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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Big Girls Don't Cry - 13 lines

   
Author Topic: Big Girls Don't Cry - 13 lines
Three Minute Egg
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genre - crime fiction
mild language

Being a woman in this business has its down side, but it's not all bad. To these guys, women oughtta be seen and not heard - playthings for when business is done. [These guys are] smug and overconfident in their dominant fantasies. Maybe that's why I'm so good at this. Their ignorance is my bliss.

I answered the phone after two rings, careful not to smudge the polish drying on my manicure. A familiar voice rumbled in my ear.

"This is Rocco. I got a job for Jimmy."

Rocco Carbone is a big-time player in the mob scene here in Louisville. He wasn't the boss, but he sits pretty close to the throne, and he sends a lot of business my way.

I grabbed a pencil to scribble down the details. As careful as I was, I still managed to smudge one of my nails.

[Edits are in parentheses]

[This message has been edited by Three Minute Egg (edited May 17, 2005).]


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Beth
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its, not it's. please don't blow your credibility in the first line.
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Three Minute Egg
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Beth - a slip of the keyboard, not intentional. Honest!
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Beth
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I believe you!
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jeduthun
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OK now it's the second sentence where you lose me. After "be seen and not heard," I'm expecting another verb after the comma. So, "be seen and not heard, playthings" jars me. Would a m-dash solve the problem? "Women oughtta be seen and not heard--playthings..."


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Dude
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Too many pronouns in the first paragraph makes the writing unclear. For instance "They're smug and overconfident" could be referring to either "these guys" or "women". You have to read the rest of the sentence to be sure. This could be rewritten for clarity.

[This message has been edited by Dude (edited May 17, 2005).]


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Beth
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Ah, and after you've taken care of that, you can look at the "They" in the 3rd sentence - because you've just been talking about women, at first I thought the "they" was women, and was confused by the dominant fantasies of the playthings.

or, the short version, unclear reference.

sorry, I'm not getting very far on this one.


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wbriggs
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My reaction to the first (edited) paragraph: this is well done. I don't like it, because I think the rebellion-against-sexism thing has been done to death, but it's well told.

The rest of it left me a little uncertain. I started to think it was parody. Having the tough-gal feminist sneer at the old boys and then worry about her manicure wouldn't make sense to me for a serious story . . . but the sneering in paragraph 1 was too bitter, I thought, for parody. Then we got to Rocco. I think, this has GOT to be a parody of the hard-boiled PI story. Rocco would be a perfect name for that.

So the bottom line is, if it was parody, you might tone down the bitterness in paragraph 1, and I'll be ready to laugh. If it's a story about sexism, lose the nail polish thing -- or else jam it up my nose by having her think about how incongruous it is, and give her an attitude about it -- so what, you got a problem with nail polish, you insecure man?

Either way, I think you're on your way to a gripping story.

Killer title, too.

[This message has been edited by wbriggs (edited May 17, 2005).]


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Survivor
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Yarrg! I does it meself all the time, matey.

But you forgot to post length and needs.

If you look at your third line, there's a bit of a problem, "They're smug and overconfident in their dominant fantasies." This would mean that they tend to fantasize about being smug and overconfident. You might want to replace "dominant" with "dominance".

The next line didn't work for me either. "Maybe that's why I'm so good at this." Whether or not she has easy targets has nothing to do with whether or not she's any good. It doesn't help that you portray her as being too clumsy to take a message without smudging her nails. There are a couple of levels on which that doesn't work well, so there are several different fixes.

In terms of overall concept, the Femme Fatales type is already way overrepresented. You need something special to stand out from the crowd. Mirielle is rather a stock character compared to Kirika, right? Robin is a devout young nun who doesn't really know if she believes in God.

Oh, and done badly, it can be really barfalicious. I'm thinking of something I saw a while back...don't remember the name, but...ye-haw.


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Three Minute Egg
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Man! I used to think this was a good idea! :>P

The protag is the girlfriend of a hitman.
She was involved in his work by answering the phone and collecting payments.

In the past, the hitman died unexpectedly of natural causes while on a job, and without a means to pay back the half up-front money, she was forced to complete the contract. No one knew it was her, and she's been doing it ever since (while everyone thinks it's still the hitman).

It's not a parody, and it's quite a departure for me to write from a female POV. There are a couple places where she is concerned with dress/make-up/etc. because it all contributes to her success as the unlikely killer.

Oh, yeah, and it's about 1700 words right now.


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Survivor
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By the way, I like Mirielle. Kirika kinda weirds me out. Then again, I liked Dojima's character a lot even before she began to reveal her true nature. Hey, I'm a bit strange at times
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