Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Category: Short Story
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  • It took forever to read this (I started at work yesterday and keep getting interrupted by pesky customers, and only finished properly a day later, tonight), and I certainly haven’t read it properly (the way it would be if it were in a book and if I were on the couch).  Anyways I’ve just finished your story at home, having skimmed past the first part to make sure I got the gist. So this isn’t a very Good Reading on my part, but I said I’d try to make comments if I was going to hang around this site…(Great site, I think!) These are going to be utterly incomplete, but here goes something, anyway:

    I kept/keep reading your story, which, considering it’s so long and that I was at work to start with, means it’s Good.  I liked a lot of things about it, eg.:

    <That was two years ago and still to this day one eye looked bigger than the other…>)

    Seems like a really visually and emotionally powerful physical/descriptive detail (caught me, anyway).  The whole paragraph and story is more effective because of that thing about the eyes. 

    <She got up, stepped into her plastic slippers>

    They’re not just slippers, they’re PLASTIC slippers. Again, it’s visual, physical, plasticky, and so I got involved in being there.  I was wondering if they were PINK, or BLUE plastic, or what.  I pictured the way plastic slippers stick to your feet.  There are a lot of places in the story where that happens—that is, where there’s sensual, immediate detail, enough so that I prick my ears and keep reading, to see what happens next FOR, TO, the character; and it’s what kept me hanging in there in spite of the fact that I was being constantly interrupted through most of it, by stupid customers at my job. Maximize that!

    I could say more nice things but would be up all night.  Critical remarks:

    << Is your cake fresh?  A hard village voice thinly layered over with social pretension.>>

    I wouldn’t use “pretension” in this situation, in a story, as a word.  Somebody said, in connection with Art in general, that we are to “Show, not Say”.

    To SAY that the person is being “pretentious” doesn’t really SHOW what it was like.  (“Hard village voice” is OK.)  You could describe the person sneering or fixing his/her hat, or fussing with his/her fingernails, and it would be more effective than saying “pretention”.  I don’t think one is allowed to use words larger than one or two syllables, usually. (Joke, but true…)  Best to describe the situation so vividly that the reader has no choice but to agree with your unspoken diagnosis.  (Or so I’ve read.  I’m not saying I’m much good myself!)
    I guess I’m just saying the same thing I said above, about the plastic slippers. It works better if I feel the plastic sticking to my feet than if I’m told that the shoes were uncomfortable.

    The only other thing is, it would be cool if the paragraphs were shorter. Especially when I’m at work, constantly being interrupted by pesky customers!

    Hope you don’t mind my *pretention* at offering
    any advice…!

    Posted by julianyway  on  01/05  at  01:32 AM
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