and skyscrapers and great trees and towering landmarks and colossal lobes of fog, looming miles in the air. This city plays fully in third dimension, while the city below sprawls stale and flat across the plains it sprouted on and the plains it spreads across and the plains it blankets now.
not really critiquing, just high off some opiates and thought editing your paragraph would be fun. not saying mine's better, just had some fun with it. wasn't really sure what you were going for in the end of the 2nd part so i kinda winged it.
>>7631956 I feel you. I had urinated in the supermarket beforehand, so I ended up dry in the pants, but I got a weird sort of acid reflex thing as I was trying to talk to the guy which I really wasn't prepared for.
>>7631942 No, it's not that interesting of an experience. I live in one of Moscow's worst neighboorhoods and sort of got used to getting stopped and questioned(I look like a colossal faggot). But we don't have firearms, so it was mostly just rally-grade pepper spray and shoddy-looking knives. So it was really weird getting mugged in the literal centre of the city, especially at gun-point. A guy approached me and asked for a cig, I gave him the last one in the pack, and this is a giant faux pas. He inquire about my looks and if I can spare him some money to cure his hangover. I declined and he took out a gun. A certain curiousity envelops you, a sense that this can have no consequences, because what, he is going to shoot me with the cops around the next corner? So I got careless and tried to talk instead of running away. He just punched me in the face and left, didn't even bother to check the pockets.
>>7630376 Show don't tell, blah blah >>7630529 This beautiful, really, but I don't really know if it's much else than belletrisim.
Hand a foot deep into a cow, Jake thought about marketing. Looking over the cow he could see the shadows of a few dozen more growing longer over the green hills as the sun rose. Behind him, stood the tall, white farmhouse of the Whitman family who were cloistered about their set device equipped TV. Invisible streams of viewing data running out of their TV to the device, whose information now sat comfortably in Jake's pocket, ready to be sent back to headquarters for tabulation. After which, it would be sent to various networks so they could set advertising costs, find out which shows were working and which should be axed. Jake wasn't a fan of the work, preferring to describe his job as ensuring the populace got their “steady diet of nothing.” Next to Jake stood Richard Whitman. He smiled through gleaming teeth and explained the fistulation process. “Vet injects a local anesthetic. Cuts a hole to the rumen where most of the cow's digestive bacteria are, feeds a plastic tube down it, and then seals off the wound with a plastic cap till it heals. After that we can get reach in, grab a few of the wet clumps, and test'em for all sorts of things” “What do you test it for?” “Mostly making sure their diet is healthy.” “The whole herd?” “Yep, one for all.” Both hole, and box provided a line of access to two different digestive systems. Both a way to ensure profits, and to predict the future of a subgroup. Beneath his hand he felt a wet mush of grass clumps that rolled and vibrated through the cow's rumen, causing him to pictured a water cooler sloshing around indolently as office drones chatted about the latest episode of some puerile contest underneath the ever-watching fluorescent lights. A little extreme, but it was how he felt. He preferred to occupy his free-time with other pursuits. Like drugs, and maybe a little bit of line dancing when he was drunk enough. Indeed, Jake was what most would call a cow punk. Jake looked back over at the farmer, returning his smile, and asked for directions back to the highway.
>>7631782 The hell is with the immediate regret? I see it everywhere and it just doesn't seem believable. Usually to make it more reasonable the character is drunk and after the question "instantly gets sober" - well, that is a heavy-handed way to write, but at least it makes the bit more relateable. Nobody turns around own's decisions like a broke gambler, it takes time.
This reeks of easy reading, a melodramatic shot of emotions without the human in question experiencing them.
And this is so fucking tired. Really. Don't write like this. Don't. >>7632003 Moving to USA is cheaper than buying a flat someplace nicer, and I don't have money for that. >>7631991 Nah. Like a guy who loses control of his voice and goes high-pitched after ten words, or a dude who compensates for narrow shoulders by flailing arms while walking.
>>7632451 She found door swinging and the car gone. It was that time of year again. The time when he left. The time when she was abandoned to juggle sponge and ledger alike. She walked to the door. The carpet a little moist from the intruding morning air. A thick fog hung at the driveway's foot. Neighbors' lights burned hard holes through the morning murkiness to reveal their knowledge of what happened. She knew they would confront her that night over cooling cookies and herbal tea. Alcohol locked away in high cupboards. Their faces straining at expressions of sympathy— more than a few passing glances at the child's room, tinkling mobile chirping under the lugubrious proceedings.
This time he noticed the way the highway strips clicked. Driving out through silent and sickly spruce; orange sky slung low in white haired waves. Pop hits out of blown speakers. The urge to leave surging with every metronomic strip. His family back home: were they worried, did they understand, they knew he'd be back, right? They should. He had done this before, and before that too. It was routine, these runs out into the sun. They began with a scent like coming rain. Then darkening skies, and drip drop words that eased around white painted walls. Before long it rushed into a torrent that swept him up into a funnel of misplaced thoughts, and atavistic wants. Not to fuck, but to run. To feel the air. To see images of branches clip like children's flipbooks. For the mishmash of suburban weather signals to be replaced by the clicking of rubber over road. But he knew even as the clearing sky turned to orange ocean, and clicking strips doubled, eventually the sounds would cease, and the storms would overtake his new found sea, and all that would be left was the rough and tumble harbor of home.
>>7632528 Your low quality recording definitely masked quite a bit, especially with that lightly southern accent, but not overall it wasn't terrible. Here are a few changes I would make in the first paragraph, just to see how I'm reading this.
She found door swinging and the car gone. It was that time of year again, the time when he left, when he abandoned her to juggle sponge and ledger. She walked to the door. The carpet was a little moist from the intruding morning air. Outside, a thick fog hung at the driveway's foot. The neighbors' lights burned holes through it. She knew they would confront her that night, over cookies and herbal tea, the alcohol locked away in high cupboards. She imagined their faces straining to sympathize— more than a few passing glances at the child's room, the mobile chirping.
If you go through the rest of it more critically you can have something very readable there.
I think you guys got this backwards. You work on your prose when you're working on your final draft, not when you're just starting your first draft. Why are you gonna spend so much time on passages you may not even use?
I kind of like the tone. A depricating narrator with a childish character. Would love your guys thoughts.
"Please don't go", what contrived words. How many times do you hear this kind of trite in your life? Pretty much once a month. You're bound to hear it before the end of the year. Everyone says that kind of stuff. You feel bad, someone's important to you, and God forbid they're moving on with their lives. Improving, gambling really, on that road to success that life offers so easily, and even more so just loves to yank on and smeer in the the ground. And when they fail, you feel satusfied. They had hubris, you had nothing, and now you both have that; equal footing on the pedestal, except you were the smart one. You didn't take that risk. And here, just another of one hundred utterings of this phrase reverberating through the molecules of air, impacting on the doughy form of Buster. Poor bastard. Buster can't help but be moved to tears by these words. He's never heard them said to him. Buster's not the most social of humans, so when this banal air vibration hits him, it's the first time his tiny little head has ever had to comprehend the feeling of someone actually wanting him to stay. He doesn't take it well. Buster almost cries right on the spot. Tears forming, gut sending a chortle to his throat, heart beating faster than any of the times he had to try and run, and let's not even get in to the amount of nervous sweat dripping down and being soaked up in to his work outfit. This is what love makes you. A sniveling child, pining for those days we were back with mother, cuddling her, finding the warmth and nutrition from her: she was everything. That's how love makes you feel. Except most of us already felt, finished, and forgot that feeling long before we're 22. Already past the point where we can't function just because we feel something so pure for someone. Buster wasn't lucky. Having spent most of his time alone, annexing any sort of emotional attachment, even the smallest amount of closeness has sparked that worldly passion. He had friends on a barren level, never connecting at a interpersonal level. Never feeling care for another, just accepting the company because being alone is too hard of a concept to rationalize. Miserable life those kind of relationships. No wonder he was so eager and willing to leave all them behind. Doesn't even try to talk to them, even when it's so easy online.
>>7631691 Your protagonist knows what the black horse is doing,i.e. , foraging in the field.Why then would the very next sentence imply that the protagonist hasn't got a clue what said horse was doing? Much like the rest , it's rather clumsily written
I arrived at the parking lot at exactly 9 AM, exhausted and a little bitter; the coffee had done nothing for me. As usual, my parking work was awful: crooked and offensive - Upon my return, I expected to see rows in the metallic soil of my door ploughed with keys. The air was lukewarm and thin, as is it always is in the middle of August, and the sky had little lone clouds separated from each other at great distances. Since I was late and didn’t want to become dishevelled, I took the longest strides one could take without breaking into a jog. The elevator was under construction but the stairs were fully functional. I was happy to avoid the possibility of an elevator ride with someone else; The moment where both riders have to tell the other what floor they will be going to, where both riders have to suffocate in that thick, unspoken agreement, where an arm will shoot out in front of you and press the button, almost punching you in the penis, is completely unbearable. I snuck into the meeting room at 9:05 AM; not bad, but the coffee still had done nothing for the morning drag. The representative had already begun speaking, but by the sound of his voice, lack of charisma, and glib face, I knew I had missed nothing. I took the only open chair out of the seven circular tables with four people seated at each. When I sat down, The other men at the table had not noticed me at all; their eyes were fixated upon the rep with incredible rigidity. Were they dead? In some fatal corporate paralysis? I tried to join them in their fixation but quickly came to return to my original judgement: another pointless representative who had no information a short DVD or trite email couldn’t convey, perhaps with even more efficiency and charisma. I began to examine the other men at the table. They were certainly from the data processing department; they all had those little, desiccated hands that are so apt for keyboard fiddling. The one directly across from me was a portly fellow with a crew cut and the nose that was strikingly similar to that cute girl at the Starbucks off 2nd Northway, a nose certainly not suited for a man but innocently seductive on a woman. The other two were of no noticeable characteristic, completely generic faces that conveyed no interest in anything; I imagined that they lived in some sort of complex where the rooms are small, upright boxes that only allow for you to stand upright in a fixed position. They would stare at the blank wall that was inches from their face, subsist off of a viscous and tasteless mixture of nutrients that was fed in through a tube, and once they became tired enough, fall asleep only to be woken up seven hours later by their programmed instinct.
I couldna bounce it with Jellicoe, he said, and I smiled at that one too; Jellicoe, you're a foul man said his own mother on a holiday; all he heard, the refrain, cane, no cocaine.
I wasn't so sure about his hill-billy stunts, Jellicoe said smiling like a dork, with big, white flashing arrogance. He was wangling, dangling, I wanted to tell him it was over but his BIG BABY face cried mercy. Jellicoe, Hellicoe, I understand buddy the passion you invested in those blue green trainers.
Primark was scamming him off - and Jellicoe, by disposition fairly stout-hearted and rugby - sat drawling and being all silly like a big baby. He wasn't even selling clothes anymore. He was just stoned.
"I-I-I think the police should do something like, you know" but Jellicoe was shuffling in ecstasy, eyes big on MD, caning more and more, faces go around and he goes GOO GAH GAH; with the blood of Primark's children washing over him and glumness making him a dizzy little sight, with his beautiful fleece his Mummy knitted him out of pure bullshit. Scared, he quipped mischievously, I got MANDY HERE, HAHAHAHAAA.
As a result of his delinquency even the FBI are fire-testing cannabis revolvers; he carries one round in his back pocket at all time. They're good to light up with you know like, he reportedly said after meeting a shady character round the bends with handfuls of gleaming pills and baby-rattles for the comedown. I wondered if Jellicoe ever loved. Love? NAAAAAAH he said as he whiteyed into the abyss.
I don't believe in Jesus like, he stated at the end of the interview. What he meant by that comment no one can quite decide but they still believe, watching him with a rollie all dopey and going around and around, they believed the man had rolled the spliff and won.
This is it, the journey's done Hope is lost, my crew is gone A great odyssey, for mankind's progress Alas, it was all for naught
I am all alone Darkness compresses me I tilt my head to the side, Looking across the expanse The stars! I hear them, they beckon to me Come home, and rejoin us Luminescence sings
Looking round, this metal hull Why should I stay, I say My body is but cosmic dust, anyway This shell serves as my prison no longer
Brace myself, kick off the wall I'm ready to forever fall Heading fast, through endless black Towards the universe's gaping maw Forward unto dawn, I say Never mind that it's a billion miles away Embrace me, cold void I am at your mercy now Slowly spinning, ever drifting A ballet among the stars
Breathing fails, consciousness slips One wonders if he'll find God I can barely make out, the display Blinking "oxygen critical" in red
The smell of flowers, so familiar Yet so far She is there, calling out to me Nothing to fear any more I reach out, one last time As I begin my dance With infinity.
I was jacked-up on 150mg of levothyroxine sodium and a double shot of espresso. Clutching my copy of Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72, I strode into the Confucius Institute’s events room. A sea of round, yellow faces bandied gibberish phrases in the clipped tones of Mandarin. I made my way to a table lined with triangular sandwiches and polystyrene cups and squirted out a tea from the hot water dispenser. Some suited chap raised his voice above the din and gave a speech about the union between British and Chinese students and said we could commence. I scanned the room again. There were some real lookers in here. A few with slit eyes and acne, granted.
Two girls had blindsided me. They waved their hands in that cute, understated way that typifies the modern Oriental. One of them had this wonderful doll-like face with a little mole resting above her lips. The other had an asymmetrical face and a pair of unwieldy glasses that threatened to engorge it. Facing the more attractive of the pair I noticed a quiver in my crotch area wrestle against my super skinny jeans. This wasn’t good. I tried to cover my tracks by saying a few simple introductory phrases in Mandarin. They looked dazed. I ran over the words again, emphasizing the tones. The bitches weren’t even pretending to cotton on.
“Maybe we speak English?”
Twenty-five quid for a textbook, sixty for the lessons and some twenty hours spent in a classroom with a bunch of feckless Scousers for jackshit. I lifted the polystyrene cup to my mouth and took a scalding sip. This was a real 404.
“What you study?”
I told them straight-off that I was a writer at work on my magnum opus, and that my Literature BA was only a part-time distraction.
“Oh, what you write?”
I tried to explain the concept of gonzo journalism to these two daughters of the Middle Kingdom. I slowed myself down and fitted my mouth around every syllable but they just stood there gaping. Being in Liverpool they evidently hadn’t heard a superior RP accent before. The doll-like one turned to the other and said something in her native tongue and the other said something back.
>>7634243 Not bad, but for first-person writing there's a lot more you can do to establish a distinctive voice for your character. Your character is obviously quite sardonic and resentful towards his job, which I feel like you can mine for some black humour if that's the angle you're going for.
>didn't want to become dishevelled You've already described him as exhausted and bitter; perhaps saying 'completely dishevelled' might be better.
>elevator Good opportunity to world-build with the company culture here. Has he previously suffered being trapped with X from Sales' babble about margins? Or how about A and B from HR; definitely fucking and definitely doing the worst job being discreet about it for a 12 floor ride.
You can connect your first two paragraphs better with a little joke like this: >I snuck into the meeting room at 9:05AM and with my first foolish steps was trapped in the representative's droning barrage of buzzwords. Three torturous seconds passed before I scurried to an empty seat and with the first mention of 'profit margins' yearned for the elevator, where a punch to the penis became much more preferable.
I get that your character is apathetic and sees everyone here as a zombie, but to give your writing more life throw in more details about the colleagues in the meeting and the rep and have your narrative treat their traits, behaviour speech and the wider company culture with contempt to really establish a voice and flesh the world out.
Look into Joseph Heller - Something Happened for a great stream-of-consciousness account of corporate America, filled with bile.
>>7635526 this guy here. I have a fair bit of a story planned out, but there comes a time when you just need to fucking write something. This is the opening prose/exchange that I have; what I'm really looking for is advice about dialogue/surrounding description. I don't want to slow the pace of conversation down with loads of additions, but I don't want it to seem like this conversation is taking place in a vacuum. Any other thoughts would also be appreciated.
--- He usually stalled for five seconds before answering the phone; one to glide his thumb above the ‘Reject’ button, one to broaden his coiled slouch, three to get his story straight. But as the polyphonic din pierced through the pellets of rain crashing against the windscreen, there would be no flirtation with solitude, nor with the truth, for he knew exactly the man he needed to be.
‘Did you get there alright?’ A woman’s steady voice came with questions of her own.
‘What’s a little rain nowadays, huh? How’d you know I got here?’
‘Figured you wouldn’t answer if you were still on the road.’
‘And have you scorch down my ears for talking myself late? You figured right.’
‘Well either way, you’re there. Good.’ The man lolled his head back against the coarse foam seat and took a sharp breath, bleaching his airways with a searing synthetic vanilla exclusive to the cheapest car fresheners.
‘How much time do you have?’ Her voice tightened.
The man raised his right wrist to look at his watch less urgently than his left hand frisked his jacket for cigarettes. ‘It’s at 11, so I’ve got around 25 minutes. Plenty of time to look around, shake a few hands, make small talk small enough for a few sure smiles and talk enough so I don’t end up in a coma. That kinda thing.’
‘Just keep your eyes open, alright? Don’t shake the wrong hand.’
‘I’ll see ya tonight then. Knock ‘em dead.’ The latter phrase punctuated with a contempt too forceful to escape a jury scavenging for intent.
>>7630062 A nail silenced squealing with a champagne cork thump through hide covered bone. Randall's arm darkened with each cycle, capillaries opening in seemingly sympathetic pain. His eyes were glazed over. Headphone dangling from one hear jostling with every trigger pull. Pigs gliding on up and over him after the slaughtering. Ascending through a fiery corridor singeing hair off and prepping the pig for butchering. In front of him the vast apparatus of the abattoir. Fenced corridors full of pigs. In the sides lurked the worker— lights like wings behind them. Randall wondered if the pigs were dead before or after the suffering, but only for a moment, then the in ear speakers told him about the latest trends in hunting gear.
I like it, you might have something, but I feel like your imagery isn't strong enough to justify how you've played with language here. If you're going to play with language, there has to be an arc to it. Without more, I can't figure out if this is a worthwhile piece.
>three to get his story straight. This is powerful.
>‘What’s a little rain nowadays, huh? How’d you know I got here?’
Dialogue might be a bit too much.
>‘I’ll see ya tonight then. Knock ‘em dead.’ The latter phrase punctuated with a contempt too forceful to escape a jury scavenging for intent.
I didn't like this until I read it twice, Then I really liked it.
>‘Bye Ma’ he signed off, heard only by the rain.
You've got a hard-edged attitude to the dialogue, followed by this flowery description with "signed off" and "heard only by the rain". I'd argue that "he signed off, heard only by the rain." could be dropped here and it'd be even better.
>Alas, it was all for naught >I can barely make out, the display / Blinking "oxygen critical" in red
>>7635194 I like this, but I'd say that maybe your language isn't as lyrical as you think it is. It reads like an educated person doing a Joyce impression in the context of an Irvine Welsh novel. Welsh works because he actually knows what it's like to only know people whose chemical makeup is 99% heroin and shortbread. The druggie escapades of the middle classes only work if you're really hammering home an original point, or if the language builds to something original. I like it, and this criticism is tough love -- you obviously know how to use language for effect and have a good sense for people, but I really hope that your work builds to something I haven't seen before.
One thing that's interesting is that I can't figure out if you're British or American. This is probably my favourite thing about your piece here. Is it a statement on Americanised British culture? You say "holiday" rather than "vacation", talk about "rugby", but you mention the FBI, use the term "hill-billy", use the word "cannabis". I'm leaning towards British, but with American tastes. It's interesting, for sure.
>>7635585 Good, but does it deserve to be so hard to read? >>7635566 Lovely dialogue, but the prose feels detached from it. Proactive Germans ran the first miles in about 3:30 hours or minutes I don't really know at this point. All I really know is that today is the day that it all went away. Excuse my pun. Wait don't excuse it, puns are a valuable source of humor. Anyways after watching the Germans finish I sat beneath th the ratty old green awning that matched the products of its store, Gerald’s Bake Shop. Terrible place really, got sick for months. Stuck in the bathroom for weeks as well. First came the green cookies, then the pizza that still tasted like pizza, then the chunky globs of what was left of my breakfast. The gravy was decidedly less appetizing the second time around. It also wasn't gray. I don't why I had assumed most gravy to be gray, probably has to do with the fact that it just once removed from the color of jacket, my watch, my hair, and the pubic excretions (really need to get that checked out). My family finished fairly soon after the Germans, around 3:45. My youngest brother ran across first; his exuberant locks of hair flowing behind him, then came my lovely mother, and my decrepit father. All of three of them looked proud to be alive, only my mother passed a brief smile my way after they crossed the line. The locals, including Gregory himself, cheered. The whole cobblestone street passed into cheers, and began to descend on my family in the way insects swarm over rotten meat. Their green jackets made them all clones of each other in their joy.
>>7636761 You're right, that's a non-argument, but your post/stupid rage comic is predicated on the idea that everyone who writes is trying to come up with some masterpiece, which is frankly not true. Exercising your creativity is essential to a healthy mental life, and it's more gratifying to improve and make something you can be proud of. In my eyes, self-improvement and practice is the function of these threads and haters can fuck off.
Writing isn't just a gift, it's a craft. Sure, some might take to it more naturally, like just like some will have a knack for fishing or carpentry or whatever. But the bottom line is that you can only improve at doing a thing by doing the thing. You have to write shit until you realize what isn't shit, then you work on honing from there.
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